Integrating Accessibility Into The Business Process

Introduction To Inclusive Governance

The World Wide Web Foundation empowers people to bring about positive change. In 1989, Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web. Then, he gave it to the world for free. Now, it is up to all of us to protect and enhance it. See the world's first web page at The World Wide Web project.

A challenge for all users is finding the information they want on web pages that contain lot of information that they don't want. In general, the Web tends to present information in a way that overwhelms most users. Cognitive considerations for visualization, text simplification, and the interface design, are important for making Web content more approachable, readable, and digestible. A business best practice strategy built upon an inclusive model will have a competitive edge in the expanding global digital economy. Web Accessibility is the deficit gap between the Disability of the user and the System capabilities. The goal is to bridge the Accessibility Gap, through Universal Design, that will create the best possible interoperability of System components to achieve the desired User experience. Read the Introduction to Web Accessibility: WebAIM

Web site accessibility is an ongoing effort that must be integrated into the product life cycle stream. Innovation and Collaboration is the intersection of progress driven by Creativity and Engagement. A product life cycle Inclusive Governance Model will improve employee productivity and expand market growth. The effectiveness of this governance model depends upon several components of web development and interaction processes. There is an implied essential partnership between the system components (operating platform, applications, assistive technology, and user knowledge), and project responsibility roles (Project management, Development, Architecture, Design, Content management, and testing), That must interact effectively for a good User experience. Success means different things to different people and different organizations, but We all have something to add, to help improve accessibility. The key is to identify a common principle of accessibility, and then allow Advocates to push for functional accessibility, developers to question the implementation, project managers to talk about level of effort, lawyers to put concerns about liability on the table, and the executives to challenge the business case. While WCAG standards have been widely accepted, and adopted by many organizations, it is necessary to document your own interpretations of WCAG to improve consistency between developers and testers. Organizations that leverage accessibility guidelines as a driver of innovation, minimize risk and are more competitive in the global market. To get started check out The W3C Web Accessibility Laws & Policies Guide.

WCAG interoperability illustration

Project Design Phase

Accessibility assessment begins at the design level of a product life cycle. The page landscape must be perceivable, the content understandable, the objects operable, and the overall usability must be robust. The Project Methodology process begins with requirements research. For a new Web application the Requirements start with Analysis, otherwise you first need to perform an evaluation of the current web site before the requirements Analysis. The next phase is design, followed by implementation and a new round of evaluation. If the specifications are fulfilled, the project moves to maintenance with periodic evaluation. If the specifications are unfulfilled, repeat the phases starting at analysis.
Professional Web Accessibility Auditing Made Easy: The Chang School
Digital Accessibility as a Business Practice: The Chang School

Who Is Involved In The Design Phase

  • Divergent Thinkers: User experience designers (interaction designs and flows), Visual designers (page layouts and information architect)
  • Critical Thinkers: Content writers and editors, Product specialists, Front end developers, and Accessibility Specialists
  • Creative thinkers: Quality assurance specialists, Functional and Usability testers
  • Stakeholders: Executive leaders, Project managers, and Client representatives (Decision makers)
  • End-users: User Focus Groups (Who are the users and what is their mode of access)

Design Phase Work Products

  • Creative design plans. Content presentation and display property:
    CSS Display Property,
    HTML Interoperability,
    ARIA Developers Guide,
    HTML Accessibility Application Programming Interface Mappings (HTML-AAM).
  • Branding.
  • Using wireframes, define the site's information architecture and the user tasks, identified in the Analysis phase. Perform goal-based user task analysis and content analysis to assess the full set of design requirements and constraints. The outcome of this phase is a repository of documentation of page types and components.
  • Use case personas.
  • Description of user interface and interaction with user agents. Read the WebAIM article: Web Accessibility for Designers: WebAim
  • Adopt proven standards (WCAG with ARIA extensions).
  • Plan ongoing education (training for developers and testers, and awareness sessions for the project sponsor and other stakeholders to maintain support).

Development Phase

In this phase, construct a standards-compliant website using materials from the Analysis and Design phases. The first task is to assign a team member the role of Accessibility Liaison. This person will be responsible for coordinating accessibility status meetings throughout the development process, define accessibility techniques and remediation plans, prepare accessibility testing scenarios, and monitor accessibility remediation efforts. This will require an understanding of the WCAG standards criteria, available automated testing tools, and usability testing requirements. Integrate your accessibility testing tools with development and standard testing tools and processes. Create repeatable and scalable solutions. A history of screen reader technology and what developers need to know: Youtube

Who Is Involved In The Development Phase

Development Phase Work Products

Functional Testing Phase

Dynamic page rendering and operable functionality must be thoroughly tested before usability testing begins. Where native HTML5 cannot meet accessibility requirements, then ARIA coding can be implemented. Java scripts and widgets (JQuery, Dojo) must be robust. This is also refered to as User Acceptance testing, or Beta Testing, to ensure the code is behaving as expected and the website design is defect free.

Who Is Involved In The Functional Testing Phase

  • Development team.
  • Accessibility Specialist.
  • Experienced disabled users.

Functional Testing Work Products

  1. Functional and accessible application code plan.
  2. Defined test procedures.
  3. Define Accessibility Severity Error Reporting.
  4. Define remediation techniques model.
  5. product documentation.
  6. Automated tool scan report:
    • Images missing alt attributes.
    • Form fields missing explicit labels and/or titles.
    • No title on a web page.
    • No primary web page language.
    • Invalid Markup Parsing; elements have start and end tags, are nested according to their specifications, do not contain duplicate attributes, and IDs are unique.

Usability Testing Phase

Coordinate groups of test participants who have different needs, skills sets, browser configuration options, and assistive technologies. The outcome of this phase is a remediation report describing problems revealed in testing, and their solutions. The Usability Testing deals with user behaviour, and determines if an application is or will be easy to use for the end user. The accessibility testing team will perform final Accessibility Verification Testing (AVT) to ensure that those who are blind or have low vision, those who are deaf or hard of hearing, those who have cognitive disabilities, or those who have motor disabilities, can successfully access your web application. The manual test must be done with keyboard only, screen readers, and any other user agents.

Who Is Involved In The Usability Testing Phase

Usability Testing Work Products

  1. Create User Baseline Testing Plan

    • Can users complete tasks and achieve their goals on the web application (effectiveness)?
    • How much effort and time do users require to complete the task (efficiency)?
    • Do users find the website easy to use and learn (satisfaction)?
  2. Create User Issue Testing Plan

    • Site-wide Templates usage.
    • Site wide common pages; Feedback Forms, Accessibility Policy.
    • Highest Traffic Representative Pages that include; images, Forms, Data Tables, Multimedia, Dynamic Pages, Modal Windows, Colour, Timers, and Different Languages.
  3. Create User Conformance Testing Plan

    • Define Scope
    • Explore Website
    • Select Sample
    • Audit Sample
    • Report Findings
    • View Report

Product Documentation and Training Phase

Who Is Involved In The Documentation Phase

  • Technical writer/editor
  • Support and Training personnel
  • Accessibility Specialist

Documentation Phase Work Products

Evaluation Review Phase

The evaluation review should be based on the project scope framework and the accepted conformance standard guidance. The initial review should focus on the general user experience. Users with disabilities and older users can be included in a wide range of evaluation activities (informal user interviews to formal test procedures). While access to people with disabilities is the primary focus of accessibility, it also benefits people without disabilities.

Who Is Involved In The Evaluation Phase

  • All stakeholders
  • Accessibility Specialist

Evaluation Phase Work Products

  • Review work plan strategies and lessons learned.
  • Review project audit reports.
  • Review user test procedures and methods.
  • Review remediation process and development tools.
  • Review documentation, training, and deployment procedures.

Deployment And Support Phase

Support costs can be significant, there may be customer satisfaction or legal risks associated with inappropriate application support. Under the AODA, there are obligations and penalties for customer support.

Who Is Involved In The Deployment Phase

  • Technical support team
  • Customer support team
  • Accessibility Specialist
  • User experience specialist

Deployment Phase Work Products