Accessibility diaries – Part 3

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 second 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

Not just a checklist

Despite the previous request to analyse the issues through the lens of the WCAG rules, instead of the usability lens, many design remediations fixed the latter. It confirms that accessibility is not merely about a checklist and how many items we get to cross off. Good usability and user experience play a big part in how accessible a digital product is.

We hit many walls while trying to find accessible solutions to convoluted and unusable interactions:

  • Marketing
  • Business
  • Technical

Making a product accessible requires a change in mindset. Accessibility needs to be considered at the beginning of the design process, as remediations are trickier and more expensive afterwards. Every department needs to understand its importance, and everyone needs to be able to make bold decisions.

Plot twist

On 21 December we’ve been told that budget is tight: my colleague and I won’t be continuing on the project in the new year. While the project will go on, consultancy over design issues and how to fix them will end.

I knew my contract was going to end within the year but, as a renewal was in the air, this announcement felt like it came out of the blue.

What’s next

My interest for accessibility was never tied to a single project. I will continue studying and practising the subject as deeply as I can. At the moment, I’m finishing the course Introduction to Accessibility on edX.

While there will be more to come on my blog, it’s a wrap on the Accessibility Diaries series.


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