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Ensuring Digital Accessibility: Testing during the Design and Development Phases

HighEdWeb Accessibility Summit logo with the HighEdWeb logo in black with the word Accessibility in blue to the right and the word Summit below that in black.

Incorporating accessibility testing into the product development phase is a non-negotiable aspect of creating an inclusive digital experience. By identifying and addressing accessibility issues early on, businesses can save time, resources, and potential legal repercussions. 

I was very pleased to attend several sessions at this year's #A11ySummit, hosted by @HighEdWeb, where the speakers had "accessibility by design" at the top of mind.

Rob Carr of WebAIM presented Creating Accessibility Ecosystems: Institutional Scaffolding for Design and Content, where he demoed a plugin for Figma that directs and guides users to create accessible digital products and experiences during the design and development phases.

Amber Hinds, CEO of Equalize Digital, presented Key Considerations for Accessibility in WordPress Websites, a fantastic presentation for WordPress designers and developers. Ms. Hinds not only demonstrated Equalize Digital’s accessibility checker that works right inside of WordPress, but she also reiterated the importance of solid web governance, policies, and WP theme considerations all of which support and strengthen your accessibility efforts.

And finally, at the end of the day, I stopped by Mark Steadman's presentation, Practical Guide to Automated Accessibility TestingIn his presentation, Mr. Steadman walked his audience through the process of "...accessible linting, accessibility testing libraries and how to effectively include them in your end-to-end or unit test cases." I found this presentation especially interesting since it's been a while since I have been on a page, waist-deep in the code. LOL

As you can see, there are many ways to build accessibility testing directly into your design and development phases. DubBot has the Drupal Module that works right inside your Drupal environment to check accessibility as your design and develop.

With all these options available, there is no excuse for not designing and developing accessible, inclusive experiences right from the start.

Maggie Vaughan, CPACC
Content Marketing Practitioner