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Plan overview

This toolkit makes it easier to improve your product’s accessibility. Whether your team is starting from scratch or looking to streamline a workflow that already meets requirements, this guidance can help.

How roles fit together

All team members have a role to play in accessibility. That’s why we break our guidance down by phase and list the roles involved in each phase. On smaller teams, the same person may cover multiple roles.

Plan

Product owners (Product managers, at IBM), architects, and team leads have key parts to play initiating projects and planning for releases and sprints. They make sure that decisions early in a project support an accessible outcome.

Design

Interaction, visual, and content designers have specific tasks to perform. Between them, they can capture considerations addressing almost all aspects of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). For products looking to further advance accessibility, we currently provide considerations for design research, and plan to cover other design disciplines.

Develop

Once accessibility considerations are incorporated into the design, a front-end developer’s job becomes simpler. They can focus on implementing the design specifications using the most effective coding techniques. Effective unit testing is also key.

Verify

A tester’s key role is to verify the accessibility of the product. The traditional approach of discovering accessibility problems at test time is costly. It is also less sustainable and unpredictable.

Launch

Release managers, QA leads, and (at IBM) accessibility focals ensure that accurate accessibility reports are available for the delivered product. These team members work with the product managers to ensure future releases can continue to improve.

Pace of completion

We designed this site to allow teams to adopt accessibility at their own pace. It divides tasks and considerations into three levels that help achieve the IBM accessibility requirements.

Level 1

Essential tasks with high user impact, normally with the least investment. Completing these tasks addresses many of the top concerns of people with disabilities.

Level 2

You should complete these tasks in addition to the first level to address the next-most important issues that may keep certain users from fully using your product.

Level 3

Completing all three levels achieves compliance with the A and AA criteria of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).

Release targets

Product teams should include accessibility targets in each release. As they do, each team member takes on specific tasks to ensure they set up the product for success. Improved, sustainable accessibility is the outcome.

Remember, every feature you make more accessible improves the experience for some users. You don’t have to solve it all at once to improve.

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