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How a design system makes accessibility requirements better

taught by: Michael Grandpre

Session Summary:

Defining accessibility requirements is a critical component to injecting accessibility into a project, especially when operating at scale across a company. Some of the most common accessibility questions revolve around how to design and code with accessibility in mind, and a well implemented design system can be extremely helpful in accomplishing this.

Description:

Defining accessibility requirements is a critical component to injecting accessibility into a project, especially when operating at scale across a company. Some of the most common accessibility questions revolve around how to design and code with accessibility in mind, and a well implemented design system can be extremely helpful in accomplishing this.

Accessibility requirements define what success looks like from an acceptance criteria perspective, but there can be a lot of nuance involved when it comes to specific experiences that are being designed by teams. This nuance is typically when the “rubber meets the road” for accessibility, and can often be the difference between success and failure for delivering an accessible application. Design systems fundamentally define a common design language, which in turn brings consistency and efficiency, both of which reduce the brittleness of not just achieving accessibility but also maintaining it.

At Visa, we’ve worked diligently to ensure that we have deep integration between our Visa Design System and our Visa Global Accessibility Requirements, and we leverage this with teams across the company to provide not only what is required to be in place for accessibility at Visa, but also a working example on how teams can leverage design system components in achieving this.

I’ve often described the relationship of our accessibility requirements and design system as “peanut butter and chocolate,” meaning that both are individually amazing, but together they create something even better! Bringing our designers, developers, and accessibility coaches into the same conversation for our design system has fundamentally shifted how we consult on accessibility, and being able to point teams to our design system for use within their specific projects has led to a growing list of very happy internal stakeholders. Similarly, our requirements benefit by being put through the paces in a number of different experiences, this “real world” perspective in turn allows for us to evolve our requirements…it’s literally a win/win.

Practical Skills:

  • Accessibility Strategy
  • Requirements Management
  • Accessibility Coaching