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Complementing Accessibility Standards with Evidence of Commitment and Progress—ID24 2015


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Improving web accessibility can be challenging, particularly for organizations with large, complex digital estates and internal organizational structures. Efforts can be guided by technical standards, but there are shortcomings with treating accessibility for people with disabilities as a compliance effort. What if we take a process-oriented approach to accessibility, focusing on making a commitment and demonstrating progress? In this session we explore an approach to improving digital accessibility that places value on conscious, pragmatic decision-making and sharing of evidence of progress.

Presented as part of Inclusive Design 24 (#ID24), May 21, 2015:

Published in: Design
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Complementing Accessibility Standards with Evidence of Commitment and Progress—ID24 2015

  1. 1. Complementing Accessibility Standards with Evidence of Commitment and Progress Sarah Horton, UX Strategy Lead ID24 2015
  2. 2. Screenshot of compliance audit with red “Fail” notations
  3. 3. Meme: Munch “The Screen” saying, You’re telling me I have 433 alt texts to fix?
  4. 4. What if we define accessibility as making a commitment and demonstrating progress?
  5. 5. What would accessibility look like?
  6. 6. Accessibility maturity Moving your organization along the continuum toward a mature approach to accessibility
  7. 7. Accessibility Maturity Continuum • Identify • Prioritize • Inject • Integrate
  8. 8. Phase 1: Identify • Identify
  9. 9. Identify and repair accessibility issues based on standards compliance
  10. 10. Context • Customer for software company puts accessibility requirement in contract • Vendor is asked for evidence of state of accessibility of product
  11. 11. Activities • Identify methodology • Identify samples to test • Test samples against standards • Write up issues • Test and recommend code fixes
  12. 12. Deliverables • Audit results spreadsheet • Common issues report • Accessibility documentation (e.g., VPAT) • Help desk support • Remediation support
  13. 13. Example of accessibility audit spreadsheet
  14. 14. Details • Issue name • Who is affected by issue • Issue description • Examples of issue • Recommendations for repairing issue • Resources • Relevant guidelines
  15. 15. Example of success criteria failuresError message not announced by screen readers Form labels not programmatically associated with inputs
  16. 16. Insights • Frequency and distribution of issues • Estimate of impact and effort of issues • Potential design and code changes to repair issues
  17. 17. Example of accessibility issues overview
  18. 18. Potential outcomes • Clients have accessibility documentation • Clients work to fix issues • Clients engage for retest and revised accessibility documentation
  19. 19. Phase 2: Prioritize • Identify • Prioritize
  20. 20. Prioritize evaluation and repair activities based on real-world impact
  21. 21. Context • Transit system provider with legal obligation to provide accessibility • Group of people with disabilities demanding accessibility improvements
  22. 22. Activities • Conduct contextual inquiry interviews • Create sampling strategy based on insights from interviews
  23. 23. Details • 9 people over 2 days • Sessions lasting ½ to 1 hour • Low vision: Large monitor, ZoomText, large type, high-contrast mode • Blind: JAWS, VoiceOver • Deaf: Captions • Limited mobility and dexterity: Dragon
  24. 24. Deliverables • Same as “identify” activity, plus… • Task-based sampling strategy • First-person perspectives in report
  25. 25. Several people commented that there is a lot going on with the site, which can make it difficult to use for everyone, but especially for people with vision impairments. One participant does not use the site because it’s too busy, and “things jump around.” Another can’t use her preferred mode of large text because the site is not designed to be flexible, and adapt to large fonts—when she enlarges the font, things get “jumbled.” Another prefers to look at the print preview of the itinerary page because it is less cluttered than the main page.
  26. 26. Insights • Real issues encountered by people with disabilities • Accessibility issues not surfaced in standards review
  27. 27. Example accessible user experience issue • The right column is a bad location for critical information
  28. 28. Potential outcomes • Clients focus on issues that impact stakeholders • Clients fix issues related to accessible user experience
  29. 29. Phase 3: Inject • Identify • Prioritize • Inject
  30. 30. Inject accessibility best practices into the design and development process
  31. 31. Context • Vendor has customers that demand accessible products • Vendor knows that remediation is costly and ineffective • Vendor knows current processes do not support accessibility
  32. 32. Activities • Determine appropriate interaction points and methods • Review and respond to design artifacts
  33. 33. Deliverables • User stories to help guide design decisions • Design reviews (wireframes, style guides) • Training in accessible design best practices • Code library reviews (technical and design) • QA test design and implementation
  34. 34. Details • Annotating wireframe PDFs • Collating information into accessibility guides • Webinar training for developers in best practices and creating coding standards
  35. 35. Example annotated wireframe
  36. 36. Example writeup of issues with placeholder text
  37. 37. Insights • Optimal time to address accessibility in design/development lifecycle • Roles and responsibilities with respect to attention to accessibility • Appropriate and effective ways of communicating accessibility knowledge
  38. 38. Potential outcomes • Clients address accessibility issues during the design/development process • Clients build internal capacity for accessibility
  39. 39. Phase 4: Integrate • Identify • Prioritize • Inject • Integrate
  40. 40. Integrate accessibility best practices into culture and practice
  41. 41. Context • Advocacy group makes a complaint to University about digital accessibility • University cannot fix all IT services • University understands it must fix culture and process to respond
  42. 42. Activities • Perform gap analysis to understand current state • Build understanding of desired future state • Assess gaps between current state and future state
  43. 43. Deliverables • Roadmap report • Commitment to ongoing partnership
  44. 44. Details • Definition of future state • Assets and opportunities • Challenges and barriers • Roadmap toward Accessibility in Practice • Supporting information: Applicable policies
  45. 45. Insights • Perceptions of accessibility and responsibility within an organization • Governance requirements to advance an integration agenda • Requirements for activities for change
  46. 46. Outcomes • University makes visible commitment to providing accessible IT services • University embarks on initiative to address shortcoming in existing services • University establishes policy and processes to support accessibility in new services
  47. 47. Reference An Accessible Design Maturity Continuum By David Sloan, UX Research Lead, The Paciello Group
  48. 48. Accessibility process standards Engaging your organization in activities that demonstrate commitment and show progress
  49. 49. Make a commitment to IT accessibility
  50. 50. Responsibility and accountability • Designate a senior official for “plain writing” • Explain the Act’s requirements to staff • Establish a procedure to oversee the implementation of the Act within the agency • Train agency staff in plain writing • Designate staff as points of contact for the agency plain writing web page • Post its compliance plan for meeting the requirements of the Act on its plain language web page Plain Writing Act of 2010—
  51. 51. Activities Establish leadership • Chief Accessibility Officer (CAO) • Director of User Experience/CAO • Accessibility Program Lead • Accessibility Specialist
  52. 52. Commitment through skilled and knowledgeable product teams
  53. 53. Establish an accessibility baseline and track progress
  54. 54. Documentation (a) Each manufacturer and service provider…must create and maintain…records of the efforts taken…as applicable, including: (1) information about the manufacturer’s or service provider’s efforts to consult with individuals with disabilities; (2) descriptions of the accessibility features of its products and services; and (3) information about the compatibility of its products and services with peripheral devices or specialized customer premise equipment commonly used by individuals with disabilities to achieve access CVAA—
  55. 55. Activities • Set a standard, e.g., – Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 • Define scope of applicability, e.g., – Teaching and learning – Research – External communications and business processes – Internal communications and business processes
  56. 56. Commitment through specification of policies and standards
  57. 57. When acquiring information and communication technology (ICT), we will acquire products and services that comply with the standards defined in the University Accessibility Policy. When there are several products or services under consideration, the one that best meets the standards will be chosen. If the procurer determines that compliance with a provision of the standards is unfeasible, then such exception will be fully documented and approved by University Procurement Services.
  58. 58. Commitment through documentation of accessibility
  59. 59. Foster a community of practice
  60. 60. Accessibility in practice C201.5 Design, Development, and Fabrication. Telecommunications equipment manufacturers shall evaluate the accessibility, usability, and interoperability of ICT during its product design, development, and fabrication. Advisory C201.5 Design, Development, and Fabrication. Conducting market research, and holding product design testing and trials that include individuals with disabilities, are examples of ways to meet this requirement. Section 508—
  61. 61. Activities • Integrate usability and accessibility support into existing IT facilities • Tie accessibility into existing professional development and training activities • Include expectations around accessibility awareness and skills in position descriptions
  62. 62. Commitment through engaging with people
  63. 63. People working together, committed to making progress, and targeting success
  64. 64. Thank you! @gradualclearing