Accessibility Technology

Scaling Web Accessibility from Specialist Niche to Business-as-Usual

Presenter:  Jonathan Hassell from Hassell Inclusion


This was my second session at the CSUN conference on Thursday, March 5.  Jonathan spent some time talking about himself and his many awards and accomplishments, notably the UK accessibility standards, BS8878.  People in attendance received a copy of the first chapter of his new book, which is on sale for $50 here at the conference.

The Good News:  You’re in Demand

  • Large companies are taking accessibility seriously and are having trouble finding the right people to hire
  • Companies are looking for people “with the right skill sets”

What are the right skill sets?  What to do?

  • Technologies of course (WCAG 2.0, WAI-ARIA, etc.)
  • But the bad news is that nobody makes it on their own
  • You spent time learning good stuff, brought value to the organization, but maybe you’re not having the impact you want to have.  What to do?
  • Engage everybody in your organization.  You have to build the internal ecosystem.
  • Doing it all yourself will burn you out, which is bad for you and your organization
  • Know how to make collaboration successful
  • Prepare for your exit – the organization must be able to succeed without you


  • What is it that YOU want?
  • Who needs to be motivated for you to get what you want?
  • How will you convince them to spend time on accessibility rather than something else?
  • Convert the guy at the top, or everyone
  • Winning is good
  • Choose your emphasis depending on what your organization does
  • Work out what to say to who


  • Do staff and policies facilitate or inhibit accessibility?
  • You need strategy people batting for you, and they need to be effective delegators
  • Who is responsible for accessibility?
  • Split responsibilities up by job roles
  • Train people for their responsibilities, not everyone else’s
  • Train for things that don’t change, outsource advice on edge cases
  • Keep QA in-house, use external auditors
  • Don’t get too dependent on externals
  • Organizational web accessibility policy should be part-and-parcel of key policies (not it’s own standalone document – which nobody will read anyway)
  • Start with what is most strategically valuable
  • Governance needs to apply to all channels that you’re using
  • Categorize what’s most important to you and your users; how easy will it be to make them accessible.  Concentrate on enablers and pillars.
  • Be relaxed with innovators
  • Benchmark:  where you are, where you want to be, costs/benefits of getting there.  Where will you get the most value for money


  • Fix problems in your process; compliance is not sustainable!
  • Process needs to allow you to efficiently deliver product; also needs to be flexible, cost efficient
  • Effort and testing are often overlooked/underestimated in planning


  • Keep things going by capturing ROI
  • Leave a legacy by proving the worth of the work
  • Difficult to prove the value of the premium until you file a claim
  • Get good press coverage, it’s worth a LOT
  • Ability to recruit a diverse work force
  • Minimize customer complaints (make evangelists, not complainants)
  • Start counting:  analytics matters!



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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