Articles, Blog

Web Accessibility Matters: Planning for Accessible Publishing

December 5, 2019

By now I’m confident you see the benefits of accessible publishing. How we can include everyone. How we can drive down costs. How we can reach larger markets. How we can get better search engine optimization. And, how we can avoid being on the wrong side of regulations as well. But the key is where do we start. When we look at our typical process of how we create any online product you know it starts with process orientation, which is what I’m doing right now. We make sure everyone’s got a common vocabulary before we go in. And then, the next step is strategy. We all agree on clear measurable objectives. Making sure we’ve all agreed in advance how will we all know when we’ve succeeded. Then we move to technical discovery where we identify what constraints, what container that our product will live within. We moved to outlining content we decide what content we’re going to share. In broad strokes and then we do information architecture deciding regarding that content how will we arrange in a way that’s meaningful to our entire audience. Then we move on to estimating because most of the work comes in the next steps: graphic design where we use the power of of information design to create intrigue and to bridge the gap between knowledge and understanding. And then production the biggest part of our budget: the programming, the maintenance, the ongoing heating and cleaning of the product, if you will. And then finally to evaluation where we take a look and decide did will fulfill those measurable objectives we’ve established in our strategy. And we loop back in if it’s an ongoing product like an online website this process loops through. Well when it comes to accessibility, the challenge is that I find time and time again I find myself working with organizations how see accessibility as step 8b. Something you do as a very last step of production. “Oh yeah, now that we’re programming that site, by the way, make it accessible. The problem is that waiting till then is the most expensive, least effective and most painful way you could go about making a product accessible. Instead what we need to do is make accessibility how we roll. We need to build accessibility in every step of the way. So when we’re doing orientation like we’re doing right now, we make sure that everyone involved in our team, from writers, to editors, to translators to to producers, programmers, legal team… everyone understands accessibility issues. And then when we’re setting our strategy when were establishing our measurable objectives were thinking about how much accessibility; how we’re going to build it in; how we’re going to make sure we’ve achieved that. When we’re looking at our technical discovery were thinking about the technologies we’ll be using to host and serve and maintain our products and make sure we’re using ones that are going to make it easy to keep the site accessible. To keep it compliant with international standards like WCAG 2.0 guidelines. When we’re doing our content outlining we’re thinking about… and then information architecture were also thinking about how do we arrange this in a way that’s meaningful because in our strategy we’ll have defined our audiences and so if we have specific audiences that have specific challengers we’re going to have thought that through in terms of how we arrange our content to make sure that there’s an accessible way to all our content for everyone who we need to bring information to. And then when we’re estimating were making sure that our schedules and our budgets have taken into account the time we need to do proper accessibility testing to make sure we’re doing usability testing for use cases that involve certain assistive technologies. We make sure our graphic designers understand matters like accessible colour contrasts and then of course when we’re in production there’s a lot of issues that have to do with the with the nuts and bolts programming so we create an approach — a renewable approach where we can continuously improve the site and make sure we don’t just have accessibility on day one of launching a new product but that were able to easily maintain accessibility going forward. Then we’re going to find that when we evaluate it against strategy, we’re going to have a product that doesn’t just exceed the minimum legal demands for accessibility, we’re going to have a product that costs less to maintain, that reaches a wider audience and it has inoculated itself against future innovation. That’s the true payoff of accessibility. That’s why I want to bring this home to you. That if we prepare ourselves well we can embrace this opportunity to not just do good business, but to do good. So thank you. [music extro]

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  • Reply Andrew Smith October 12, 2018 at 9:35 am

    Hi David, the description says this is the 3rd segment of the Web Accessibility Matters playlist. But so does the earlier video called "Difficulties and Technologies: Avoiding Tradeoffs"… Am I right in thinking that this one is actually the 5th segment?

  • Reply David Berman October 12, 2018 at 4:18 pm

    Andrew, thanks for catching this! It is indeed the 5th, not the 3rd… We'll fix it today. And to thank you for catching this, I'd like to invite you as my guest to our Nov 29 online course ( ) . Contact me directly and we'll get you a coupon code for that!

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