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Directing Accessibility Maturity

Man bridging the gap by climbing a large ladder between mountains

Over the past two decades the world has seen an increasingly digitalised society. Now, about 40% of people are not able to participate and enjoy on an equal basis, or not at all, leaving them behind.

The figures haven’t improved much in the last decade, do you have any idea why?

Amongst many reasons this is happening is a consistent lack of quality in awareness, knowledge, skills, communication, designs, websites, apps, and marketing.

What if I tell you together we can bridge the gaps for inclusiveness and accessibility.

Challenging the Culture

Organizational cycle of Culture, Processes, and Policies

People, users, user needs, digital quality, equality, loyalty, innovation and satisfaction. Just to name a few reasons why we create amazing products and services for our users.

But how do we ensure that all users are included? Which challenges does an organization encounter bridging the gaps of truly inclusive and accessible products?

Seemingly simple there is a standard for accessibility (WCAG) and an obligation to meet the standard. How complicated can that be?

Although at first sight accessibility seems simple, that turns out to be simplistic.

Accessibility is hard, very hard

In reality accessibility is hard, very hard. There are a lot of challenges with accessibility guidelines conformance, and applying standards is often quite complicated. 

Fortunately we can conclude that technically there’s a lot possible to make products and services inclusive and accessible. From a legislative perspective we’re even expected to deliver them.

Everyone within an organization has the great task of contributing to inclusive products, and  no one excepted needs to be educated on the subject. Accessibility also demands a need for processes to be changed. From initial ideas, requirements and designs, to the user experience and development.

“Together we can bring it from a must to management by focussing on those processes and finding opportunities to improve.”

Jake Abma

To serve 8 billion people in an only expanding technical landscape demands changing your processes, enriching and possibly adjusting your culture.

A Maturity Program, Not a Project

The Six Strategic Cycles of Max Inclusion

Becoming truly inclusive and accessible as an organization requires a solid strategic approach.

It is insufficient to make individual products in an organizational silo accessible. It is of critical importance that an organization establish repeatable internal processes and methods for ensuring accessibility in the short and long term. Accessibility is a program, not a project.

A maturity modeling-based approach assists organizations to achieve and retain accessibility compliance with the European Accessibility Act (EAA), the Web Accessibility Directive (WAD), Section 508, and more, communicate accessibility efforts internally as well as externally, and how to score and mature going forward.

It helps organizations understand how to mature in accessibility more holistically, and explore approaches to mitigate challenges through policy and maturity to more fully address accessibility guidelines such as WCAG.

Maturity Focus

Post-its with texts: “yes, no, keep, how” and focus on “Don’t know”

Focus for the overview, gap analysis, and roadmap of a maturity-model include, but are not limited to:

  • The reason why
  • Business cases
  • Goals
  • Policies
  • Development life cycle
  • Activities
  • Justifications

Concrete examples consist of providing policies and statements, support and compliance, setting up an accessibility community, introducing an Accessibility Champion Model, awareness sessions and meetups, training, audits, and the promotion of inclusive testing approaches.

“With decades of experience in this field together with your help we can make this program a reality.”

Jake Abma

Working Together

Woman standing in front of table with other people sitting and working together

Directing accessibility in an organization requires commitment and executive support. Change will take time and progress will be a step-by-step process.

Expectations to speed up the process must be given the opportunity to:

  • Have executive support and manager buy-in
  • Have early talks on the value of a dedicated team
  • Setup a Accessibility Champions model and publicly praise accessibility champions
  • Organize meetups for inclusiveness, accessibility, and achievements
  • Embed structural training tailored for job positions
  • First hand exposure to assistive technology and accessibility programming and testing techniques
  • Explore and integrate tools and dashboards for accessibility insight
  • Have accessibility part of the QBR or OKR processes
  • Focus on the accessibility conversation as something that is a legal / regulatory necessity and not something that is “nice to have”

The challenges will be very high, the reward even higher!

Why Max Inclusion

We guide and mentor organizations to get ISO 30071-1 Ready and help to grow in inclusive principles and a user-first mindset through assistance in improving processes, resulting in creating more impact

Providing support in strategy for Training, Policies, Governance, Auditing and Advisory Service aids in creating a strategy to gain real benefits from accessibility in the most cost-efficient way.

Our team has multiple decades of expertise in Strategic Accessibility and we’re a member of the W3C WCAG Working Group.