Designing Accessible Applications
We consider "accessibility" to be the “usability of a product, service environment or facility by people with the widest range of capabilities”. Our goal is to develop software systems that are as inclusive as possible. To achieve this this we need to specify accessibilty requirements at the outset and have a method of documenting and auditing the accessibility of a product.
Our approach is based on the following principles:
- Accessibility needs to be designed in rather than bolted-on. Accessibility requirements should be part of the product specification.
- Recognised accessibility standards (e.g. WCAG 2.1) provide an excellent foundation on which to build accessible applications, but user-perspectives are required in order to move beyond technical-accessibility.
- To validate accessibility we need to define user requirements along with product workflows. Testing then involves working through the applications with different user perspectives.
- Accessibility needs to be maintained as part of the product's lifecycle.