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Without comprehensive and fully implemented accessibility policies in place, an organization’s efforts to make its products and services accessible will likely fail. In my last post I shared numerous reasons why defining and implementing a strong set of accessibility policies is important for every organization. In this post I will outline a four phase approach to establishing accessibility policies in an organization, the documents that should be created in each phase and other types of policies and documentation that should also be modified to address accessibility.  This is intended to be a high level outline to introduce the recommended phases of policy development and related documents. The remaining posts in the Accessibility Policy Series will describe each phase and its contents in detail.

Phase 1: Accessibility Policy Development

In the first phase, core accessibility policies for the organization should be defined. Key documents in this phase include:

  • Accessibility Policy
  • Accessibility Statement
  • Accessibility Issue Resolution Plan
  • Gap Analysis
  • Accessibility Compliance Program

Phase 2: Accessibility Policy Operationalization

In the second phase, the focus is on communicating the newly defined policies to the organization and providing sufficient training for personnel.  Key documents in this phase include:

  • Accessibility Communications Plan
  • Accessibility Training Plan

Phase 3: Establish Accessibility Standards

The third phase focuses on the adoption of organizational standards based on the accessibility policies. Key documents in this phase include:

  • Accessibility Checklist
  • Accessibility Implementation Guides

Phase 4: Accessibility Policy Implementation

In this final phase, organizations will develop a plan to implement the policies and standards which have been now been defined, documented and communicated to the organization. Key documents in this phase include:

  • Project Management Plan
  • Workflow Change Report

Existing Policies/Tools That May Require Modification for Accessibility

In addition to the recommended accessibility policy documents, certain existing policies, tools and documentation will require the addition of language to address accessibility concerns. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Development Style Guides
  • Master Quality Assurance Plans
    • Defect entry
  • Procurement
    • Template contract language
  • Human Resources
    • General non-discrimination policies
    • Reasonable Accommodations
    • Recruiting
    • Staff Evaluations