Awareness

Organization Wide IT Accessibility Policy is Key to Success

When an organization decides to state a commitment to accessibility, its motivation for such a pledge can be genuine, but the details of how that commitment is achieved can be nebulous. The best way to both solidify a commitment to accessibility as well as provide a mechanism by which the elements of accessibility can be identified and solutions implemented, starts with organizations having an accessibility policy. The idea being, that if accessibility is important enough to be elevated to a policy level within an organization, it would be expected that an organization would then take appropriate steps to meet the requirements of the policy.

 

As an analogous example, most organizations have an Equal Opportunity (EO) policy which is taken very seriously. They have EO policy for sound business reasons, as well as for mitigating legal risks associated with related state and federal regulations. And because EO policy is typically created as organization wide imperative, plans and initiatives in support of that the policy permeate all levels of the organization. Accessibility and accessibility policy fit into the same model as EO, but with a set of technical challenges that make it somewhat more complex than EO. However; the same rationale applies.

 

Therefore, assuming that an organization has a commitment to accessibility strong enough to institute a policy on it, then one could also assume that the organization at all levels would develop and execute plans to achieve the objectives in support of that policy. Plans and might include but are certainly not limited to:

 

• Identifying areas where accessibility plays within an organization

• Integration of accessibility criteria into key business process

• Providing accessibility training based on job roles within the organization ( developer, project manager, content producer, procurement professional, etc.)

• Setting accessibility goals and measuring progress against them

 

An organization wide level accessibility policy allows organizations to weave accessibility into the fabric of its business and culture in a permanent fashion, rather than being done autonomously or ad hoc by individual(s) assigned to a particular area or project.

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Idea No. 28