Ending Non-compliant Tool Use - Your Action Steps
Select the appropriate Accessibility standard.
For Web Sites and Applications use the latest version of WCAG; Note: office applications, such as Microsoft Office include some accessibility check features and the vendor plus DEQUE provide detailed instructions regarding accessibility.
For Authoring tools use the latest version of ATAG in combination with WCAG.
For PDF files use the latest version of PDF/UA.
Note: human judgement is required. This is why you not only have Accessibility Analysts review the issues, ADA testers and disabled users must review as well.
Key Staff - Setup for Success
Ensure staff in key decision-making positions have the experience and ability to communicate what steps are needed. Note: having Accessibility certifications does not always indicate the best fit for the position.
Ensure staff in key decision-making positions also understand the perspective of the business content owners and the end user need for certain output, whether documents or databases with a web site front end.
System Change or Tool Update?
System change is indicated if you are pressuring staff to accommodate business content owner’s designs without having any input. What is frequently the cause is someone saying, “Well, we just need it this time and next time we will do it right.” Or “Can we get by with not doing it fully this time?” or “You have always accommodated us in the past, in fact for the last twenty years, why can’t you do it now?” Another indicator of system change is when managerial data must be manually generated. A system can track the managerial data automatically. For example, you are not really saving time or money by combining individual files into a separately tracked file. When a change occurs in one of the individual files, the combined file must be changed and all of it tracked manually. Instead, you need a system which can be programmed to automatically select the files that need to be sent to a client through a set of dependency rules.
System Change - Your Action Step
Your responsibility is to walk the business content owner through the idea of them having spent the last twenty years doing things, “temporarily” and they are now in a position where they most certainly do not want to be – up against a legal risk with high monetary penalties. It is now time to do things right, provide the best product, and provide the best user experience.
Tools Can Be Updated
Tool change is indicated if some users are on a system but perhaps 10 percent are not and do not want to move from the old Excel worksheet because they will be retiring in a few years and Excel is all they know. Likely, that excuse has been used for the last twenty years.
Tool Change - Your Action Step
Accessibility and the penalties involved for not meeting it – loss of business, legal actions, reputation damage – is the best reason to change design and to change to tools which accommodate everyone. You are fortunate to have great training resources and also excellent staff experienced with Accessibility. You can do this. Now is the time to update – no more excuses. For example, you are not really saving money if staff are using an old version of Dreamweaver to create table-based web page layouts for forms.