The Program and Empathy Lab Presentation
There are many internal challenges that software companies face that can be solve with the introduction of an accessibility champions program:
- Awareness of accessibility is siloed to a small group of individuals (the A-COE) who are overwhelmed
- Accessibility features’ are often skipped in our products because teams aren’t empowered with knowledge to make design/dev decisions on their own
- Accessibility features’ often get cut due to budgets because they are not prioritized by product management
- Accessibility is only considered on our public-facing products, not for the entire company, yet we try to attract and retain top talent in the disability community
- The learning curve to understanding accessible design feels daunting to staff
- There isn’t a clear learning path to understanding accessibility needs and solutions
- Staff is not empowered to discover accessibility issues and feel like there is not enough time
- Many people at NWEA do not have first-hand familiarity with disabilities and are not aware of the challenges or solutions
If NWEA introduced an accessibility champions program with a standard curriculum and a mandate of at least 33% participation company-wide, we could create a learning path for people to understand how to design and build accessible products and democratize an understanding of WCAG-compliant design and development on a scale that would ensure accessibility is part of the planning, designing, and building phases of our product.
I created the curriculum and this presentation to pitch to the executive team the need for an accessibility champions program at NWEA. This, paired with an empathy lab, would build an understanding of and empathy (not sympathy!) for users with disabilities, their challenges and tools. All teams would be empowered to create accessible, WCAG-II and III compliant experiences for our users.
Link to Accessibility Champions Presentation. Please contact me directly for more information on my recommended curriculum and implementation strategy.