Accessibility Audits And Remediation

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I worked on about two dozen accessibility projects at UserWorks for government and private sector clients. These projects include website accessibility evaluations and document remediations.

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Screenshot of a logged accessibility issue

Acronyms

PWD - People With Disabilities 

WCAG 2.1 - Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1

 

Impact 

  • Made 20+ websites, and 500+ pages of documents accessible to PWD. 

  • Mentored peers and encouraged a holistic understanding of accessibility. 

  • Trained product teams in best practices for a more sustained approach to accessibility. 

Overview of Approach

Project Planning 

In this phase, the focus is on becoming familiar with the contents of the web pages and documents and answering the following questions:

  • What is the scope of the project?

  • What is the project timeline? 

  • Who is in the team and how are we distributing efforts?

  • What do we need to get started? This could include login credentials, IP whitelisting, use cases, and dummy data for the use cases

  • Do we need a subject matter expert to help us with the use cases? 

Accessibility Evaluation 

Step 1: Test the website using automated accessibility testing tools like Lighthouse/WAVE to flag problem areas.

Step 2: Evaluate the website manually using keyboard-only navigation tests, color contrast checks, and assistive technologies like:

  • Screen readers (JAWS and VoiceOver) 

  • Speech recognition software (Dragon Naturally Speaking)

  • Screen magnification software (ZoomText)

Step 3: Test the web pages/documents with PWD and gather feedback.

Step 4: For every issue identified, describe the experiences of PWD, cite the appropriate WCAG 2.1 standards, and include screenshots.

Step 5: Provide multiple recommendations for each issue logged, so that developers can compare options and choose from multiple solutions.

Step 6: Assign a severity rating to each issue so that developers can prioritize the remediation work. 

  • ​​High Severity: Likely to prevent PWD from completing a critical task.

  • Medium Severity: Likely to prevent PWD from completing a non-critical task OR likely to cause confusion or frustration and have a significantly negative impact on, but not prevent, PWD from completing a critical task.

  • Low Severity: Potential to cause minor confusion or frustration and negatively affect (e.g., slow down), but not prevent, PWD from completing a task.

Report 

Details of the project and a summary of all the positive findings and issues are combined in a PDF document as one of the deliverables.

 

Findings Presentation and Collaboration

  • Give stakeholders about a week or as much time as they need to go through the spreadsheet and the report before we present our findings. 

  • Ensure that the developers feel ready to start the remediation.

    • Present our findings

    • Answer questions

    • Discuss severity ratings and prioritize remediation of issues identified

    • Discuss alternative solutions and their impact on PWD

Training Product Teams

  • List all the positive findings and encourage stakeholders to continue these practices

  • List issues and their impact on PWD 

  • Share best practices in web accessibility with demonstrations

  • Emphasize “no-excuses” practices that can be easily implemented 

  • Suggest methods to integrate more complex practices into the product development lifecycle  

  • Answer questions and invite stakeholders to continue these conversations