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Cover image for What makes it so hard to implement accessibility?
Josefine Schfr for Studio M - Song

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What makes it so hard to implement accessibility?

In our organization, we have small working groups for topics people are interested in - both inside their work projects and beyond. One of these groups focuses on (web) accessibility - and while everybody who joins strongly agrees that accessibility is an important topic we need to emphasize in our work, we kept coming back to this: why is this so hard to do this in our day to day projects?

We brainstormed a little to be able to tackle these challenges hands on. These are our (summarized) results:

  • Accessibility still doesn't have the priority it needs to be considered on client’s projects and it remains difficult to get stakeholders to buy-in
  • A general overhaul of the development process would be needed to establish accessibility from the start
  • There seems to be a huge knowledge gap in terms of how disabled people experience digital product and therefor how to empower them and best prioritise accessibility fixes
  • Difficulty in identifying the most suitable resources to get started with accessibility in the overwhelming amount of materials available
  • Testing process is still not fully defined as we lack professional accessibility testers, training and devices - and, again, the knowledge on which tools are most commonly used and how.

Now that we identified our core challenges, it’s all about getting our hands dirty and tackling them one by one. While of course there is still a lot to do, this is one step closer to making the products we deliver more accessible. Do you face similar issues in your work? How do you go about them?

Top comments (1)

grahamthedev profile image

If you all really want your team to learn about accessibility I find the real "eye opener" for people is to hold 2 mini events over a couple of afternoons.

Event 1: Hide all the mice

This is an oldie but a great one, just remove all the mice from the office for a couple of hours and ask people to use your products. They will soon value focus indicators!

Event 2: Switch off your monitors

This one needs about 30 minutes to an hour of training the basics of screen reader navigation and then you place a piece of paper over everyone's screens. Let them try and use your products with a basic understanding of a screen reader and give them tasks to complete.

I say a piece of paper rather than switching off the monitors as people will get lost and need to check where they are on the screen!

At that point people get a little more excited about accessibility and it starts embedding itself in the culture, all the other stuff starts to follow.