Planning for Accessibility:
Making the most of your budget
I’m sure that it is no surprise to you that we are approaching the end of our financial year. Typically, at this time of year, we notice two things:
The first thing we find is that accessibility planning is often forgotten in planning for the next financial year. Accessibility testing should become part of the life-cycle of your digital products. There should be a continual cycle of development-testing-deployment-re-development etc. Web pages are continually being modified or deleted and new web pages created. If you’ve been working on the accessibility of your website, you don’t want new or changed pages to negatively affect the accessibility rating of your website.
User journeys are very important to consider. If even one step of a user journey is inaccessible, it means that the whole journey or process is inaccessible to your user. The Coles court case
provides some valuable learning. In the case of Coles, after a long and difficult process the user could eventually put all her grocery selections into the shopping cart, but then couldn’t complete the payment or delivery instruction steps. Not only did it make the journey inaccessible, she had wasted all the time it took, putting the items into the cart. Eventually the case was settled
with assistance from Australian Human Rights Commission and the Public Interest Advocacy Centre Ltd. and to make sure this doesn’t happen again, Coles created an Accessibility Action Plan.
There are quite a few lessons to be learned from the Coles case, and probably the best one is not to let this happen to you. So how do you check that you aren’t creating obstacles for your users? Obviously, we believe your website and other digital products should be externally audited for accessibility, occasional self-assessment isn’t sufficient. However, we are also great believers in equipping our clients to do as much testing and remediation in-house as possible, saving you time and money. One of the best strategies is to think of your user journeys, and then create several user profiles. Then determine whether each of those personas would be able to complete your critical processes.
Here are a few things to think about:
- How often are you checking the accessibility of these user journeys, or any other aspect of your content? Daily? Weekly? Monthly? Never?
- Who should do this checking?Remember if everyone is expected to do it, mostly likely no one will, unless you have managed to embed accessibility testing into business as usual.
- Are your staff sufficiently trained in spotting accessibility issues?
- Do you have a list that staff consult to make sure they have checked everything they are able to check?
- What process should you use to create a persona, document a user journey and then walk through that journey?
Secondly, while we’re thinking about accessibility, we often that towards the end of the year organisations are faced with the decision on what to do with unallocated funding from the current financial year. This might be the perfect time to look at getting more training for your staff, have some testing done of the current website, or ask us to provide some consulting services to make sure that your next development or re-development is accomplished accessibly. Remember that if accessibility and usability are incorporated into every stage of a project you won’t lose valuable time going back to fix issues that were missed in the design.
If you’d like to discuss anything contained in this newsletter, please feel free to contact us