Skip to main content
Articles

Get smarter about accessibility in 2023: Create an accessibility plan

By: Perkins Access

Share

A team gathers over a table of accessibility plan documents.

If you’re reflecting on the past year and wondering how you can improve your organization’s accessibility efforts, rest assured – we’ve got you covered. We know accessibility can seem overwhelming, so we’ve broken down the key considerations for your accessibility plan, so you can prioritize your goals and prepare the necessary resources.

Recommit to accessibility

For many organizations, accessibility is an essential activity woven into their diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiative. If you’ve made a commitment to accessibility in the past, it’s a great time to review your goals and recommit – and if you haven’t made a formal commitment yet, what are you waiting for?

In 2022, access made headlines as the world’s top tech organizations made improvements aimed at increasing accessibility for people with disabilities. But it isn’t just the tech giants who have an increased interest in accessibility. According to LinkedIn’s VP of Engineering, Erran Berger, there has been a 33% year-over-year increase in people sharing about accessibility on LinkedIn, which corresponds with a significant uptick (171% increase since September 2019) in the total annual number of U.S. job postings with the word “accessibility” in the title. Berger says, “This indicates that companies are actively not only talking about this, but taking action to hire accessibility specialists that can help them create products and services that work for everyone.”

And it’s not just industry pressure. In addition to keeping up with competitors and meeting customer demand for accessible products and services (which is a $10 billion dollar opportunity according to Forrester), legal pressures also grew. The Department of Justice (DOJ) released new guidance on web accessibility, affirming that – in order to comply with the ADA – state and local governments, as well as businesses open to the public, authors and content providers must ensure that digital materials, services and goods are accessible to people with disabilities.

Get strategic about accessibility

While legal pressure is a strong motivator, compliance is not the leading goal for many top organizations. We’re seeing more and more organizations expand how they’re thinking about accessibility, bringing it beyond the pages of their website and into their business processes.

How do you bring accessibility into your processes? One example is ensuring your user research process is inclusive of people with disabilities. Including people with disabilities in the user research process is the foundation of inclusive design – and the best way to build accessibility in from ideation to development. Perkins Access can evaluate your research process and provide guidance on how to include people with disabilities at every step.

By taking a strategic approach to accessibility and building it into the way you do business, you’ll be able to create impact not only for your customers, but also for your employees. Is your hiring practice inclusive? Is your workplace accessible? Are your employee tools and resources accessible? These are just some of the ways accessibility impacts your employees.

The idea of building an accessibility program that spans your organization may seem overwhelming. How do you set priorities, operationalize the program and plan for long-term success? Let us help! We can guide your initiative with high-level strategic consulting and an approach that’s rooted in our in-depth knowledge. We’ll look at every aspect of your organization to help you determine how to integrate accessibility best practices and sustain them over the long term.

Start making accessibility improvements

Whether you’re just getting started or you’re currently working to improve your accessibility, it’s always good to get a fresh perspective on where you stand, so you can have an accurate sense of the barriers that your users are facing. (Just getting started? Check out our accessibility 101 guide to get up to speed.)

An expert review of your digital experience will reveal how users with disabilities interact with your site or product, while identifying the most critical accessibility obstacles, giving you a clear snapshot of where you are today – alongside the best next steps for moving forward.

If you’re just starting to research accessibility, you will eventually encounter temptingly simple information about overlays. But beware: while overlays sound like a solution, they’re not the quick fix they claim to be. Overlays don’t adequately improve access or remove barriers for people with disabilities. Employing an overlay on your site may actually exclude users with disabilities from having access, which is counterintuitive and can send the wrong message to your customers.

Get accessibility support

We know what it takes to make accessibility work in the real world: a holistic outlook and a realistic plan. Let us help you take a strategic approach to digital accessibility, one that keeps your employee and user needs front and center, while striving to meet them in ways that mesh with your organization’s unique culture and goals.

Partner with Perkins Access to address the immediate needs unique to your organization, while building your internal expertise and ingraining accessibility throughout your digital culture. We’ll create the roadmap for your organization and lead the implementation in a way that makes a meaningful impact and lays a foundation for future success. Contact us for a free consultation.

Perkins Access
Perkins Access
As part of the world-renowned Perkins School for the Blind, we are committed to making the world more accessible for people of all abilities. And when you partner with Perkins Access, you become a part of that effort.