Integrating Accessibility Into The Business Process

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Business Best Practices

The World Wide Web Foundation empowers people to bring about positive change. In 1989, Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web. Then, he gave it to the world for free. Now, it's up to all of us to protect and enhance it. See the world's first web page at The World Wide Web project.


Governance Strategy

A challenge for all users is finding the information they want on websites and web pages that contain lot of information that they don't want. In general, the Web tends to present information in a way that overwhelms most users. Cognitive considerations for visualization, text simplification, and the interface design, are important for making Web content more approachable, readable, and digestible. Read the Introduction to Web Accessibility, by WebAIM

Accessibility website evaluation depends upon the accessibility guidelines being used, and the scope of the project. Evaluating a legacy website is more troublesome and time consuming, than accessibility inclusion of a new website design. These activities are influenced by many aspects such as the type of website (static, dynamic, responsive, mobile, etc.), the size and complexity, the technologies used, and the knowledge skills of the evaluator and the users performing the test.

Web site accessibility is an ongoing effort that must be integrated into the product life cycle stream. The duration and complexity of this process will depend upon the level of accessibility maturity of the web site and development skills. A well designed web site that employs a universal user interface strategy will require much less accessibility remediation. Whether creating a new web site or performing a major web site refresh, accessibility testing requires several iterations of functional testing, user testing, and implementation of remediation solutions. Each testing iteration will provide a detailed report outlining the accessibility criteria violations, accessibility issue severity level, user experience comments, and possible accessibility remediation techniques for each of the four WCAG compliance principles.

A business best practice strategy built upon an inclusive model will have a competitive edge in an expanding global digital economy. Innovation and Collaboration is the intersection of progress driven by Creativity and Engagement. A product life cycle Governance Model, defined by the AODA and WCAG standards, will improve employee productivity and expand market growth. The effectiveness of this governance model depends upon several components of web development and interaction processes. Web Accessibility is the deficit gap between the Disability of the user and the System capabilities. The goal is to bridge the Accessibility Gap, through Universal Design, that will create the best possible interoperability of System components to achieve the desired User experience. There is an implied essential partnership between the system components (operating platform, applications, assistive technology, and user knowledge), and project responsibility roles (Project management, Development, Architecture, Design, Content management, and testing), That must interact effectively for a good User experience.

Project Components

Project Phases

WCAG is not scary anymore - A progressive approach to Website Accessibility By Herin Hentry, Web Accessibility Consultant, Test Team Lead at Planit Software Testing, July 25, 2016

WCAG Specification illustration

Project Design Phase

Accessibility assessment begins at the design level of a product life cycle. The page landscape must be perceivable, the content understandable, the objects operable, and the overall usability must be robust. The Project Methodology process begins with requirements research. For a new Web application the Requirements start with Analysis, otherwise you first need to perform an evaluation of the current web site before the requirements Analysis. The next phase is design, followed by implementation and a new round of evaluation. If the specifications are fulfilled, the project moves to maintenance with periodic evaluation. If the specifications are unfulfilled, repeat the phases starting at analysis. Read the articles: Seven Things Every Designer Needs to Know about Accessibility (Jesse Hausler, SalesForce), and Ten Buckets of Testing (Chris Blouch, AOL Access).

Who Is Involved In The Design Phase

Design Phase Work Products

Project Accessibility Strategy Plan

  • Define the scope of your evaluation. This will define expectations between the different stakeholders.
  • Develop an initial understanding of the website and its use, purpose, and functionality. Much of this will not be immediately apparent to evaluators, in particular to those from outside the development team. In some cases it is also not possible to exhaustively identify and list all functionality, types of web pages, and technologies used to realize the website and its applications.
  • Define the WCAG conformance level (A, AA, or AAA) for the evaluation.
  • Define an Accessibility Support Baseline. Define the web browser, assistive technologies and other user agents for which features provided on the website are to be accessibility supported. In most cases this baseline is ideally as broad as possible to cover the majority of user agents used by people with disabilities.
  • Define Evaluation Methods to be Used. It is good practice to specify the methods and processes used in the evaluation of web site conformance. Also, define Additional Evaluation Requirements specified by project stakeholders. Example, analysis of particular use cases, situations, and user groups for interacting with the target website.
  • Explore the target web site. During this step the target website (the web pages and states of web pages that are in scope of the evaluation) is defined. it is important to define the target website in such a way that for each web page it is unambiguous whether it is within scope or not.
  • Select a Representative Sample. Explore the target website to identify its common web pages, which may also be web page states in web applications. Typically these are linked directly from the main entry point (home page) of the target website, and often linked from the header, navigation, and footer sections of other web pages. The outcome of this step is a list of all common web pages.
  • Identify Essential Functionality of the Website. Explore the target website to identify its essential functionality. While some functionality will be easy to identify, others will need more deliberate discovery. The outcome of this step is a list of functionality that users can perform on the website.
  • Identify the Variety of Web Page Types. Web pages and web page states with varying styles, layouts, structures, and functionality often have varying support for accessibility. They are also often generated by different templates and scripts, or authored by different people. They may also appear differently, behave differently, and contain different content depending on the particular website user and context. The outcome of this step is a list of the different types (as opposed to specific instances) of web pages and web page states that appear on the target website.
  • Identify Web Technologies Relied Upon. This includes base web technologies such as HTML and CSS, auxiliary web technologies such as JavaScript and ARIA, as well as specific web technologies such as SMIL, SVG and PDF. The outcome of this step is a list of technologies that are relied upon according to WCAG.
  • Identify Other Relevant Web Pages. Some websites include web pages and web page states that are specifically relevant for people with disabilities and accessibility of the website. The outcome of this step is a list of such web pages; Such as, web pages explaining accessibility features.
  • During the evaluation process, check for Each Success Criterion. Check that each web page and web page state, in the selected sample, satisfies each of the WCAG Success Criteria of the target conformance level. Check for any occurrences of failures to meet WCAG. Check that all content and all web features are supported by the web browsers and assistive technologies. This includes user interaction processes; Such as forms, input elements, dialog boxes, and other web page components, Confirmations for input, error messages, and other feedback from user interaction.
  • Finally, audit the evaluation process. Involvement of website owners and website developers can help evaluators make their explorations more effective. While evaluation findings are reported at the end of the process, recording them is carried out throughout the evaluation process to ensure reliable outcomes. The recordings may have varying levels of confidentiality. Documenting the testing phase, evaluation phase, and outcomes will help improve productivity and quality of accessibility, and ensure transparency.
  • Website Accessibility Conformance Evaluation Methodology

Development Phase

In this phase, construct a standards-compliant website using materials from the Analysis and Design phases. The first task is to assign a team member the role of Accessibility Liaison. This person will be responsible for coordinating accessibility status meetings throughout the development process, define accessibility techniques and remediation plans, prepare accessibility testing scenarios, and monitor accessibility remediation efforts. This will require an understanding of the WCAG standards criteria, available automated testing tools, and usability testing requirements. Integrate your accessibility testing tools with development and standard testing tools and processes. Create repeatable and scalable solutions.

Who Is Involved In The Development Phase

Development Phase Work Products

  • Develop a plan of Software specifications and support services for web developers, designers, and writers to produce web content.Authoring Tool for workplace accessibility
  • Provide a plan of understanding to create an accessible Rich Internet Application, with functional coding outline.The WAI-ARIA Authoring Practices Guide
  • Develop an accessibility test plan. Remediation Strategies
    Usability testing requires verification of accesibility using a range of tools and techniques by real users to uncover challenges: Automated Tools, Manual persona Test Scripts, Inspection of Code, Heuristic Tests, and Assistive Technologies.

Functional Testing Phase

Dynamic page rendering and operable functionality must be thoroughly tested before usability testing begins. Where native HTML5 cannot meet accessibility requirements, then ARIA coding can be implemented. Java scripts and widgets (JQuery, Dojo) must be robust. This is also refered to as User Acceptance testing, or Beta Testing, to ensure the code is behaving as expected and the website design is defect free.

Who Is Involved In The Functional Testing Phase

  • Development team.
  • Accessibility Specialist.
  • Experienced disabled users.

Functional Testing Work Products

Automated Tool Scan For Functional Testing

  • Images missing alt attributes.
  • Form fields missing explicit labels and/or titles.
  • No title on a web page.
  • No primary web page language.
  • Invalid Markup Parsing; elements have start and end tags, are nested according to their specifications, do not contain duplicate attributes, and IDs are unique.
Writing Automated Tests for Accessibility, by Marcy Sutton, December 13, 2017

Usability Testing Phase

Coordinate groups of test participants who have different needs, skills sets, browser configuration options, and assistive technologies. The outcome of this phase is a remediation report describing problems revealed in testing, and their solutions. The Usability Testing deals with user behaviour, and determines if an application is or will be easy to use for the end user. The accessibility testing team will perform final Accessibility Verification Testing (AVT) to ensure that those who are blind or have low vision, those who are deaf or hard of hearing, those who have cognitive disabilities, or those who have motor disabilities, can successfully access your web application. The manual test must be done with keyboard only, screen readers, and any other user agents. View some user accessibility issues.

Who Is Involved In The Usability Testing Phase

    Usability Testing Work Products

  1. Create User Baseline Testing Plan
    • Can users complete tasks and achieve their goals on the web application (effectiveness)?
    • How much effort and time do users require to complete the task (efficiency)?
    • Do users find the website easy to use and learn (satisfaction)?
  2. Create User Issue Testing Plan
    • Site-wide Templates usage,
    • Site wide common pages; Feedback Forms, Accessibility Policy,
    • Highest Traffic Representative Pages that include; images, Forms, Data Tables, Multimedia, Dynamic Pages, Modal Windows, Colour, Timers, and Different Languages.
  3. Create User Conformance Testing Plan
    • Define Scope
    • Explore Website
    • Select Sample
    • Audit Sample
    • Report Findings
    • View Report

Evaluation Review Phase

The evaluation review should be based on the project scope framework and the accepted conformance standard guidance. The initial review should focus on the general user experience. Users with disabilities and older users can be included in a wide range of evaluation activities (informal user interviews to formal test procedures). While access to people with disabilities is the primary focus of accessibility, it also benefits people without disabilities.

Who Is Involved In The Evaluation Phase

  • All stakeholders
  • Accessibility Specialist

Evaluation Phase Work Products

  • Review work plan strategies and lessons learned.
  • Review project audit reports.
  • Review user test procedures and methods.
  • Review remediation process and development tools.
  • Review documentation, training, and deployment procedures.

Deployment And Support Phase

Support costs can be significant, there may be customer satisfaction or legal risks associated with inappropriate application support. Under the AODA, there are obligations and penalties for customer support. The Office Accessibility Checker helps you find and fix accessibility issues, just like Spell Checker tells you about possible spelling errors. It checks your file against a set of rules that identify possible issues in your file for people who have disabilities. Each issue is classified as an Error, Warning, or Tip. To learn more read Checking for accessibility issues - Microsoft Office Support.

Who Is Involved In The Deployment Phase

Deployment Phase Work Products