No matter what organization you are running, whether you’re a solo entrepreneur, you’re a multinational corporation, accessibility gets really expensive really fast. And so you want to get out of this mindset or approach where you are continually sourcing accessibility to an external third party provider. You need to bring accessibility in house.
So what you want to do is you want to build your employees and or your contractor skill sets to the point where they can perform much of the accessibility that you need to ensure that your digital assets are accessible.
So sharing the split screen with me is a Word document and one of the headings is assets. So what would assets be? Websites, mobile apps, software, documents and documents could be PDFs, spreadsheets, presentations, et cetera. You need to ensure that all of these various digital assets are accessible so it’s not cost feasible to source accessibility on each of those, especially when you consider that these are not static assets.
So your website changes or your software could update, there could be a new version of your software. So for every update, you don’t want to have to go and audit. That not that that isn’t a great practice, but you don’t want to have to source out accessibility to someone every time you’re making a change, every time you create a new document that gets really expensive.
The other day I quoted someone on a PDF remediation, it was over $4,000 to remediate their PDF. Why? Because their PDF was very long and it had numerous accessibility issues throughout the document and they were more complex issues that required a lot of intensive work and there could be so much cost savings if the PDF was just made accessible originally.
So you want to make sure that you’re not continually producing assets that have accessibility issues or are outright inaccessible. And so services that you may procure are user testing, consulting, audits, and remediation. And while those are all great services and I offer some of them, you don’t want to continually have to source those out because they do get really expensive.
Now, I do recommend when you have the budget, to have user testing performed on your digital assets. That’s a really good practice, that’s a really good habit to be into, but it would be expensive to do that all the time, right?
So we want to make sure that we are working and making sure that our teams, our contractors, our employees, our staff, they all have knowledge of accessibility and then we’re building upon that knowledge.
So how do we do that? Well, we invest in training. And so another heading I have here is training, and then underneath that I have principles and specifics. So you want to first be aware of accessibility principles.
Why? Because those give you the mindset to where you are aware of the different considerations regardless of the digital asset. So the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, those are specific to the Web but within those guidelines you will find principles that you can apply to all sorts of digital assets.
So you want to first learn the principles and then you can learn specific. So how to make a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet accessible, that will require specific training that is worthwhile to invest in, particularly if you are continually producing Excel spreadsheets. The same with PowerPoint, you want to make sure that you are aware of the specifics for PowerPoint, so you’ll know the general principles.
You’ll know if there’s an image that you need to make sure that that image is described if it conveys meaning. But within these different digital assets, there are particular ways to make it so that the image is accessible or whatever the case is.
So you need to be first aware of the principles and then aware of the specifics for whatever digital asset you are customizing or remediating or creating.
If you do that, then you are going to, one, provide more accessible experiences, two, introduce less accessibility issues and then three, eventually get to the point where accessibility isn’t this foreign concept.
Accessibility is rather something that is part of your process and where you don’t need to source out to third party providers because it’s not separate, it’s not something that one, let’s say your web developer is creating code and then you need to have someone else inspect that code for accessibility issues.
Rather the developer is already incorporating accessibility into the code. So training can save you so much money, but it also is going to produce more accessible experiences. And what you want to get to the point to is where accessibility is seamless and so that any audits that are performed, any user testing that is performed, it’s not that you have to have them, it’s that you are doing them as a part of your accessibility policy and just making sure that there are no accessibility issues that have been overlooked.
Because it is good to have someone check your work just as if you are a really good writer, it’s still good to have someone editing your writing. But it’s not that it would necessarily need to be edited and the same would apply to accessibility.
It’s not that you would necessarily have to have someone audit a website, for example, but it’s just that you would like to make sure that there are no accessibility issues that are missing. Or you might have user testing where you’re making sure that this is a seamless experience, but especially depending on your budget.
That may not be in your budget, but what is in your budget is education and training and making sure that your team is trained on accessibility. I offer training on the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, and if you go through these guidelines, I recommend starting here first, because these guidelines, they teach you the principles of accessibility and the different things and considerations to think about as you are creating digital assets.
So although they apply to the web, you can take the principles and the concepts and then apply them to other various digital assets. So I will link to the training I offer below it’s at adacompliance.net but the point of this video is that training is paramount and highly high recommended and it will end up making your experiences more accessible.
But it will also save your organization so much time and money.