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Beauty Is Not Enough: A Case Study in Institutionalizing Accessibility at one of the World's Top 10 Largest Auto Makers

taught by: Alison Walden

Session Summary:

Helping a large organization change the way they work is a challenging and rewarding task. For the last two years, I have led a team that helped one of the world’s top 10 largest auto makers assess their digital experiences for accessibility and plan and execute remediation efforts. This lecture will outline the steps we took to help our client institutionalize accessibility at their organization. I’ll share what worked well and what did not, and will conclude with a list of best practices that have worked well across a variety of other clients and what has worked best at my own organization, Publicis Sapient.


  • 40 minutes - Beauty is not enough: A case study in institutionalizing accessibility at one of the world’s top 10 largest auto makers. This case study will outline the steps taken to audit and plan for the remediation of a very large, cross-brand, componentized website. This effort comprised a site-wide accessibility audit, strategies for remediation priorities, agency training, internal client training, and changing design, development, and review processes. A snapshot of accessibility compliance then and now will be shared. (“Beauty is not enough” is a popular auto brand’s tagline, and is also true when applied to web experiences).

  • 20 minutes - Institutionalizing accessibility across a large agency. Strategies for an accessibility lead to get all creative and technical disciplines thinking about accessibility, with support from project management and executive leadership. My experiences at Publicis Sapient will be shared.

  • 15 minutes - Regroup on best practices for institutionalizing accessibility at large organizations. Will include reiteration of list of recommended process changes and ideal timing and learning materials to help support cross-discipline adoption of accessibility knowledge. (Lists of processes and learning materials to be shared with participants).

  • 15 minutes - Class sharing time, where participants can share what strategies have worked (or not worked) for them to institutionalize accessibility at their organization or for their clients.

Practical Skills:

  • Proven ways to introduce and institutionalize accessibility compliance in a large organization
  • Institutionalizing accessibility within your own company
  • Cross-discipline learning materials to support institutionalization