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Accessibility Implementation Toolkit

Find tools, templates and sample plans to help your agency get started.


Overview

Accessibility planning for an organization follows a standard strategic planning process. In general, you will need to develop:

  • A shared vision for accessibility
  • A baseline of your current accessibility situation
  • Objectives and timelines based on your vision and current baseline
  • Accessibility Implementation Plans
  • Metrics to measure your progress

If you intentionally build accessibility into your business practices and train your staff, you will be well on the way to meeting the State of Minnesota Accessibility standards. The tools, templates, and samples outlined in the Resource section will guide you through the process.


Did you know?

When you build accessibility in from the beginning, it saves time and money in the long run.

 
 

Getting Started


Implementing accessibility is an organizational change effort. As in all change initiatives thoughtful planning will improve the likelihood of success.

Although there are many ways to approach agency accessibility, the Implementation Toolkit with its tools, documents, and samples is provided to jump start the process. As a starting point, establish accountability for the accessibility implementation effort, by identifying an individual to serve as an accessibility coordinator to plan and oversee a comprehensive accessibility implementation effort. Further, assigning a cross-functional team to develop a plan improves the chances of success by incorporating a range of stakeholder views and experience.

The IT Accessibility Implementation Guidance document provides background and a high-level framework for planning a successful agency accessibility implementation. This work starts with creating a vision, documenting the current state, developing objectives and action plans, and finally implementation and metrics to measure your progress.
Agency leaders, accessibility coordinators, and accessibility planning team members will benefit from the information in this document.

 
 

Baseline Assessments

The purpose of this analysis is to understand the current state of accessibility at your agency. To help you do this, OET has developed the Accessibility Inventory Workbook. The workbook is simply a tool designed to focus data collection, identify questions that need to be considered, and document plans for future changes. The Accessibility Inventory Workbook guides you through the types of data to collect and questions to consider while analyzing the present-state of accessibility for the following categories:

  • Web site, including electronic documents, video and multi-media
  • Software applications, including internal and public-facing applications
  • IT products that are compliant with accessibility standards

The following documents and tools will help you create a current baseline for accessibility:

 
 

Exceptions


Exceptions were established both in the enabling legislation and through the IT Accessibility Standards vetting process. All agencies should document any exceptions identified during the baseline assessment. The Enterprise Architecture Office reviews and comments on exceptions claimed by state agencies; however, final approval of accessibility exceptions rests with individual agencies.

The primary exception will be the “pre-effective date exception”. The Accessibility Inventory Workbook helps focus the different exceptions that would likely apply for a given IT-type. The workbook also raises questions about accommodations to provide if an exception applies, and a place to record future steps for each item.

The following documents will help you identify and document accessibility exceptions:

 
 

Create a Plan

The purpose of an accessibility implementation plan is to outline priorities, goals, and actionable steps the agency needs to take in order to become an accessible organization. The process of assessing the current state of accessibility for your agency’s IT and documenting exceptions provides you with three categories:

  1. IT that meets accessibility standards
  2. IT that is exempted from the standards
  3. IT that is not accessible and needs to be made accessible

The last category is the primary focus of the plan. However, the plan also needs to address what policies, training, processes, and communications needs to be put in place to assure that accessibility is built into your agency’s IT going forward. Closing the gap between the current state and the desired state as defined in your vision statement is the essence of your agency’s accessibility implementation planning.

The following documents will help you with developing an agency accessibility implementation plan:

 
 

Resources


How to develop an accessibility implementation plan

The best way to start this process is to understand your situation and develop a plan to transition your agency towards accessibility. The following resources will help you through the process of developing a plan.


Implementing the plans

As policy and process changes become effective and more staff become trained on what they need to do, accessibility will become part of your agency’s normal business practices. The following links include resources to help you train your staff: