Digital accessibility for digital teams: a role by role guide

No matter your role, you can help your organization prioritize and implement digital accessibility.

Work space with laptops being used for team collaboration.
October 23, 2019

Digital accessibility makes good economic sense. People with disabilities, and their friends and families, spend $1.2 trillion a year. Clearly, they’re more likely to spend their money on digital platforms they can navigate successfully. Plus, businesses with inaccessible digital experiences are at risk of being drawn into costly lawsuits.

Creating accessible digital products isn’t any one person’s responsibility. In fact, digital accessibility requires the effort of every person on your digital team, from marketing to product, to design, development, and content. 

To help your digital team get started, we created this short list of examples of how each member of any digital team can play a role in ensuring digital accessibility.

Developers

  • Use semantic HTML, which is universally understood by assistive technologies.
  • Implement "Skip to Main Content" link to allow users to bypass repetitive content such as the main navigation.
  • Ensure that all interactive elements on the page (e.g., links, buttons, form fields) receive visible focus and can operated solely by using the keyboard. 

Graphic designers

  • Establish an accessible color palette and design guide to ensure people with low vision and color-blindness can use interact with your content.
  • Use larger size fonts (14 point or greater), avoid the use of all-caps and don’t underline copy for emphasis to enhance readability.
  • Don’t rely solely on color to communicate information, like what might be contained in charts, graphs or error messages.

UX designers

  • Define page structure and regions.
  • Communicate expected sequence to developers and ensure focus order matches visual presentation.
  • Minimize animations and content that plays automatically.

Content writers

  • Use plain, concise language. Break up long text with accessible graphics or convert long blocks of text to lists.
  • Avoid abbreviation, unusual words, and complex sentences that are difficult to read.
  • Provide closed captions and audio description for media.

Not in any of these roles? Here’s what you can do today, no matter your role:

  • One of the most common barriers to accessibility occurs when functions cannot be controlled with a keyboard. Ditch your mouse and try navigating your site using just the tab and enter keys. Not being able to do so effectively could indicate that your site isn’t accessible.

  • Know the latest WCAG standards and your legal obligations.

  • Encourage your employer to incorporate users with disabilities into user testing.

  • Hire individuals with disabilities.

  • Incorporate accessibility language into your procurement policy.

These are just some of the ways people in your organization can embrace digital accessibility. A caution, though: accessibility is an ongoing process. Advocating for digital accessibility in your workplace is an important first step. 

You can help make the world better, online and off, all while improving the moral, legal and financial health of your organization. Want to learn how? Perkins Access provides expert consultations to organizations through their own journeys toward digital and website accessibility. Contact Perkins Access today to get started. 

Read more about: Accessibility, Perkins Access