I can see the pained expression on the business manager's face now. They have just had their new website built and realised through a customer enquiry that they didn't include compliance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level AA as a business requirement. There is one thing to do: begin testing the website and building accessibility back into it. But what's the best approach to ensure the issue doesn't arise again?
Complete a Digital Accessibility Maturity Assessment
If you're not aware, a Digital Accessibility Maturity Assessment (DAMA) is a high-level analysis assessing the degree to which electronic products, services and the organisation’s environment support accessible practices and business processes. We assess levels of maturity against clear benchmarks and this provides management and the executive with clear insights into:
- Areas of the organisation which clearly identify and practice good digital accessibility in daily work activities and repeatable processes
- Those areas where there are gaps and require help
- Risks to the organisation if nothing were to progress
- Priority actions the organisation can undertake to improve awareness, process and practices around digital accessibility.
Why does procurement feature in a DAMA?
A key aspect of the DAMA is how an organisation purchases and procures new systems and content services. Why? Put simply, if accessibility is assessed and addressed during the procurement process then it greatly increases the ability for staff or external clients to be able to access and use your product or service. Furthermore, it reduces any risk of complaint by users as well as a scenario where expensive accessibility retro-fitting occurs later.
To incorporate web accessibility during procurement, consider the following tips.
- Build web accessibility compliance standards (WCAG 2.0 Level AA) into business and functional requirements templates.
- Add a web accessibility checklist into procurement/purchasing processes.
- Ensure web accessibility features alongside the weighting criteria for functionality, value for money and security assessments.
- Have vendors demonstrate web accessibility features.
- Identify resources (either internal or external) that can help with testing a vendor’s product or service for web accessibility.