I’m still very much a UX generalist, but I have a stronger interest in some areas over others. One important area for myself is accessibility. I wonder how aware your organisation/clients are with regards to accessibility, and how you go about trying to bring it more to the forefront of your colleagues/clients minds?
A recent client I worked on was an interesting case for this question. The team, in particular the developers, were very accessibility-aware.
Which of course is a good thing. Except when it is used as a reason to not embrace change. The “it’s not accessible so we can’t do it” reason was trotted out for everything from re-architecting the customer support workflow (which was so horrible that no-one used it and just rang up on the phone instead) to exploring alternatives to the very drab colour scheme that, yes, were in line with the brand guidelines, but were ugly and uninspiring.
Sorry this doesn’t answer your question particularly well.
Let me balance it with another story, from a different work environment. There was a lot of groundswell support for the company’s website to not display pop-up advertising. Most of the staff “in the trenches” knew that it hurt usability and accessibility, and cheapened the brand, but the popups also brought in a significant portion of revenue as well, so management were reluctant to remove them.
At one company-wide meeting, there was an “ask the owners” session, where staff were encouraged to ask any questions of the company owners. One of the staff asked the question, “Will you accept a foosball challenge from [the reigning office champ] whereby if [reigning champ] beats you, we can remove pop-ups from the website?” To his credit, the company owner accepted the challenge. Collectively, the entire company were stunned at the possibility that, once and for all, after all the campaigning, we would be able to rid the site of pop-ups once and for all…
Unfortunately, the company owner won the game.
That’s a great story Matt, but how upsetting that accessibility improvements are decided by the winner of a game of foosball!
I have had a few small wins in my workplace, but accessibility is always tagged on at the end, almost a bunch of checkboxes to say “This’ll do”. In my organisation we tend to have a lot of visitors over 40, so I have been able to subtly introduce some accessibility requirements into the personas, this has helped bump up font sizes, and bring in responsive web design into the organisation, but unfortunately I’m still struggling to find a good way to ensure the functional aspects are not missed off.