Practical Accessibility: Advice from the front lines

Practical Accessibility: Advice from the front lines

Accessibility evaluation and design can be daunting, even for those who believe that designing for inclusion is a moral and legal imperative.

The practical steps to ensure product and service accessibility can appear complicated. There are formal and informal sets of accessibility guidelines which require interpretation to apply. Technologies evolve, bringing both better assistive technology support and more opportunities to break existing solutions.

Moreover, key issues are emotionally loaded as advocates fight for human rights, designers strive to innovate, and corporations seek to maximize profits and avoid litigation. The demand for accessibility support accelerates globally as individuals shift into their elder years in unprecedented numbers.

The bottom line, however, is that Accessibility design and evaluation needent be difficult or confusing. Processes can be learned, guidelines can be clarified, and ultimately Accessibility is simply part of UX. This panel will provide a reality check on the current state of accessibility, offer advice from experts regarding setting reasonable expectations and sharing practical advice for success.  

We will base the discussion on scenarios drawn from our personal experiences, including:

* A university wants to be able to check a box on a questionnaire that asks whether they are ADA compliant, with just Yes and No as possible answers.
* A designer struggles to ensure accessibility in lieu of company brand guidelines.
* A product owner asserts that fixing  an accessibility problem “dumbs down” experiences for other audiences.
* Management and the legal team want to minimize legal risk.
* User-advocates want features to work for them now.
* Schedule-conscious project managers want minimally acceptable solutions
* QA wants  accessibility testing procedures.
* A developer pushes for an accessibility API that may or may not solve current problems.
* The team is stymied by touchscreen interactions not covered by current standard.

These real-world scenarios will allow us frame and explore a number of critical  topics. For example:

* How to interpret accessibility guidelines, especially for new technologies
* Effective accessibility evaluation techniques
* APIs and better developer tools for automating aspects of accessibility
* Coping with legal realities and the threat of lawsuits
* Forthcoming changes in ADA and “Section 508” federal standards
* Collaborating with designers, advocates, thought leaders, and other internal business stakeholders
* Bring your own stories and questions as our panel of experts share their experiences and debate the most effective ways to make great accessible products and services.

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