- Mar 2021
From Nothing to Something: How A Team of 2 Kickstarted an Accessibility Program
Alexis Lucio, Splunk, Accessibility and Inclusive Design Lead
Simarjeet (Sim) Kaur Splunk, Software Accessibility Engineer
Splunk: a tool to help devs monitor, secure, and troubleshoot dev environments.
- First step is to learn the product and map out current state of a11y. Review available VPATs, evaluate test cases for a11y and improve where necessary, gather existing bug reports for a11y issues.
- Find mentors in the a11y space
- Pass info to rest of company in a digestible format. Alexis started a program called "A11y Hour" where colleagues were invited to come learn about disability and accessibility topics
- Prioritize customer-generated issues
- Work with developers to test for a11y during development, not after
- Evaluate how you're doing: how many a11y issues are opened vs closed? And set goals for improvement from there.
- Form a network within the company, and pool together your external networks
- Advocate for a11y-specific headcount
- Tailor the business case for a11y based on who you're talking to. When speaking to designers, "the right thing to do, ethically" is effective. But for other stakeholders, consider angles like financial, legal, tech debt, sales/competition, industry regulation, SEO...
- Provide specific examples of a11y done well for inspiration (where possible, use NVDA/JAWS and take away visuals so sighted folks get same experience as Blind folks)
- Put together a detailed proposal, so all leadership has to do is "Say yes"
- Open a communication channel for the company to use: Slack channel worked well at Splunk. Helps to "democratize knowledge" - if a Q is asked more than once, pin it as part of an FAQ.
- Create resources to share with rest of org: for example, learning session that can be part of new employee bootcamp
- Advocate for company-wide OKR for a11y
Building Accessibility Success within Smaller Enterprise Companies
Ted Drake, Intuit
- Assess company's needs: regulatory environment? resource-strapped startup? are you about to go public & concerned with PR?
- Build goodwill with leadership and keep communication lines open (CEO, CTO, product leaders, etc)
1, 3, and 5 year goals
- 1 year: get to know all products/aspect of product intimately
- 2 year: documentation
- 3 year: "low-hanging fruit" and basic compliance
- 4 year: work with customers and contributors to get real user feedback from disabled customers
- 5 year: Set goals for metrics that will be used in perpetuity with regular testing
Tips for Success
- Build support within the org - idea: "Accessibility Champions" program. Have devs set up their computers for keyboard only testing, install certain browser plugins, etc.
- Develop empathy: record and share customer interviews, create personas, empathy exercises (put on a mask & use your product with a screenreader)
- Include developers and designers in customer research
- Transparency: blog posts, internal comms