Accessibility is just another part of software development. You'll save time and money if your people understand accessibility needs and build them in throughout the software development lifecycle alongside information architecture, quality coding and informative design.

These example scenarios show how people with different roles contribute to creating accessible outcomes.

James is a Delivery Manager

James needs to create an online store. Understanding the benefits of inclusive design, he wants it to be as usable as possible so people will like it and buy lots of stuff. He carefully chooses a team with the skills to make it happen, and sets up an online project management system to track end-to-end progress.

Megan is a User Experience Designer

She also recognises the benefits of inclusive design. Rather than rush headlong into design, Megan researches how people will want to use the website. James has briefed her on business needs. Her investment in 'human centred design' keeps the website simple, and steers people toward easy purchases and recommendations.

Her diligent research shows her that the shop's customers have different needs. Diverse customers include children and the elderly. Some will use a computer while others will use a portable device like a smart phone. 

Megan writes user stories and creates wireframes that accommodate all the ways people will shop online. This includes access for people with limited vision, hearing, mobility and cognitive capacity. For example, she clearly labels all interactions and demonstrates the states of complex widgets.

Joe is a Visual Designer

Joe makes websites look great! He loves the details that Megan has built into her wireframes because he can dive into creating awesome visuals. Joe chooses colours that contrast well so everyone can read them, and creates beautiful interactions that maintain Megan's carefully considered states.

His icons are simple and obvious so that all readers, even people with reading difficulties, understand what they mean. 

Megan creates a high fidelity interactive prototype using Joe's designs for further research. The findings help her tweak the way that the shop categorises its products.

Joe also creates flyers and the company's annual report, in PDF format. He has mastered making accessible PDF documents with Adobe InDesign and Acrobat Pro.

Patrick is a Developer

Patrick starts by building the website's architecture. He recreates Joe's lovely designs as the website's reusable templates. Each template is structured into navigation and content sections. He commences each content section with an accessible heading, and creates keyboard accessible, labelled interactions, such as the website's shopping cart.

He knows how important page titles, headings and text alternatives are for search engines, and makes them comprehensive, informative and unique. That way all readers can easily understand what's on a page.

Many of Joe's images and icons are informative, so Patrick adds text alternatives so everyone understands them. He knows to hide decorative, ornamental images too, which can be unnecessarily noisy for people who are blind.

The shopping cart will be highly dynamic. Product pages will selectively show and hide content in accordion and tab systems, and shopping totals update with each purchase. This is no obstacle for Patrick who can code accessible web interactions with HTML5, CSS, JavaScript and ARIA.

Patrick is a great coder but knows to validate his work against its specification, and accessibility standards.

Melissa is a Tester

Melissa tests web accessibility and functionality in sprints throughout the build process, logging issues into James's project management system for remediation. This method identifies and fixes issues before they become problems, and the site's pre-flight check is quick and easy, meaning that the shopping cart can launch on time and within budget.

Jacqui is an Editor

With the website complete, Jacqui's starts adding products to the store's Content Management System. Her role is crucial to maintain the online store's universal access, and she structures each product page is structured into headings, and images have meaningful text alternatives.

Just to be sure, she runs an accessibility check with an automated tool like the WAVE browser extension before publishing each product page. She understands it's not an exhaustive check, but it will highlight some potential pitfalls that she may have overlooked.