Accessibility diaries – Part 2

To wrap up the third month working as accessibility consultant for Italy’s top bank, I’m sharing a few things I learned.

This is the second instalment of a series, read about the first month.

Background

The Stanca Law or Disability Law (9 January 2004, n. 4) has been updated. It now applies to all public companies offering services through websites or mobile applications and have had an average turnover of 500 million euros in the past three years. The law, which scope was previously limited to public administration websites only, makes it compulsory for companies to comply with the WCAG 2.1 (Level AA) guidelines. In case of failure, the fine is up to 5% of the turnover.

Things I learned

There is a line

During the second month of my consulting job, navigating the grey zone became trickier. As requested, we tried to analyse the most complex interactions through the lens of the WCAG rules, instead of the usability lens. Some interactions, though, are convoluted and bring with them legacy issues and technical limitations; others reveal a fraught design process. Where do we draw the line?

People want to learn

We reached a point in the project where decisions are made about remediations. It’s quite exciting to see the interest increasing, as a few departments are booking workshops to spread awareness and start working with accessibility in mind.

Change can be difficult

Sometimes we can see the sunk cost fallacy1 happening before our eyes. It’s more frequent than Aurora Borealis, and much less beautiful. There can be resistance when faced with the necessity to make important changes, as money has already been spent to get to the current situation. The prospect of hefty fines doesn’t seem to make a difference either. Even though it is possible to overcome a fine, reputational damage is another problem altogether.


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