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Did you know Websites being used by Ontario Audience/Clients, Intranet and Apps must now be ACCESSIBLE?

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Did you know Websites being used by Ontario Audience, Intranet and Apps must now be ACCESSIBLE?

Under 2¬†sections of the AODA’s IASR¬†Regulatory Language it is now mandatory that any businesses who conduct business in Ontario (if your target audience is in Ontario or if your business has an office or is based in Ontario) must ensure the website, intranet sites and Apps are accessible as per the W3C 2.0 A section of the WWW Standards. The section on Employment in the IASR is where the requirement to have Apps and Intranet sites is mandatory for use by potential and current employees in Ontario.

Our Associate Consultant with OCADU has provided us with the following outline on how to get started with becoming compliant in 2014 with these mandatory regulations.¬† If you have questions about the IASR or W3C’s standards please feel free to contact us at AODA@optimalperformance.ca so we can arrange a conference call or meeting with our experts. We can also provide a Proposal for your IT, Communications &¬†HR team to work with your team to become compliant in 2014.

Developing the Implementation Plan for Web Accessibility

After your organization makes a commitment to make your website, Intranet & Apps accessible, it will be important to plan for implementation of accessibility in design and implementation. Implementation plans, as well as the optimal order of the steps, will vary from organization to organization.

Establish Responsibilities for IT, Communications, Human Resources, Marketing

  • 1 of the first steps in this process includes establishing an Accessible Web team;
    • Identify representatives from key departments¬†including¬†marketing, communications, web development,¬†technical support, usability, human resources.
    • If your company is a more decentralized organizations it will be important to¬†include representatives from different regions¬†&/or jurisdictions.
    • Designate a team Leader or Project Manager¬†to track Project Management steps. This may be an external consultant with expertise in accessible web design.
  • Identify a high-level champion¬†for the¬†web accessibility project(s):
    • Champions can reinforce¬†your organization’s commitment while implementation progresses for the project(s).
    • Accessibility champions¬†should be¬†within the C Suite of your organization as they are able to provide the funding and time for Project Team to complete all tasks on time and correctly.

Conduct the Initial Assessment

  • Determine which external requirements for web accessibility exist and which websites, intranet sites and Apps must be developed to the W3C 2.0 A and AA levels and when.
    • Check requirements early in the project phase, particularly for government and¬†commercial¬†sites.
  • Conduct an initial¬†assessment¬†of¬†your website(s), using the Preliminary Review Method (our Associate Consultants can perform this for your team).
    • A quick review of the website can provide information about the potential extent of accessibility challenges and problems.
  • Assess current¬†awareness¬†of the need for web accessibility by survey or interviews within¬†your organization (Optimal has these tools which can be applied with our Associate Consulting team)
    • If your company is a larger organization it is recommended to further survey individuals in departments with different roles relating to the website(s), intranet, Apps.
  • Assess the level of expertise of your organization’s web¬†developers¬†with regard to¬†accessible web design.
    • Self-reporting¬†will be¬†adequate for this initial assessment.
  • Assess suitability of current software to support development of accessible websites.
    • If your organization has decentralized¬†software procurement¬†practices, there may be a requirement to review more software products.
  • Estimate the¬†resources required to address the needs identified in the Initial Assessment, Self Reporting & User Survey¬†.
    • Include software replacement,¬†staff training, retrofitting of site, monitoring of the site(s), etc.

Following these initial Project Management steps Optimal’s Accessible Web & Communications experts can assist with the remainder of the project including;

  1. Developing your Organization’s Policies on Website Design and Technology
  2. Software Selection
  3. Training on software use and web content creation
  4. Development of the Accessible Websites, Intranet & Apps
  5. Promotion of Organizational & Client Awareness
  6. Monitoring of Website(s) Accessibility
  7. Preparation for compliance with the W3C 2.0 AA level Accessibility

Final Word; Buyer Beware

There are software companies and firms who say they have expertise in the¬†areas of web accessibility, communication, App design. Our experts at OCADU & Ryerson University both want consumers to be aware that on line “diagnostic accessibility tools” are not strong enough or in depth enough in their design to truly be an effective¬†diagnostic tool. In these cases the price might seem right but the outcomes tend to be error filled and incomplete.

When looking for experts in Web Accessibility and Design make sure you ask what the formal¬†qualifications are of the firm, ask what projects they have completed (and have your IT and Web Designers check out their projects), and ask for references. There will be an investment in the compliance with the IASR’s Communications, Web and Employment Regulations. Your team must ensure this is done right and well the first time around, so buyer be educated.

TO contact us for more information or to set up an initial call or meeting with our Accessible Web Experts at Optimal Performance please contact us at AODA@OptimalPerformance.ca or 1 888 768-2106

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