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Now that you believe that accessibility is essential, what’s next? You know where to start and how to improve your app’s accessibility. But how can you get buy-in from your team to dedicate time to accessibility? How do you share what you’ve learned and inspire your colleagues to do the same?
On many teams, accessibility is a second — or never — thought. It can be a challenge to find time to make these improvements.
The answer varies from team to team and company to company and depends on these groups’ motivations.
In this chapter, you’ll develop a plan for your specific situation as you read. There is no coding in this chapter, so grab a pen and paper or open a new notepad so you can capture your ideas in realtime.
Recognizing a need
Before you approach your team, you need a rough idea of your app’s accessibility and how much attention the company pays to accessibility. If your team already has an accessible app, you might be one of the lucky few that don’t need to budget a lot of time to improve it.
This step doesn’t require a full audit of your app. Instead, you can do a quick pass with an accessibility scanner and TalkBack to estimate your level of compliance.
Act: Schedule a short amount of time to skim your app for accessibility issues using Accessibility Scanner and TalkBack. If you have limited time, commit to a short 20-minute session to take notes and get a feel for the accessibility of your app.
It might also be helpful to speak to your colleagues to discover existing accessibility efforts or programs. If they exist, you can engage the people involved and gain momentum together. It’s helpful to have people on your side when encouraging change in your organization.
Act: Take note of who to talk to in your company to learn about existing efforts. Make a plan for when and how to approach them. Remember that your prime objective at this stage is to understand what’s there. You’ll construct a strategy for inspiring the needed change later in this chapter.
Once you have an idea of the app’s compliance level, your organization’s dedication to accessibility, and who might be interested in supporting your goals, you can start thinking about if changes are necessary and how to set the change in motion.
There’s a good chance that you’ve already identified a need for improvement. Now comes the hard part: influencing that change.
Educating yourself and others
Because most companies place minimal emphasis on accessibility, there is also spotty knowledge sharing about how to address it. Most of your colleagues don’t know what it means to build an accessible app or why it’s important. This is where you come in.
Bringing visibility to the need
Even after people are educated and onboard with improving accessibility, it is still easy to overlook. How can you keep it top of mind?
You should expect and prepare for people to push back. People will disagree with you. Be patient and don’t give up when someone dismisses you or casts doubt on your ideas. Put in an effort to address your colleagues’ objections with poise.
You might be wondering how you can scale your accessibility support. You need to keep moving your product forward, even as it or your team increases in size, right? Scaling up your support without interfering with progress is a valid concern.
Staying focused and thinking small
You could feel overwhelmed by the amount of work to do, especially when dealing with a legacy app with much room for improvement.
Integrating into your process
You can also lean into your existing processes and automation to keep accessibility top-of-mind and reduce the burden on your team.
When you’re the only one person championing accessibility, you can get burnt out quickly. With some teams, it can take a lot of energy to change hearts and minds.
If your company relies on A/B tests or other analytics to inform decisions, someone on your team will probably ask about user tracking.
- Understand your company’s approach to accessibility before taking action.
- Help your teammates understand the importance of accessibility and how to make your app accessible.
- Keep a person’s role in mind when educating them.
- Know that it’s normal to experience pushback.
- Believe that it’s better to accomplish a little than nothing at all.
- Find simple, repeatable, contextual ways to build accessibility in your existing processes.
- Encourage enthusiasm on your team.
- Track metrics and measures, but don’t invade people’s privacy by tracking who uses accessibility services without express consent.
Where to go from here?
Congratulations! You’ve reached the end of the book. You’ve learned why accessibility is essential, how to make your app more accessible and how to get your team on board — pat yourself on the back.