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It's important to effectively plan prior to starting an accessibility assessment. The assessment planning documents will help determine tasks and work needed, how to approach and implement the work practically, what standards you will use, the number or resources required and how to communicate the results.

Determine the overall purpose before structuring the assessment. The purpose influences every other aspect of the assessment. For example, the purpose may be to address accessibility concerns with existing systems proactively or it could be in response to and prepare for an upcoming audit.

Follow these steps to effectively plan for the accessibility assessment:

  • Define Scope - Indicate what will be included and excluded in the assessment
  • Choose Standard - Identify the accessibility standards to use for the assessment.

  • Identify Resources - Determine the resources needed for assessment.
    • Participants & Skill Sets - Define the project team, identify skill sets and roles.
    • Sample - Determine the sample size and how to obtain the sample.

  • Follow Best Practices:
    • Determine Level of effort - Assess the level of effort for the assessment.
    • Define Error Logging - Define information needed to effectively document defects & deficiencies identified during assessment.
    • Communication Plan - Document communication strategy to effectively communicate the results of assessment.
    • Request for Additional Resources - Determine whether additional funds and/or resources are needed for the assessment effort.


Prioritization | Planning | Assessment | Remediation | Resources

Define Scope

Understand Standards and Law

Identify Resources

Participants & Skill Sets

Define the project team and determine roles. Identify participants: Developers, Enterprise Architects, Application Managers, Business Analysts, Testers and Subject Matter Experts (SME).

Assessing IT systems requires a deep understanding of accessible design principles and real-world accessibility issues. For departments with limited expertise, it is highly recommended to grow competencies within the organization to address accessibility. This can be accomplished by working with end users of assistive technology. Other alternatives include training and familiarization with standards and laws. Iif necessary, assessment services may be outsourced.

For more information, visit the DOR Website and California State University, Northridge: Center on Disabilities.

Sample Set for Assessment

Determine the sample needed, the sample size and approach. The samples should include different types of content and functions available on the system. The following should be considered:

  • Frequently accessed pages based on data collected by your analytics
    • Regularly used pages should have specific use cases to ensure thorough testing of system functionality.
    • Common and essential documentation and reports should be assessed.
  • Tables, structured content (content with headings and/or sections), forms, images, different user interface controls such as tab interfaces and expanding menus, frames, multimedia (audio or video), and content that moves or changes with time or by user action
    • Identify how different content is tested and evaluated to ensure accessibility.
    • For example: all images should have their "alternative text" descriptions validated.
      • The "alternative text" should be accurate, and not redundant.

Additional Funding or Resources

If it is determined available resources are not enough to support the assessment and remediation process, departments may want to consider hiring or contracting additional resources. Some departments have found it beneficial to have a dedicated usability and accessibility team to ensure both aspects are continuously addressed for critical systems. If that route is to be taken, start by assessing the funding needs and determine whether a BCP is required. Follow the BCP process to request funding to perform the assessment. Review the guidelines set by the governing agency and/or Department of Finance (DOF) regarding the BCP process.

Follow Best Practices