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Lisa Herrod - Accessibility for web teams: Recategorising WCAG 2 using a role-based approach

by Web Directions

Published November 5, 2011 in Technology

The application of web accessibility guidelines in a holistic manner across all roles of a web team continues to encounter resistance. This is often due to a lack of resources and knowledge, or no sense of relevancy in certain web roles. While there is solid support of the guidelines by accessibility activists and many front-end developers, a large percentage of other web practitioners in non-technical roles do not know how to integrate accessible design practices into their daily work, despite wanting to.

By re-categorising accessibility guidelines into role-based groupings, such as visual design, content writing and information architecture, guidelines become more accessible to inexperienced web practitioners across a broad range of web roles. The application of accessibility guidelines then becomes more integrated and holistic, thereby reducing project timelines and costs while increasing the overall accessibility of a site from initial design stages.

This method enables practitioners to apply skills specific to their role to a narrow range of accessibility guidelines particular to their area of expertise. For example, the visual designer would create a design and evaluate colour contrast before submitting the design to the development team. Likewise, an interaction designer would consult with the Javascript specialist to ensure the menu design satisfies relevant accessibility guidelines.