Embracing Digital Accessibility: A Key Role for IT Teams in Creating an Inclusive Future

Advocating for an experience-driven approach towards digital accessibility

Key Takeaways

  1. The call for digital accessibility is more pressing than ever, with around 15% of the world’s population having some form of disability.
  2. The role of IT teams is fundamental in implementing and maintaining digital accessibility initiatives.
  3. The shift towards accessibility must be experience-driven, promoting a culture of inclusion and understanding.
  4. Info-Tech Research Group offers a comprehensive blueprint for IT leaders to initiate digital accessibility.
  5. The blueprint outlines two phases: planning IT’s accessibility requirements and fostering change enablement of accessibility.

A Deep Dive into Digital Accessibility

Digital accessibility has become a defining agenda of our times, and it can no longer be ignored or deprioritized. According to recent findings by Info-Tech Research Group, a global IT research and advisory firm, IT teams play a fundamental role in facilitating digital accessibility at an organizational level. As new technologies continue to emerge, the need for a dedicated, informed IT support team becomes critical in successfully implementing and sustaining digital accessibility initiatives.

Heather Leier-Murray, Senior Research Analyst of People & Leadership at Info-Tech Research Group, advocates for a shift in organizational culture. “Even if an organization hasn’t fully committed to an accessibility standard, its leaders can proactively get ready by planting the seeds to change the culture,” she says. The aim is to transform accessibility from being a compliance-driven necessity to an experience-driven practice.

The Info-Tech Blueprint: A Holistic Approach

Identifying the need for a comprehensive plan, Info-Tech has developed a research-backed industry blueprint titled “Initiate Digital Accessibility for IT.” This resource recommends a two-phased approach to digital accessibility for IT teams:

  1. Phase one – Technology: This involves determining accessibility requirements and building an IT accessibility plan. The outcomes include a list of business needs, IT accessibility requirements, remediation plan for conformance, and an accessibility commitment statement.
  2. Phase two – People: This phase focuses on building awareness, supporting new behaviors, and ensuring continuous reinforcement. The outcomes consist of team understanding of the accessibility program’s what, why, and how, as well as its sustainment plan.

The blueprint encourages IT teams to employ IT security concepts, including risk management, compliance, and response and recovery, while building their accessibility program.

Moving Beyond Compliance

To make accessibility a meaningful and ingrained part of an organization’s culture, it is crucial to look beyond just compliance and technology. Leier-Murray says, “Implementing an accessibility program requires many considerations: legal requirements, international guidelines, training for staff, ongoing improvement, and collaborating with accessibility experts and people with disabilities.”

She also points out that this cultural shift towards accessibility will require patience, education, communication, and support. The implementation of this new approach can be unsettling for many within the organization as they are learning a new way to behave and think. Therefore, effective planning and continuous reinforcement of the new practices are necessary to establish accessibility as the new status quo.

About Info-Tech Research Group

Info-Tech Research Group is a globally recognized IT research and advisory firm, assisting over 30,000 professionals in making strategic, timely, and well-informed decisions. For more than 25 years, the company has provided invaluable resources, including actionable tools and analyst guidance, to IT teams across various industries. It remains committed to producing unbiased and highly relevant research in service of its mission to ensure the delivery of measurable results for organizations.

The Future is Accessible

In the era of digital transformation, accessibility must not be an afterthought but a fundamental tenet of the digital landscape. Info-Tech’s blueprint serves as a beacon for organizations to chart their course in this significant undertaking. By embracing accessibility as an organizational directive and fostering an environment of inclusivity, businesses can strive to deliver a superior experience to all users and make a lasting impact on society.

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