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Launch - readiness

During launch readiness, release managers work with the QA lead and others to ensure accessibility is part of product launch plans. The guidance applies whether the project is a web application, website, or software product.

Record and report

The Verify phase completes testing the web content for accessibility. For products or services that are sold, consolidate the test results to report in an industry-recognized standard format. For other websites, consider adding an accessibility statement to publicly document the accessibility status. The W3C has guidance for Developing an accessibility statement.

Gather testing results

Some automated testing tools provide results sorted by accessibility requirement, known as Success Criteria in WCAG 2.1. IBM’s accessibility requirements and automated testing tools are aligned with the international standards, which makes gathering and merging the results easier.

Work with the quality assurance (QA) lead to gather the test results from the Automated, Manual, and Screen reader tests.

The following sample spreadsheets by technology type will help you gather and merge the results. They align to international standards and include suggested answers for each requirement:

Merge results into industry-recognized report format

The Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) maintains the Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT®), the recognized template for reporting the merged results, to which the sample spreadsheets directly align. The international edition of the VPAT contains all of the requirements from the following standards:

  • W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1)
  • US Revised 508 Standards (US 508)
  • European EN 301 549 (version 3.1.1)

A completed template for a product release is no longer a VPAT but known as an Accessibility Conformance Report (ACR). Download from ITI the * latest international reporting template (VPAT® 2.x INT) that incorporates all three standards.

Make the accessibility status publicly available

Users seek and request the conformance report of your product release or website for various reasons, including regulations and policies that apply to procurement. Vendors of information and communications technology should provide simple self-serve ways to get the ACRs. As an example, you can request an IBM product ACR via able.ibm.com/request. Organizations often provide website conformance statements via a footer link on pages.

IBM launch readiness

For IBM specific launch guidance, go to IBM launch readiness (IBM internal use only).

Marketing materials

Sometimes teams manage the associated marketing campaign materials outside the release management process and forget about accessibility until a complaint surfaces from a user or customer. Marketing and customer materials can be thought of as another deliverable. You can use this same toolkit, which was used to produce your product, to make these materials accessible.

Pro-tips:

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Digital marketing campaign materials and customer-ready collateral are accessible
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Videos are captioned and video player is keyboard accessible
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Vendor agreements are in place and being met
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Events follow accessible meeting and communication best practices
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Presentation guidelines are in place and being met
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Business communications guidelines are in place and being met

Launch completion

Have the following tasks been completed?

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Engaged accessibility champion (at IBM, the accessibility focal point)
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ACR or website accessibility statement reviewed, approved, and ready to publish*
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Sign-off complete

*At IBM, ACRs may not be published externally and available to the public until the actual date the product release is generally available, per the date in the product management system.