Skip to Main Content

Leading Accessibility with Design to Improve Agile Collaboration

taught by: Brandon McCartney

Session Summary:

At least 70% of common accessibility issues can be prevented by design but only when there is open and effective communication between design and dev throughout the development lifecycle.


Many organizations begin the accessibility journey with an audit of their existing products resulting in piles of bugs for the development team to fix. The pressure to eliminate “accessibility debt” as it has become commonly known often leads to developer fatigue and poor team morale. This often results in a user experience that is technically accessible but difficult for users in specific audiences. In this class, we will discuss some ways to shift the accessibility work toward a design first, developer second workflow to improve designer / developer communication around accessibility. Implementing these strategies in your organization, large or small, will completely change the way teams embed accessibility into development. We will begin with some of the challenges faced by development teams around accessibility and then discuss solutions for removing friction and improving communication. Next we will present a methodology for establishing a common accessibility vocabulary that can be used by designers to better communicate expectations for accessibility in their design specs, during reviews with a developer, and even earlier when discussing a new product concept.

Practical Skills:

  • Accessibility Strategy for Agile Product Teams
  • Developing a Common Accessibility Vocabulary
  • How to Add Accessibility to Design Spec


Familiarity with user interface design concepts within digital product development