Digital Accessibility | Web Accessibility Policy | Alison
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Web Accessibility Policy

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What brought about the decision to develop a culture of accessibility throughout the Sharp Clothing Company, was the purchase of a shopping cart application for the company’s website without considering and properly evaluating it for accessibility. You decide to investigate strategies for procuring accessible products and services, and you start looking at how accessibility procurement practices will fit into the digital accessibility policy you have been piecing together. This module will provide you with guidance on how to create a context for accessible procurement practices through a broader accessibility policy. It will also provide information on how to document your company’s accessibility requirements when communicating with external vendors, and how to assess and work with vendors to support accessibility for all users. The pieces of the Digital Accessibility Policy are coming together. You understand that procurement also needs to be included as part of the policy. Before proceeding, you decide to take a look at what others have done in creating procedures for developing such a policy. You also want to look at policies others have published. You discover a wide range of policies, from simple statements outlining an organization’s commitment to web accessibility, to complex documents that describe in great detail each aspect of an organization’s digital accessibility requirements. Some policies focus specifically on the Web, ensuring web content is accessible to everyone. Others are more general, covering a wide range of accessibility matters including customer service standards as well as accessibility of the built environment. You decide that your focus will remain on developing a policy that encompasses digital accessibility, which includes web content, documents, multimedia, and information technology (IT). WebAIM, at the Center for Persons with Disabilities at Utah State University, undertook a project to develop an Eight-Step Implementation Model for creating an organization’s web accessibility policy, recognizing that implementing and maintaining a policy is a cultural or systemic issue within that organization. It needs to be ingrained at all levels to be successful and continue as business practice, with all employees committed to an inclusive presence on the Web. WebAIM describes the steps as follows: 1. Gather Baseline Information: This step is essentially an audit of the organization’s website(s) current accessibility status. 2. Gain Top-Level Support: In order for an accessibility policy to work, it needs buy-in from the top levels of the organization. 3. Organize a Web Accessibility Committee: Assemble stakeholders from various groups in the organization, including respected individuals from these groups, web development staff, and where possible, people with disabilities. 4. Define a Standard: Create an organizational web accessibility standard, which could be based on WCAG 2.0 with adjustments to match organizational needs. 5. Create an Implementation Plan: Set timelines and priorities, delegate responsibilities, and monitor progress. 6. Provide Training and Technical Support: Identify those who publish to the Web, assess their skills, plan training for different groups, create lists of resources, tools, code samples, and manuals that provide guidance on producing accessible web content. 7. Monitor Conformance: Schedule annual/semi-annual website reviews, define “monitoring” in someone’s job description, and ensure that person is well versed in HTML authoring and web accessibility. 8. Remain Flexible: Plan for change, such as changes in staff, standards, and technologies. Further details are available here: https://webaim.org/articles/implementation/. The following are a few good examples of web accessibility policies from different types of companies and organizations around the world. Scan through them to get a sense of the variability that exists in the types of information included in these policies.

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