Accessibility Atlas

Roadmapping Accessibility Operations


Oct 31, 2023
9:00 am
4:30 pm
InterContinental San Francisco

Accessibility seems like it should be simple - hire a few people to check your code and keep building, right?

Unfortunately, this way of working is extremely inefficient and costly. You also end up with bottlenecked teams and burned-out accessibility specialists. The most successful companies are embarking on Accessibility Operations and auditing their design systems for simplicity and accessibility.

We’ll examine the priorities to focus on to grow and upskill your team, create advocates, explore scalability and maturity models, and explore how design systems can be a powerful tool for jumpstarting accessibility.

Implementing accessibility at a design system and design operations level is a huge return on investment. Design is uniquely positioned to help organizations create awareness campaigns through design systems and documentation.

Whether in pre-accessibility transformation or wondering what comes next after finishing accessibility boot camp, you need an atlas to a scalable and sustainable practice. We will use maturity models to assess your organization, plan a roadmap, and align accessibility metrics to your organization's objectives and key results. We will also discuss how to roll out organizational requirements for third-party content and vendor integrations. 

In the second half of the day, we will dive deep into how to audit design systems. We will focus and simplify so that you and your cross-functional partners can turn large, insurmountable full-website remediations into smaller, more manageable issues that fit in an Agile workflow. We’ll also discuss the right amount of code for product owners and designers to be familiar with to build accessibility solutions.

What you’ll learn:

Accessibility Operations:

  • Create a hype campaign around accessibility
  • Prioritize issues on your accessibility journey
  • Roadmap your team’s or organization’s projected accessibility journey (great deliverable to show your boss as a return on your attendance!)
  • Survey your team’s accessibility literacy and comfortability (with swipe files to help out)
  • Talking points for your leadership team to assess commitment to effort, time, and funds to increase organizational accessibility
  • What to measure, ways to measure it, and when to start measuring it
  • Tips to prevent burnout and create a safe environment for people to learn and share with each other
  • Tailor an accessibility approach for each department using research methods and helping people stick to their scope with customized guidelines
  • Hills to die on: when to stand your ground and when to iterate
  • Third-party content and vendor agreements

Design System Audits:

  • A 30-60-90 plan for a better, more efficient, accessible design system
  • Use design systems documentation to leverage human strengths and reduce friction for teammates who are new to accessibility or your design system
  • Create pattern-based workflows
  • Create governance and guidance for the whole team, including contribution and new component guidelines
  • Tools for automated and manual accessibility testing
  • Helpful frameworks for reporting findings

This workshop will not:

  • Teach you to code
  • Teach you about disability history or deep dive into assistive technology
  • Convince you that accessibility matters (we assume you’re already interested and convinced!)

Who should attend:

This workshop is geared toward cross-functional senior contributors, Des/Dev Ops, product owners and managers, and system architects. You’ll get the most benefit from this workshop if you have some familiarity with design systems and you don’t have formal accessibility governance. This workshop is meant to teach planning and program management skills, as well as zooming in on technical finesse in accessible and simple design systems. There will be plenty of resources shared to upskill your teams and your own technical knowledge.

What Hardware/Software Do You Need?

A laptop to access workshop materials - we’ll be using Google Suite for workshop materials and takeaways, FigJam for classroom activities, and your favorite web browser to look at design systems together.

About your facilitator: 

Soren has 20 years of experience in web design, more than 10 years of background in user experience, and seven years of accessibility design experience. They have worked as a freelancer, contract in-house, full-time at B2B and B2C orgs, and as a consultant to NPOs, small business, and Fortune 500 companies. Clients include JPMorgan Chase, E*Trade, the Software Engineering Directorate at the Department of Defense, FinTech startups, InVision, MRM//McCann, Wunderman Thompson, Jack: an Inclusive Design Agency, Verizon, Square, Waymo, Nike, Bank of America, IPC, Insight Partners, Honeywell, and the United States Marine Corps. 

For the last few years, they have been building accessibility ops, design ops and design systems from the ground up at Benjamin Moore, working on B2B and B2C solutions and managing a team of designers championing accessibility. They also are pursuing an MA in Disability Studies. 

As a disabled, queer, neurodivergent designer, Soren leverages their academic, lived, and professional experience to build inclusive and accessible products. Soren is a maintainer and contributor on several open source projects, including The A11y Project, and has written and been an interviewed expert on accessibility, LGBTQIA+ inclusion, and UX design. They are an editor for an upcoming book on Accessibility for Designers and are writing a book on Accessibility Operations. 

Sketch Notes

Accessibility Atlas