Loading
Apuntes
Study Reminders
Support
Text Version

Accessibility and Staff

Set your study reminders

We will email you at these times to remind you to study.
  • Monday

    -

    7am

    +

    Tuesday

    -

    7am

    +

    Wednesday

    -

    7am

    +

    Thursday

    -

    7am

    +

    Friday

    -

    7am

    +

    Saturday

    -

    7am

    +

    Sunday

    -

    7am

    +

This final module will expand on the discussion of policy introduced in module four. One of the key elements in implementing web accessibility policy is hiring staff that possess accessibility knowledge and ensuring they know how accessibility fits into their roles. Hiring staff explicitly to implement and manage accessibility efforts is perhaps the most important indicator that an organization is committed to developing and maintaining products and services that are inclusive. There are two particular roles that we will examine here: the Web Developer and the Web/IT Accessibility Specialist. These two roles are generally responsible for the bulk of compliance efforts undertaken in an organization. Despite our focus on these two roles in particular, it is important to remember that accessibility can and should be a part of a company’s regular business practices, with staff at all levels contributing to the maintenance of an organization’saccessibility status. See the video: 'Making the World Accessible', a TED talk with Dave Power, on the next slide. It is clear to you that web developers need to have a good understanding of accessibility, as they will be responsible for much of the company’s digital accessibility. But, you also want to understand what knowledge and skills other staff should have, so you can ask the appropriate accessibility questions during job interviews with potential candidates. For most positions an organization may be hiring for, digital accessibility knowledge or skills need not be a requirement, though having that knowledge or skills should add points to a candidate’s overall score. For most positions, a little training will provide the needed details of accessibility requirements for particular roles. Of the various roles that could be found in an organization, it is the web developers who will need to be most familiar with accessibility requirements and the strategies to meet those requirements. Knowledge and skills for web developers will be covered separately later in this module. The following lists in general terms the skills and knowledge each role in an organization should possess or be trained in, starting with knowledge everyone should possess and followed by additional specific skills for particular roles: Everyone • Disability sensitivity • Organization requirements (high level, legislated obligations). Senior managers • Organization requirements (details of legislated obligations) • Experience with change-management projects. Store managers • Customer-service accessibility. Sales staff • Customer-service accessibility. Office staff • Document accessibility • Basic web accessibility. Human resource staff• Role-based accessibility knowledge and skills • Accessible employment practices and local accessibility regulations • Document accessibility • Knowledge of training, change management• Knowledge of accommodations for people with disabilities • Knowledge of the organization’s accessibility efforts. Communication and marketing • Document accessibility • Multimedia accessibility• Basic web accessibility. Purchasers • Organization requirements (procurement) • Basic web accessibility. Telephone support staff • Customer service accessibility. UI designer • Universal design principles • Basic web accessibility. Web content authors • Basic web accessibility. Media support staff • Basic web accessibility • Multimedia accessibility. Distribution centre staff • MinimalCleaning and maintenance • Minimal. After reviewing the staff list when looking into training for various roles, you discover the company employs only one person who has identified as having a disability. Given approximately 15% of the population has a disability, you think the company is missing an opportunity to benefit from diversifying its workforce by leveraging this relatively untapped talent pool. You also realize that hiring additional staff with a visible disability will help spread awareness of the need for digital accessibility throughout the company. You make the following recommendation to the accessibility committee: The company should make an effort to hire an accessibility quality-assurance person to test products for accessibility, provide input on the company’s accessibility practices, and help expose staff to people with disabilities to raise awareness of the need for digital accessibility. You suggest hiring a qualified person, who is blind and uses a screen reader to access the web and other digital information, into a new office support role. See the 'Business Case for Hiring People with Disabilities' video, with David Onley, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, on the next slide. Although there are many well-educated, skilled people with disabilities in Canada and in other countries around the world, they continue to be unemployed, or underemployed at a rate more than twice that of the general adult population. In fact according to Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, more than 50% of people with disabilities have high school diplomas, and over one third of these have completed a post-secondary program. In Ontario, the unemployment rate for people with disabilities is about 8% higher than the general population, as reported by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC). According to the OCC, this is in part due to systemic and cultural discrimination based on misperceptions of people with disabilities. People with disabilities are often perceived as less productive, more likely to take time off, too costly to accommodate, and more likely to be a burden on employees who do not have disabilities. In fact the opposite is true for all these points. Because people with disabilities have more difficulty finding work, they are likely to value employment more than typical fully abled workers. The Ontario Chamber of Commerce has put together a list of eight myths about hiring people with disabilities, and the OCC challenges those myths with facts. In Ontario, the employment standards of the AODA describes requirements for accessible employment practices, from recruitment procedures, to employee accommodations, to performance management, and more. As of January 1, 2017, all organizations in Ontario, including small ones, must meet the AODA employment standards’s requirements. These requirements are summarized below: 1. Notify employees and the public about the availability of job accommodations for applicants with disabilities. 2. Ensure that the methods being used to advertise employment vacancies are inclusive, with alternative formats available where appropriate. 3. Notify prospective applicants that interview accommodations are available upon request. 4. If an applicant requests accommodation, consult with the applicant on suitable ways to provide those accommodations. 5. Upon making a job offer, and upon start of employment, notify candidates of policies for accommodating employees with disabilities.6. Upon request, provide information in accessible formats to employees needed to perform their job, as well as information generally available to employees. 7. Provide personalized emergency- response information that takes into account employees’s disabilities, and to a designated assistant if one is required. Review emergency-response information if an employee moves or changes jobs.8. Have a process in place to document individual accommodation plans (other than small organizations). 9. Upon return to work due to disability, develop an accommodation plan for employees returning after an absence. 10. During performance reviews, take into account employee disabilities, accessibility needs, and individual accommodation plans. 11. When career development is provided, take into account employee disabilities, accessibility needs, and individual accommodation plans. 12. When redeployment is provided, take into account employee disabilities, accessibility needs, and individual accommodation plans. For employees with disabilities, employed in a role that involves consuming or producing digital information, accommodations typically include supplying assistive technologies that provide access to a computer. If employees with disabilities do not already have a preferred means of accommodation, they will often receive a workplace accommodation assessment, typically conducted by an occupational therapist (OC). The OC will recommend adjustments to workspaces to accommodate a disability, as well as assistive software or hardware to make possible or aid with tasks associated with particular roles that involve using a computer. The following is a list of potential accommodations that may be required by people with disabilities. In most cases accommodation will cost less than $1000, sometimes much less. People who are blind will typically require a screen reader to access a computer, which reads aloud the information on a computer screen. If they are deaf blind, or for blind users who read Braille, they may also require a refreshable Braille display working along with a screen reader to turn text on a computer screen into raised dots on a finger pad that refreshes while navigating through the text. People with low vision may or may not require a screen reader. Some will require magnification software, while others will rely on magnification built into the operating system or web browsers they may be using. For those with loss of hearing, they may not require assistive technology beyond hearing aids. They may, however, require audio content in alternative formats, typically written, and they may require accommodations for meetings, either a scribe to take notes or use instant messaging, or perhaps voice recognition software to transcribe spoken words to a computer screen. Real-time captioning services may be an option, connecting by phone or internet to a service that types what is heard to be displayed on a computer screen. Some people who are Deaf will be able to read lips. For this to be effective, others need to be trained to be aware when they speak, that their lips are in view for the person who is lip reading. TTY (text telephone or teletypewriter) may also be required if a person who is Deaf will be communicating by telephone. Video-relay services, similar in nature to real-time captions, have a remote interpreter listen and interpret to sign language, displayed on a computer screen. In some cases, particularly where ASL is the person’s first language, a sign-language interpreter may be required. This can be an expensive option, however. Augmentative communication devices might be used as an alternative to sign-language interpreting, used to translate English into ASL. Cognitive disabilities can be quite varied. Assistive technologies are less likely to be required. Rather job accommodations may be needed, aligning work duties with the capacity to comprehend and complete those duties effectively. People with cognitive disabilities may be well suited to take on entry level duties that are often not challenging enough for others. Other’s with cognitive disabilities such as autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, and other pervasive developmental delays (PDDs), can be quite intelligent in some respects, while having difficulties with social interaction. They may be able to take on highly complex, specialized tasks, but may need privacy or routine to function effectively. People with learning disabilities are typically as intelligent as others, some more than average. They typically have difficulties in a specific area, such as reading, or mathematics, or interpreting visual input. In some cases, no accommodations are needed. For others, they may require text-to-speech technology to read text aloud. For those who have limited use of their hands, perhaps due to a spinal-cord injury, or perhaps an inability to hold their hand steady enough to handle a keyboard or mouse, a variety of assistive technologies may be employed. Speech recognition may be required by some, allowing them to speak commands to a computer, or dictate text to a document. For those who cannot handle a mouse or keyboard, technologies such as eye tracking, or a head mouse, might be required to allow them to control a mouse pointer, and press a large button switch that take the place of a mouse click. Some may require a keyboard with large keys, that are easier to target with a shaky hand. Others may be accommodated with low-tech solutions such as a keyboard cover with holes over each key that prevent adjacent keys from being pressed. People using a wheelchair to accommodate loss of movement in their legs typically do not need any assistive technology when interacting with a computer. For those who have loss of movement in the arms and legs, technologies like those described for fine-motor disabilities may be required. See the video: 'How Creating a Culture of Accessibility Positively Impacts Business', on the next slide. In terms of web accessibility, it is the web developer who must be knowledgeable in implementing accessibility in web content. As much as others may understand how and where barriers can affect access, it is the developer who makes accessibility happen. A web developer usually has a university-level computer science degree and/or special training in developing for the Web. Currently, there are few formal technical programs that provide anything more than cursory coverage of web accessibility. As such, web developers who are qualified to implement accessibility are often self-taught. Finding a web developer with expert accessibility skills can be a challenge, and it may mean settling for a person who simply knows the basics about web accessibility. If you plan to hire a web/IT accessibility specialist, hiring web developers with knowledge of accessibility is less of an issue, since the specialist can oversee the work of the developers and guide or train them. In addition to the skills that might be part of a standard job description for a web developer, an Accessible Web Developer should also have these characteristics: • Skilled use of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript• Good understanding of WCAG 2.0, or local accessibility guidelines • Knowledge of WAI-ARIA (preferably skilled use of) • Ability to effectively use JAWS or another screen reader • Familiarity with mobile screen readers • Familiarity with automated web-accessibility checking tools • Familiarity with browser-based accessibility-testing tools (plugins, etc.) • Knowledge of accessibility issues in technologies such as Flash and Java • Knowledge of cross-browser accessibility considerations. If you can find a web developer with expert understanding and all the skills needed to implement accessibility, hire that person. But, chances are you will find people with some, but not all of these characteristics. Hire the ones with the broadest backgrounds who are resourceful enough to find answers to accessibility problems based on familiarity with web accessibility as a whole. See the video: 'IT Accessibility: What Web Developers Have to Say', on the next slide. The web/IT accessibility specialist has a key role in the development of organizational accessibility culture. This person is often a manager with a technical background or a web developer, knowledgeable of accessibility and disability issues, whose role it is to oversee an organization’s web and IT accessibility efforts. Much like web developers with accessibility expertise, accessibility specialists can also be difficult to find and they are often self-taught. They come from varied backgrounds and through experience working with people with disabilities and assistive technologies, they develop a unique awareness of accessibility and what that means from technical, social, economic, political, and educational perspectives. The range of skills and knowledge will vary from specialist to specialist, though there are some core characteristics to look for, and a range of additional skills that will be outlined here. Duties may also vary, depending on the organization’s requirements. The following is a generic list of duties and potential characteristics for a web/IT accessibility specialist. A variation of these characteristics may apply in different circumstances, whether you are working in the business or corporate world, in education, in government, or in the accessibility services field. DUTIES • Manage and/or implement web accessibility efforts throughout the organization • Accessibility quality control of documents, websites, and IT systems • Train staff from varied backgrounds (e.g., customer service, sales, developers, and managers) • Develop documentation and training materials for diverse groups within the organization • Report accessibility/research efforts to senior management/stakeholders• Provide assistive technology guidance for clients or staff with disabilities • Present accessibility/research efforts at relevant conferences or meetings (this item is more specific to the educational sector) • Write and publish accessibility/research efforts (this item is more specific to the educational sector) • Participate in international standards working groups that promote accessibility. MINIMUM CORE KNOWLEDGE • Strong background in web development • Expert knowledge of WCAG 2.0 • Project management skills • Functional knowledge of WAI-ARIA (expertise would be an asset) • Knowledge of accessibility features across a full range of operating systems • Experience teaching or training adult learners • Familiarity with mobile and desktop screen readers• Familiarity with automated accessibility checkers • Graduate degree or better, in a related field or equivalent practical experience • Ability to interact effectively with junior and senior staff, government and the public • Strong oral communication skills • Technical writing skills. ADDITIONAL SKILLS • Knowledge of a range of assistive technologies and devices • Knowledge of UI design, implementation and testing • Knowledge of disabilities, and disability sensitivity • Functional knowledge of ATAG 2.0 and UAAG 2.0 specifications • Familiarity with international accessibility and disability regulations • Well networked with the global accessibility community • Qualitative research background (user studies).