Congratulations on the launch of your awesome new site! Hearty handshakes and back slaps all around! You launched on time (and under budget) and have met all of your client’s business requirements, one of which was to have the site meet certain accessibility guidelines. You are feeling pretty proud of yourself right now, web gunslinger, but hold on there…are you really done?
Far too often this is where concern for accessibility ends. This is particularly true of bigger sites or applications. The problem is that during the lifetime of a website, frequent updates will be made. Features will come and go. The same can also be said of designers and developers, some of whom may not be all that familiar with the importance of accessibility. This is when the experience can quickly degrade into a nightmare for disabled users. When this begins to happen, it can then become very difficult and costly to address the issues that arise from it at a later date, so it is best to work in a strategy for success sooner. Here are three suggestions you can leverage on your own projects:
- Always go into each project with the right attitude! Be ever mindful of the fact that the web is for all, and that equal access to content and features is not only the right thing to provide for all, but that it will also reflect well upon your client and their brand. That’s a good thing! As stewards of your client’s brand, you want to create a positive experience for all.
- Work closely with your Quality Assurance team. Explain the importance of accessibility to them and work out an internal plan for frequent scans and reviews, especially if you are adding new features to a site, application or product, on a regular basis.
- If you have one, work accessibility scans and code reviews into your maintenance agreement. Two to three times a year should be adequate enough for many sites, but frequency will naturally depend on scope and complexity of the site or application.
Accessibility is a constant. With the right plan and attitude we can create a positive experience for all!