Accessibility Technology

Agile and Accessibility Case Study

Karl Groves @karlgroves

Agile and Accessibility:  Theory and Reality

Ceiling Cat and the SDLC (he watches you as you do waterfall project management – Google this meme…not as good as Cat-Breading, but still funny)

The further you get down the path, the less likely you are to get accessibility into the plan (if it’s not part of the plan to begin with).

The agile manifesto:  “We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it.  Through this work we have come to value…”  Go here and read it yourself:

How do agile and accessibility work together?

  • Definition of done:  do tests pass?  If yes, we’re done!
  • Inherently user focused (as a user x, I should be able to do y, so that I can accomplish z)
  • Inherently quality focused
  • Inherently collaborative (pigs and chickens story, referenced here: )
  • Tools and techniques (Test Driven Development)
  • Daily standups
  • Definition of done
  • Fortune 100 Healthcare Company, 36.5 billion, 40,000 employees
  • SDUF (Some Design Up Front), some spec work done up front
  • 95 initial renderings
  • 9 page types
  • 10 sub-page layouts
  • Slicing up designs and assets into working HTML


  • A11y team members assigned to several scrum teams
  • Development and testing
  • We deviated from the process (triple quality constraint Cost, Scope, Time)
  • We underestimated the scope and resources, untrained resources
  • Executive staff unwilling to adjust to meet evolving needs
  • Agile fall?


  • William James: A chain is no longer than its wekest link, and life is after all a chain
  • You need the knowledge and skills, or you can’t be effective
  • You CAN integrate accessibility into any process
  • Time spent up front building accessible components and patterns is good accessibility ROI (still expect to refactor); that is, the 95 initial renderings


  • One way to get accessibility win, create an accessible.css file that contains all the stuff you need
  • Develop a detailed User Interface Model up front, which helps to standardize the interaction model.
  • Ratio of accessibility members on a team:  at least one should be functioning as a SME.
  • Why can’t we standardize on a particular framework / approach?  Start contributing to those projects that have made the most progress.
  • Leonie talked briefly about the UK government’s success with their site rebuild



By Paul Schantz

CSUN Director of Web & Technology Services, Student Affairs. husband, father, gamer, part time aviator, fitness enthusiast, Apple fan, and iguana wrangler.

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