5 Steps to a Successful Accessibility Compliance Program
With digital accessibility fast climbing the corporate agenda, manly organizations are keen get their compliance programs underway, but struggle to know where to start.
A lack of background knowledge of what constitutes an accessible website and uncertainty regarding how to scope and solve challenges across a broad range of disabilities hinders their efforts. For larger organizations, the challenge is often to centralize their approach in a way that can be operationalized and scaled effectively.
At Crownpeak we have extensive experience in supporting global enterprises to build and scale their digital governance processes and to deliver accessible digital experiences. In this post, we share five best practices that simplify the path to website accessibility for global organizations:
1. Think human
Crafting an accessible digital experience isn’t about ticking boxes on a compliance checklist. There are real people who depend on the inclusivity of your organization’s digital experiences, and it could impact their ability to do business with you. Helping your team understand the “why” behind website accessibility is going to strengthen your efforts and help you succeed.
For example, try using a free screen reader or other assistive technologies on a website. What is that experience like for you? Can you complete basic tasks like filling out a form or completing a purchase?
These moments of revelation can be powerful in adding perspective to your goals.
2. Align with your DE&I initiatives
Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion (DE&I) initiatives should encompass people with disabilities. Yet, while 90% of companies claim to prioritize diversity, the hard fact is that fewer than 5% consider disability as part of their programs.
Making accessibility a part of your DE&I conversations can help you keep these needs in focus rather than treating them as an afterthought.
3. Establish the baseline
Understanding the current accessibility status of your digital properties right now, is an important first step in preparing the groundwork for your compliance program.
Automated tools can help you create a baseline. For enterprises with a large digital footprint they are essential, and provide the most efficient means to quantify the size of the issues you’re trying to solve. For example, if you have 5,000 digital assets, automated web accessibility testing tools will help you comb your inventory faster, and more comprehensively and efficiently than you could every accomplish manually.
A great place to start is our free website assessment: Get yours here →
Once you’ve established the baseline, you’re in a position to evaluate the scope of the challenge ahead of you, establish KPIs, and set goals.
4. Co-ordinate your efforts
In a large enterprise, there are likely several pockets of people trying to address website accessibility. It’s important to harmonize each group’s efforts and input. Consider the following:
- What is going/not going well across your digital properties?
- Are there existing governance processes and programs with which to connect?
- What is the level of in-house / agency expertise in digital accessibility? What are the training or educational requirements?
- Is there a need for an ADA compliance tool or other tools to support your ongoing programs?
5. Build the business case
Once you understand the gaps in accessibility and set reasonable goals, you can start to construct a plan that makes sense for your organization.
Identify the most important stakeholders and bring ideas to them. Support those ideas with the "why" behind your efforts. Understanding the impact and level of effort for the business are key to moving the program forward.
Gaining executive buy-in is critical for a successful accessibility program. Build a business case around reduced legal risk, increased market opportunity, and improvements in SEO and user experience. These things are essential if you are to gain buy-in and secure time and budget for the project.
Ready to get started?
To help you jumpstart your accessibility compliance program, our “Enterprise Playbook for Web Accessibility” has everything you need to build a roadmap for success.
Get your complimentary copy for a practical and detailed guide to the processes, tools and remediation best practices for building a successful Digital / ADA / WCAG 2.1 compliance program, illustrated by best-in-class examples from leading brands.