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Accessible Project Development, Planning to Delivery: Here’s the Playbook and Tools to Get It Done

taught by: Alexandra Dean Grossi
co-presented by: Will Scott

Session Summary

Infusing accessibility across the product delivery lifecycle requires strategic action, as well as using the necessary tools. IBM has done the research in both areas, and in this session you’ll learn about our recently announced, free offerings that help product teams with their accessibility journeys.


A clear, implementable strategy is key when product teams embark upon a journey of infusing accessibility considerations into their end-to-end development lifecycle. IBM Accessibility knows this firsthand, as enabling internal IBM teams with the guidance and tools they need to deliver accessible products has been a long-standing mission of the team.

Following years of driving the mission of product accessibility at enterprise scale within IBM, IBM Accessibility has branched out to share lessons learned, accessibility best practices and open source tools that can now benefit any product team. The launch of the IBM Equal Access Toolkit and Accessibility Checker mark a milestone in advancing IBM’s mission of promoting accessible product development, across the globe.

The Toolkit provides a framework and tools for product teams to use to embed accessibility directly into their workflow. The Toolkit also provides clear, concise guidance on what is needed at each stage of product development, from initial research through planning, design, development, verification and launch. This allows product teams to build accessible products quickly and efficiently without the need for outside consultancy. As an outcome of our product research, the Toolkit has been crafted to deliver “product phase-based guidance” about accessibility to all members of a team creating a product or service. The guidance is also arranged in a way that a user, who may be new to accessibility, can follow a guided journey to learn what needs to be done when and for each role. The Toolkit provides guidance through each stage of development, an implementable breakdown of accessibility requirements for each step, as well as automation and auditing tools for reducing accessibility to practice.

IBM Accessibility has also recently announced a completely reimagined IBM Equal Access Accessibility Checker. The Accessibility Checker is a suite of browser-based automation tools that allows developers or auditors to evaluate a web-based component or solution for accessibility issues. The Accessibility Checker has been revamped to better serve the needs of our users, boasting an all new UI, a new engine behind the scenes, and a ruleset of over 160 (and growing) rules and help guidance.

The Accessibility Checker allows teams to rapidly complete page-level testing on Chrome and Firefox browsers. It is an open source tool for web developers and auditors that utilizes IBM's accessibility rule engine, which detects accessibility issues for web pages and web applications. The extension integrates into the browsers’ development tools, providing an integrated checking experience that helps users quickly identify the source of accessibility issues and try suggested fixes. Headless test automation integrations are also available for a variety of Node-based test frameworks.

During this session, UX designer Alexandra Dean Grossi and Software architect Will Scott, will explain the user research and design that led to delivery of the Toolkit and Accessibility Checker, and share best practices for leveraging these freely available, open source offerings to infuse accessibility across the product delivery lifecycle.

Practical Skills

  • How to infuse accessibility across the product delivery lifecycle
  • Learn about the IBM Equal Access Toolkit, and "product phase-based guidance"
  • Learn about the IBM Equal Access Accessibility Checker, and related open-source tools