How to Properly Start Your Accessibility Project
I always talk to my clients after completing an accessibility project. And I often find that one of the challenges they face is the lack of a clear set of ideas at the beginning. Some have even considered closing the project due to this issue. Very often they know that they would like to make their project accessible, but there is very little information on how to get started.
But I believe that taking on an accessibility project is one of the best decisions you can make, and that you can deal with this issue by knowing a number of important points.
Below, I will discuss the factors you need to consider so that your project can have a good start. This article is for you if you are on the initial stages of making your web site, product, or service accessible. This is also for you if you are generally interested in accessibility and how it is achieved.
Main Focus of Accessibility Project
At this point, you already know what you plan to make accessible. But it’s still good to review the focus of your project and identify its scope and limitations.
Have a clear idea of the size of your project to get an accurate estimate of what it is going to take to make it accessible. It always helps if you know the number of screens or pages your project contains. The size of documents or videos if you have any. If it is a hardware product, have a list of functionalities available. It also helps to have a thorough users guide, or a set of use cases. While it maybe obvious, when I start working on most of the project it is lacking.
Identify the most important parts of your product. While ideally the entire thing needs to be accessible, it maybe that you don't have the necessary resources, in this case start with those features which are used most often.
Persons with disabilities are one of the main groups that will benefit from the results of your accessibility project. This is also the group that can best determine the actual accessibility of your web site or product.
It is therefore important to become aware of how persons with disabilities use technologies, particularly computers and the Internet. This will give you a clear idea of their needs and the issues they usually face. Once you’ve learned about this topic, you’d understand and appreciate the steps you would take in the accessibility project.
Accessibility Consulting Service
Any project needs the input of an expert. That’s why in this early stage, it is important to acquire the services of an accessibility consultant. This individual can guide you and your team throughout the accessibility project.
An accessibility consultant can test and evaluate all components and features, and identify accessibility issues so that they can be improved before the project goes live. The consultant can also help you maintain the accessibility of your site or product when new components are added. You can also ask the consultant to provide your team with an accessibility training. An accessibility training is one of the best ways to make your group understand the main goal of the project.
Initial Meeting with Your Group
Finally, you can schedule the first meeting with your development team. Here you can discuss the accessibility project and what your goals are. Make sure that everyone in your group understands the accessibility project and its purpose.
If possible, include your accessibility consultant in the meeting. During this time, you can discuss with your group if an accessibility training is necessary. You can also decide with your group on the schedule of the next meetings.