When a company tries to tackle an accessibility-related project, it needs to do so with the help of an efficient and compatible design team. A successful design team consists of cooperation amongst many different groups and perspectives.
According to Deque, building an accessibility team can have challenges but is a worthwhile investment for any company.
Why would you need a design team for accessibility?
According to an article by Deque, “Building a core accessibility team is often a major difference in the success or failure of many accessibility initiatives.” A team involved in the accessibility design process is the best way to ensure the project or product’s accessibility. Running this process through different members creates the opportunity for diverse perspectives.
Assembling the team
Various roles and perspectives are needed to design an accessible project or implement an accessibility initiative successfully.
The following are examples of the various roles and team members that will be needed:
Executive members have a fundamental role in any accessibility design process. As the foremost officiator of organizational matters, the execution of any sort of design process relies on executive support.
Executives need to understand the value of accessibility in their business. Not just from an ethical standpoint but from a practical one as well. Accessibility is good for business. It enhances user experience and increases potential client bases. For more insight, check out our article on weighing the costs and benefits of accessibility.
The executive also has the crucial role of establishing a company’s accessibility standards.
In addition to these universal guidelines and laws, like WCAG and Section 508, companies will often create their standards. Many companies have done this, including Google, Microsoft, and IBM.
It is against these standards that the success of any accessibility project will be weighed.
Managers in an accessibility design team oversee the various steps of the design process. In this context, they oversee and verify the accessibility of a product or initiative. Two different kinds of managers are involved: development and project managers.
The product manager’s job is to oversee and ensure the integrity of a product’s vision and intent. For instance, if a company is designing and launching an accessible product, the product manager will ensure that the product meets the company’s accessibility standards. They will do this throughout the various steps of the process.
Project managers are responsible for the various stages of execution in any project. They are responsible for overseeing how efficiently the various steps of the accessibility initiative or the product design process are completed.
The role of the creator is to provide content relevant to the accessibility of the product. Take, for example, the process of designing a screen reading feature, like Apple’s VoiceOver. A creator produces feature content, such as the written copy that the screen reader will use to describe visual media.
Designers help craft visual and interactive aspects of a product. There are two types of design used in this process.
User experience (UX) design is focused on ensuring that the visual elements of a product are easy to use and accessible to the eventual consumer.
The user interface (UI design) designer is responsible for creating and designing elements that users will interact with in a product. For example, buttons, sliders, and other interactive elements are functional pieces of a web interface.
The developer's role in an accessibility design team is to implement the design within the product. Developers will do this via a coding process. Developers must ensure that the code they use meets web accessibility standards.
Quality assurance engineers
QA engineers are responsible for testing the design and the developed code to ensure that the product meets the program’s standards. They will do so through a combination of manual testing and automated testing.
Subject Matter Experts
Subject matter experts are essential to help field test the accessibility of an initiative's final product or result. Often, organizations will utilize people with disabilities to test the product. This perspective is essential to help assess if the design process meets the organization's accessibility standards.
A good design team is essential to any company hoping to make itself more accessible. Whether designing a product or initiative, a well-functioning team can make all the difference. For more information about designing for accessibility, feel free to sign up our event happening on May 9th, 2023.