The Web and Media Accessibility Group AMA ๐ŸŽ‰

View other answers to this thread
Paula Borowska's photo

Although accessibility is widely accepted and highly important in the design department at my company, we do have issues getting content writers and especially developers interested and accountable in accessibility. I work at a large org. What have you found that works to get other teams invested in accessibility?

Segun Ola's photo

Different approaches for different folks.

  • Some people will be convinced by Moral Responsibility.
  • More will be convinced by obvious business gains e.g good #a11y practices often translate to better SEO.
  • Others are motivated by fear of litigation. No business owner wants to be sued.

However, I have noticed most people who seem to not care about #a11y are just indifferent. In their minds, they're choosing between #a11y and something else that's "more important". To make a change here, you need to demonstrate that it's not a zero-sum game. Accessibility and company/team goals aren't mutually exclusive. e.g I once told my PM that it'll take the same time for me to implement a feature accessibly as it would take to implement inaccessibly. Then, I went on to deliver. Gradually, the team accepted accessibility as a product requirement.

As a teammate, the best way to seek buy-in is to show that it can be done at little or no cost.

Tatiana Mac's photo

In my other answer, I shared how to engage folks and make accessibility a team-wide responsibility, so I hope those insights can be helpful here!

Something that has worked for me is to just start talking about accessibility and asking questions that presume accessibility is a core part of our process. It's not a niche discussion, it's the discussion.

  • Has this form we're introducing been keyboard tested?
  • Have these designs been checked for colour contrast?
  • Where will be writing the alt text in? The copy deck?

Cultivating a culture of accessibility where it becomes habit is critical, where your teammates feel empowered to contribute and to help, rather than under the careful watchdog.

For writers, I've found tapping into their expertise and usually common desire to want things to be clear.

  • Hey! I'd love your insights on h tags and how that impacts content order. If I provide you some context for how h tags work, could you label your copy doc?
  • The alt text here hasn't been written. I'd love for it to be written by someone with your expertise!
  • This form lacks guiding error messaging and I think its a place where our voice and tone can be really powerful. Could we work together to ensure we make warnings that are on brand?

For developers, I've found tapping into their desire for consistency and reuse:

  • What can I do to make your job easier? [Reason for this question: A lot of the time I've found (and this is coming from a designer) that we don't do our own due diligence to make our designs accessible, so we're just passing that accessibility problem downstream. If your team is doing that work, awesome, and maybe share that work and care you put into it so that they feel like equal partners and stewards in ensuring your product is accessible]
  • I've made the padding specific so that it's more accessible for touch for limited mobility especially. How can we permeate this padding system into our design system?
  • What automatic testing and linting tools can be implement to make this easier on you?
  • Making this element semantic would make it more accessible by default!

I think it can be helpful to point blank ask people: Do you care about making our product accessible to people? Figuring out that baseline first tends to help.