Digital Accessibility (DA) has been an interest of mine for over 30 years. Attending the John Slatin AccessU conference in 2006 started my education on the laws, processes, and requirements for creating digitally accessible products. Since then, I have collaborated and worked with various teams and organizations that were focused on establishing DA compliance for their products.
The following are three of such cases, and my accomplishments.
Case 1 – Oracle Communications
In 2012, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced a mandate for all consumer facing websites to be digitally accessible by the end of 2015. The Oracle organization took active steps in creating and providing training for their employees. The DA team in charge of this task, travelled to different locations around the world to train the Oracle teams.
At this time, I was employed by the Oracle Communication (OC) branch, at Frisco, TX. I was the UX Designer who oversaw the UX needs of six Communications applications, that were mostly located remotely. Thus, the DA team from the headquarters had no plans to visit OC.
Subsequently, with the support of the senior Director’s I pursued with organizing introduction of DA for our product teams. The trainings begun with a high-level introduction of DA, using mostly the videos provided by the headquarters’ DA office, and included a demonstration of how a person with low vision views and uses a website. These trainings sessions continued for several weeks. I continued to collaborate with all six product teams to help them understand the needs and the requirements.
I provided status charts and help the leadership of the OC branch have visibility into the progress their product teams made on a quarterly basis. By March of 2013, all six products that I was working with had clear DA requirements in their plans and were providing updates on regular basis during the development process.
Case 2 – Sabre
The Department of Transportation (DOT) extended DOJ’s mandate for DA compliance by six months for all travel sites. However, this extension came with a heavy penalty of $25K/day for any site that did not comply by the end of June 2016 deadline.
In 2015, while working as a Principal Designer for the UX team, I was asked to become the Single Point of Contact (SPOC) for Digital Accessibility (DA). This assignment was made based on my knowledge and experience of DA. My first task was to created a plan with specific goals to present to the UX Leadership. I also began preparing training material.
In 2016, I had drafted the DA policy for the organization, as well as the detailed Process, and the Program documents that were reviewed and revised by the Legal team for final approval and distribution. These documents helped the product teams understand what to do, and when. I provided training catered to specific audience at various levels of the organization, from the Executives to Designers and Developers. I continued these trainings until I left Sabre in April 2020. I also began auditing Sabre applications and provided reports and guidelines to meet DA compliance.
The goal was to get an Executive member of the leadership to endorse this program which was underway, in order to assist the product teams with budgeting concerns. That goal was achieved late 2019 when the General Council endorsed this program. Along with the UX Leadership, we presented the Program to the President and the rest of the Executive team for their knowledge and support. This program continues strong at Sabre.
Case 3 – ICE Mortgage Technology, Inc.
ICE Mortgage Technology (ICE MT) was my first client as a consultant. This project lasted 13 months – beginning December 2019 through end of December 2020.
As a consultant, I helped establish a knowledge base for the UX team with proper definitions, references, and tools for the team’s daily use. I consulted with the Leadership when necessary, and provided training and consultation for the UX team frequently. My efforts also included auditing 11 applications, as well as auditing the controls and components of their Design System.
The audits also were used to create VPATs for these applications. Based on the information collected from these audits and VPATs, the VP of the UX team was able to gain the support of her leadership for a fulltime employment of a DA Specialist. I assisted her with the interviews of the candidates, as well as the onboarding of the new employee.