With careful designing, training, and knowing how to prioritize web accessibility planning, teams can indeed be successful if they are faced with a project that needs urgent accessibility fixes.
Prioritize the issues
Teams will want to prioritize the issues and barriers they find in their projects by how significantly the issue impacts the user experience.
Prioritizing issues in this manner will also aid in addressing the legal risks of the project. The more critical and serious accessibility issues that go unaddressed in a project, the bigger the legal risk are in a project.
In most of the cases, negative public relations don’t usually start with just an inaccessible website, but rather, with a poor customer service experience, after a person with disabilities had problems with the website. Making sure there is an easy-to-access and responsive feedback method as well as well-trained customer service resources who can properly provide support to person with special needs is an important element in preventing potential negative public relations or lawsuits over web accessibility.
Once directors and programs managers agree on the accessibility standards and best practices, and team members have received the necessary accessibility training, timelines should be put into place to carry out the implementation process.
For instance, if the team is redesigning for web accessibility, the team can make a proper plan and make a deadline, followed by addressing the other serious to minor accessibility issues until all issues are fixed before a deadline date.
The plan structure will also point out who is responsible for accessibility among the team. Directors and program managers should enforce accessibility standards, while designers, engineers, and developers should be responsible for ensuring content created during the project complies with accessibility standards.
Although those who are developing content within the project should review their content for accessibility, the team may need the assistance of an accessibility expert to ensure their content meet with accessibility standards. The accessibility subject matter expert may identify issues the team missed and bring it to the team’s attention to correct the issues. Deadlines should also be established for fixing issues that are caught upon review of the content.
After the issues with the project have been identified, the actual work of integrating accessibility into the project begins.
The time it takes to deploy fixes will depend on the project size and how well teams are prepared to implement accessibility and fix accessibility issues. Some designs may be relatively easy to fix, and some may involve a complete redesign or reengineering of the project, which will naturally add more time and effort to the project.
Once the team has implemented the accessibility fixes in the project, it is important that directors and program managers discuss with their team members their experiences. Debriefing after the project gives directors and program managers an opportunity to listen to those involved in the project, understand what went well and what didn’t, and discuss recommendations for improving the integration process.