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Fostering A Culture Of Accessibility: Resources And Processes For Implementing A Sustainable Accessibility Program

taught by: An Zheng

co-presented by: Karli Yeoman

Session Summary:

Are you looking to build up your own accessibility program? The Expedia Accessibility Team will be sharing lessons learned and best practices for how they have developed an Accessibility Program. During this session we will cover several approaches, techniques, resources, and strategies to foster a corporate culture of accessibility and to integrate accessibility best practices in your product development lifecycle. Attendees will learn about the specific processes and receive resources required to establish a robust, proactive, and sustainable accessibility program

Description:

Since 2014, Expedia’s Accessibility Team has worked to be an industry leader in delivering an equal experience to our customers and fostering a corporate culture where disability is seen as a valuable form of diversity. During this 90 minute presentation, we will share how Expedia has delivered a delightful customer experience for all users by:

  1. fostering a corporate culture of accessibility and
  2. integrating accessibility best practices throughout the product development lifecycle

In order to foster a culture of accessibility and to raise awareness on the need to include people with disabilities in all aspects of Expedia’s business, the Accessibility Team hosts company-wide engagement events to drive awareness, educate Expedians about accessibility best practices, and celebrate program milestones. This course will cover Expedia’s business case for accessibility and the change management techniques (e.g., senior level buy-in, engagement activities, etc) that are required to successfully shift the culture.

In addition to culture change, processes need to be in place for us to integrate accessibility throughout our product development lifecycle, from inception to testing, so that all stakeholders recognize their role in creating an accessible product. Historically, many companies have only considered accessibility requirements at the end of the product development lifecycle as a testing function, which fundamentally places the organization at a disadvantage. This approach means that inaccessible code is pushed to the live site, delivering an unequal customer experience and placing the company at significant legal risk. In reality, Product Owners, UX Designers, and Developers should incorporate accessibility considerations as part of BAU.

We will dive into the specifics of how Expedia has successfully and continues to integrate accessibility best practices throughout the product development lifecycle, from ideation to testing. We will cover our extensive Guild Network, which has been an instrumental tool in successfully implementing organizational wide change on a global scale. The course will also cover our testing strategy and approach to maintaining the accessibility of our live site. We will also share how we are working to empower product teams to own manual and automated accessibility testing as part of BAU through a series of online trainings and practice activities to identify the most common accessibility issues.

We will wrap up the course by reviewing our Expedia Accessibility Guidelines, which is based off of WCAG 2.1 guidelines, and includes a simple set of requirements and examples that allow designers, developers, and testers to create accessible products. The resources and processes we share are intended to help all companies develop and maintain a robust, proactive, and sustainable accessibility program

Practical Skills:

  • Understanding of the key elements needed to organize, plan and implement an accessibility program
  • Understanding the testing strategy for effectively assessing the accessibility of your site
  • Understanding how to be proactive and empower your developers to own accessibility as part of BAU