Accessibility Technology

IBM’s WCAG 2.0 Compliance Web-Costing Model

  • Phill Jenkins IBM Research, Human Ability and Accessibility Center
  • Dan Shire IBM Ineractive, IBM Canada

Why this presentation?  Our experience with Government of Ontario is relevant to organizations and web sites trying to estimate the costs of accessibility.

Questions that need answers:

  • What does it take to make a website accessible (from scratch)?
  • What does it take to keep it that way?
  • What are the opportunities and challenges?

Project Steps

  • Identify candidate sites and sample pages
  • Assess sample pages for accessibilty
  • Estimate cost to test, repair and maintain
  • How to apply project experiences to sites and policy

7 week timeline

Slide showing an IT project life cycle showing user-centered design.  UX, including accessibility and support for inclusive design, should be at the heart of your project – this can be integrated into every phase of the project.


  • “Most organizations take several runs at procurement before they get it right”  This is a true statement and I agree with it.
  • “How many of you work in corporate IT departments?” (several hands raise)  “Many of your colleagues in government and higher education wonder why it costs so much to make things accessible.  In those environments, you take care of the HTML and CSS and you’re done.. it costs so much more in corporate environments because those environments are very risk-averse.”  I find this characterization suspect.


  1. Look and feel:  expensive to update – design and significant coding changes.  If you get accessibility wrong, it can be broken everywhere.
  2. Content can be relatively dynamic and change frequently.  Compliance can be a problem.

How often do organizations refresh their sites?  Varies, but roughly every 3 years (evidence is highly anecdotal)

99% of businesses are small and medium sized business (less than 200 employees)

Provided a very detailed description of IBM’s analytical approach to their testing methodology, with breakdowns of costs of web accessibility remediation, with hours of effort by role…

…and it was at this point that I couldn’t take any more and walked out.  Everything they’re saying is true, but my god, I think IBM can make anything mind-numbingly boring.

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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