The 4 Key Players on a Corporate Web Accessibility Team
What does it take to make web accessibility a reality at your company?
For starters, you need a strong team.
In his presentation The Road to Sustainable Corporate Accessibility, corporate accessibility expert John Foliot shared his advice for what makes a good web accessibility team.
He stresses:One thing that’s real important to understand is that web accessibility is not so much a project as it is a program. It doesn’t have an end date. The goal here is that you’re creating a program that ultimately is going to be part of the corporate DNA of your organization.
To do that, you need a lot of support in place to ensure that it’s fully integrated into your organization.
The most successful teams have these four key players.
One of the most crucial components of a corporate accessibility team is executive management buy-in.
“Be specific in what you ask for, and generous in what you accept.”
This executive-level member will promote the mission of the accessibility team throughout the organization, ensure that the requirements are clearly articulated, and lead by example.
It’s really important to foster team spirit around inclusion, to frame accessibility as a positive undertaking, as opposed to a reluctant requirement. That kind of attitude really permeates throughout the organization.
If the management at the top of the organization is excited and positive about taking on this challenge, then that trickles on down through the entire organization.
Aside from being an important figurehead, this person should oversee the integration of accessibility into corporate policies.
John Foliot gives this advice to people in this role:Be specific in what you ask for, and generous in what you accept….
This is going to be new for a lot of people. It’s a little bit scary. So be sure that all effort is appreciated and recognized.
Web Accessibility Coordinator
The Web Accessibility Coordinator is responsible for the communication and promotion of the team’s activity throughout the organization.
Their primary responsibilities are to:
- Communicate accessibility policies within your organization
- Promote accessibility awareness in all spheres of activities and the core groups within the organization
- Identify and promote accessibility training needs for the key stakeholders in the organization
- Ensure that that training is successfully implemented
This position is not very time-intensive. It’s more important that it be filled by someone on the senior management team who’s involved in budget discussions and corporate strategy discussions. That way they can take charge of steering the team and ensuring that web accessibility remains top-of-mind in senior management decisions.
Web Accessibility Champion
Your organization’s Web Accessibility Champion should also be director level or above. They should have signing authority to make things happen.
This person works with the Coordinator to oversee execution of the team’s activities. While the Coordinator is more administrative, the Web Accessibility Champion is the boots-on-the-ground role.
They should have a solid understanding of the types of disabilities your organization may need to accommodate, the benefits of web accessibility, and also the legal ramifications of compliance failures.
Web Accessibility Specialist
The last critical role on your team is the Web Accessibility Specialist. A Web Accessibility Specialist has a specialized skill and a strong understanding of how accessibility impacts their area of expertise. For that reason, you may need several Web Accessibility Specialists for different projects or departments.
For example, you’ll have your business analyst or project implementer that introduces new initiatives on your website. They should have a broad awareness of web accessibility requirements.
Then you’ve got graphic designers and UX/UI coders who need to know inclusive web design principles.
You also have Quality Assurance, which needs to make sure that your product is tested for accessibility as part of QA.
In all of those departments, there should be some kind of specialist embedded within that team. They can then provide the support to the other stakeholders on their team and basically be the go-to person for accessibility questions.
For more tips and advice on formulating an accessibility plan for your company and making your website compliant with accessibility law, watch John Foliot’s presentation below:More: a11y, accessibility compliance, accessibility law, accessibility lawsuit, accessibility team, accessibility testing, accessible design, best practices, buy-in, champion, communication, compliance, corporate accessibility, digital inclusion, equal access, inclusive design, John Foliot, leadership, place of public accommodation, reasonable accommodation, teamwork, universal design, web accessibility, web accessibility policy