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Partially Accessible: A Conversation Within DubBot

The Global Accessibility Awareness Day logo. GAAD in blue letters against a white background in side of a blue circle with a blue keyboard at the lower right.

A few weeks ago, I was preparing for a webinar and reviewing a list of potential questions. One question, in particular, caught my attention: "Is it acceptable to release a product or website that is partially accessible?"

As I began to formulate my answer, I was also curious about the perspectives of others in the accessibility community.

So I posted the question to the #general channel on DubBot's Slack workspace and watched as the conversation began.

Everyone agreed. There are situations where launching a partially accessible website may be deemed acceptable, but this comes with certain conditions.

You better have a plan!

“My take is that nothing is ever going to be perfect so companies have to do the best that they can, and plan to improve continuously.”

“ can only do your best, but partially accessible is not an end product. It’s acceptable if it comes with a plan and commitment to improve whenever possible”

Deadlines and Encouragement

Then there was this observation, a scenario I experienced numerous times while working in higher education.

“Sometimes it is necessary in order to meet an inflexible deadline or to help encourage people who you are waiting on to produce content to get it done.”

That same colleague then added this crucial advice. 

“If you have to do it, you just have to be sure to put something in your accessibility statement acknowledging that the work is in progress.

Continuous Improvement

Any website manager, designer, or developer knows, "A good website is never finished." Technologies change, design trends change, standards change.

The same is true of accessibility. And my colleague hit that nail on the head.

“…web accessibility isn’t a light switch function. You’ll never be able to say ‘Ok, we’re accessible, don’t need to worry about that anymore.’ It’s something you have to take an active role in ensuring over the lifecycle of your website.”

Another colleague brings the point home with this.

“Accessibility should start with the development of any new website. It is a commitment that requires ongoing effort to remain up-to-date. As with the lifecycle of tangible products, a website will gain new features, authentic feel and refreshed looks over time.”

Today is Global Accessibility Awareness Day. And in keeping with the spirit of this day, I felt compelled to share this conversation with you and the two core take-aways:

  • Accessibility is not an either-or situation. With proper planning, building an accessible website is within everyone's reach and budget. “Progress over perfection.”
  • Accessibility is not something that can be completed with a single project. Accessibility necessitates continual improvement and an ongoing commitment.

I want to thank my amazing colleagues for their thoughtful commentary and insight. How wonderful it is to work with such an outstanding group of like-minded people.

From all of us at DubBot, here’s to "getting everyone talking, thinking and learning" about digital accessibility!

DubBot robot logo in blue holding a red heart.

Maggie Vaughan, CPACC
Content Marketing Practitioner