WordCamp Canada

Thank you for attending our talk on “Growing in Accessibility” where we shared our insights on building a more inclusive digital future.

WordCamp Slides

Get the slide deck from Karim and Sara's talk right here.

Enter to win a free accessibility audit

Using UserWay, our expert UX designers will scan up to 50 pages of your website and provide an accessibility score along with tailored recommendations for your site.

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“Accessibility is a rough place for perfectionists, but a great place for learners!”

Accessibility can seem daunting at first but the trick is to just take things one step at a time, focusing on the most important items first, and striving for continual improvements over time. It’s not about being perfect! Here are some key take aways from the talk to help you get started in your journey:

Accessibility is a shared responsibility

Every role within your organization shares some of the responsibility for a website’s accessibility. Whether it’s your leadership championing education and quality standards within your organization, your research team learning about disability to build empathy with your users, or your build team getting deep in the weeds with the WCAG guidelines, everyone will have a role to play in delivering accessible products.

Get your clients on board with prioritizing accessibility

Helping your clients understand the importance of accessibility will help ensure you all agree on the priorities for your project. If they are new to accessibility, educate them about the benefits of building accessible products, as well as the legal implications of not meeting those standards.

Ground yourself in empathy

Get to know your users and do your best to find ways to connect with them. Focus on their goals, interests and what they want out of your product, and then consider the circumstances they might be experiencing your product under; do they have a disability? Are they under stress? Is their internet access limited?  Researching disability will give you a wider understanding the potential challenges your users could face, and asking “What if…?” will help you to put yourself in their shoes and think critically about their needs.

Get familiar with the standards and success criteria

The WCAG guidelines can be overwhelming, but the more familiar you become with them the faster and more natural designing and coding for accessibility will feel. Group the standards into their four main POUR pillars (Perceivable, Operable, Understandable and Robust) and review your website in sections, checking to make sure it’s visually designed and organized correctly, the controls are available and functional, the content makes sense, and the site works across different types of technology. With practice, implementing WCAG will eventually become second nature!

Embrace testing tools

Don’t be afraid to take advantage of the amazing testing tools that exist to help you check the details of your site. Evaluation tools such as WAVE or running Lighthouse in Chrome dev tools will give you a great overview of your site structure and where the main issues is. There is no replacing real human testing, since there is a great deal of nuance in meeting some accessibility standards, but tools like these can give you a great head start and free up time to be more thorough in other areas.

Get feedback from real users

You are not the user, so getting feedback from people with real lived experience will always give you the best results. Make sure when doing your research that you as inclusive as possible when engaging users, and that your tools and activities are as  accessible as you hope your end product will be to ensure you are not inadvertently excluding the people with disabilities from providing their valuable feedback.

Put in temporary supports if required

Accessibility is a journey, and you won’t always be able to fix everything right away. While you work, do your best to put in supports for users with disabilities until your site is ready to serve them. Providing them with quick and simple access to a support person is not a perfect long term solution, but it’s better than missing out on a potential new user.

Progress over perfection

Remember that there is no such thing as perfect accessibility. If someone tells you that their site is 100% accessible you should be very skeptical because such a thing just does not exist. You can do amazing things with content, design and development to create highly inclusive and accessible digital spaces, but you will never truly be finished. As technology and society changes, new needs will arise, so the important thing is to remain open to growing and enhancing your site over time.