Pyramid with 5 levels of DAMM Maturity

The Digital Accessibility Maturity Model: Dimension #2 – Communications

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Written by: Sheri Byrne-Haber

In my last post in the Digital Accessibility Maturity Model (DAMM) Series I detailed the first dimension of DAMM – Governance, Risk Management and Compliance.  In this post I’ll discuss Dimension #2, Communications, the associated aspects and artifacts, and what each of the five maturity levels looks like for this dimension.  

(DAMM Definitions and Acronyms)

The Communications dimension encompasses all public facing communication activities relating to the accessibility program. The Communications dimension broadly measures organizational maturity in communicating its accessibility program activities. Communication activities explicitly include clear and well-tended channels for receiving feedback on accessibility issues. This dimension includes public statements of compliance and public representations of the accessibility program. The Policy and Process aspects for this dimension include addressing questions like should public facing marketing assets be accessible, and should public facing communications be accessible. The Communications dimension does not measure the level of conformance of public marketing channels with the accessibility policy.

Aspects

  • Program Communication– The maturity of the organization in the public communication of the accessibility program. This includes both outbound communications on the program and properly receiving and handling inbound communications on accessibility issues.
  • Internal Communication– The degree to which the organization is effective at communicating its commitment to accessibility internally to employees.
    • Have we communicated to employees are commitment to accessibility?
    • Do we have ongoing, supporting communications regarding accessibility?
    • Do we have a short form communication for what we are doing?
  • Market Communication– The maturity of the organization in communicating with the market regarding accessibility policy and implementation. This would include the ability to produce and maintain accurate accessibility documents including Voluntary Product Accessibility Templates (VPAT), Government Product Accessibility Templates (GPAT) and WCAG Conformance Statements.

Artifacts

  • Communications Plan – A plan that define how the program will be communicated both to the public and internally.
  • Organizational Compliance Statement – Compliance statement published internally and in a high-visibility location on websites and mobile applications owned or controlled by the organization.
  • VPATs, GPATs and Conformance Statements – Public conformance statements for specific line of business products or services.

Maturity Levels

Level 1 – Initial

  • There is no accessibility communications process or formal communications.
  • Accessibility communications are reactive and ad-hoc.

Level 2 – Managed

  • There is a basic, documented accessibility communications process.
  • Some formal communications exist, such as an accessibility statement page on a web site.

Level 3 – Defined

  • There is a detailed accessibility communications process, including approvals.
  • Products and services that are launched by lines of business consider formal accessibility communications as part of their launch process.
  • Specific accessible products and services can be cited.
  • All communications issued through the communications program are accessible.
  • There is a process for communicating with persons with disabilities and obtaining their input on various accessibility issues.
  • Disability milestones and anniversaries are calendared to proactively trigger communications to the public.

Level 4 – Quantitatively Managed

  • Organization-level metrics are available on communication efforts with persons with disabilities.
  • Communication efficacy and metrics can be tracked across lines of business.
  • There are records / examples of accessible communications.
  • A feedback loop exists for the progress of implementing the communications accessibility process organization-wide.

Level 5 – Optimizing

  • Organization and line of business feedback and is used to actively update, modify and extend aspects of the communications program.

Coming Up

In my next post I’ll discuss Dimension #3 of DAMM – Policies and Standards – which measures the extent to which an organization has accessibility policies and technical standards, and includes an overarching accessibility policy, specific policies in use throughout the development and support lifecycle, and detailed accessibility technical standards.

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