This article series began with the idea that anyone can promote accessibility and foster an accessibility-first culture in their organization. As the series concludes, it’s important again to focus on the individuals who work to advance the agenda to ensure that all the digital properties are usable by the broadest potential audience.
Here are three tips for continuing to grow and evolve an accessibility-first culture.
Lead with Empathy
Whether your organization has reached the baseline levels of accessibility, it wants to achieve or if it is still working toward them, empathy is key. It can be a challenge for teams to work with a new requirement, even more so if they don’t have complete knowledge of how to meet it.
To make it easier for people to follow the accessibility requirement, lead with empathy and teach your colleagues to be empathetic too. You can show that compassion as you work with teams to help them understand how to remediate, and the impact the work has. Your colleagues can help others by sharing what you've told them so they can pass it on to others.
Share the Successes
Few things inspire morale more than sharing success stories. Share the achievements of the initiative to make digital properties accessible with the entire organization to show progress and momentum. This can take many forms, including (but certainly not limited to):
- After each release, provide the details on how many accessibility bugs were remediated.
- Beyond the number of items fixed, if possible, also detail the impact on the user.
- Share the news for team members who complete training or become certified in subjects related to accessibility.
- If possible, distribute positive feedback from customers who have benefited from accessibility work.
- Beyond remediation work, highlight when new projects go out in an accessible manner.
The more you’re able to distribute good news about the work happening, the more likely it continues to be a priority.
Create Continuing Education Opportunities
Digital accessibility is a big topic, and there are many opportunities to gather and share knowledge. There are many opportunities to learn more, and that can be very beneficial to you as an individual, as well as the organization you work for. It’s easy to gain knowledge, too, because every week, there are many online learning opportunities (speaking of, make sure you’re signed up to be notified about UsableNet webinars). Not only can you learn about aspects of accessibility that you may not be as versed in, you can also get a different perspective on a topic you already know about.
As you take in knowledge, share it within the team(s) you're with and if appropriate, throughout your company. Education is key to making sure everyone understands why accessibility is important and how to do the needed work.
Further, if you feel you’ve got knowledge that would benefit others, share it! You could do that through things like lunch and learn opportunities within your team or, perhaps more broadly, in your organization. You could also share it widely through channels like LinkedIn by finding opportunities to do your webinars, or to speak at conferences.
Remember, Progress Over Perfection!
Keeping "progress over perfection" in mind is vital for accessibility journeys. It’s not possible to do everything at once, and in fact, you're likely to change your strategy and processes will change multiple times. The important thing is to keep going, continuously improve, build new champions and advocates, and always learn so that you and your company are doing the best you can for your customers and employees.
For more, check out the new free on-demand webinar featuring the author, Jeff Adams, How to Create a Culture of Digital Accessibility. Watch now.