Sanna Kramsi - I would if I could a guide to web accessibility

Define accessibility maturity with the Capability Maturity Model

The Capability Maturity Model (CMM) is a framework that helps organizations improve their software development processes. It was initially created by the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) at Carnegie Mellon University. The CMM is a five-level model that describes the maturity of an organization's software development processes, with Level 1 being the least mature and Level 5 being the most mature.

From an accessibility point of view, the CMM can be used to evaluate an organization's accessibility practices and determine its level of maturity in this area. This can help organizations identify areas where they need to improve their accessibility practices and take steps to become more accessible.

Maturity levels

Level 1: Initial

At Level 1, organizations are typically reactive and have no formal accessibility practices in place. They may be unaware of accessibility issues or may not prioritize them. At this level, there is no systematic approach to accessibility, and accessibility issues may only be addressed on an ad hoc basis.

Level 2: Policies in place

At Level 2, organizations begin to establish some formal accessibility practices. They may have a policy in place that requires accessibility compliance, and they may conduct some basic accessibility testing. However, accessibility is still not fully integrated into the organization's processes, and there may be gaps in accessibility coverage.

Level 3: Defined

At Level 3, organizations have a well-defined accessibility process that is integrated into their overall software development processes. Accessibility requirements are identified and tracked throughout the development lifecycle, and accessibility testing is conducted at multiple stages. Accessibility training is provided to relevant staff members, and accessibility metrics are tracked to measure progress.

Level 4: Managed

At Level 4, organizations have a quantitatively managed accessibility process. They have defined accessibility goals and objectives, and they use data and metrics to measure their progress toward these goals. Accessibility testing is automated where possible, and accessibility is fully integrated into the organization's software development and quality assurance processes.

Level 5: Optimizing

At Level 5, organizations have a continuously improving accessibility process. They use data and feedback to continuously refine and improve their accessibility practices. Accessibility is a key driver of innovation, and the organization is proactive in identifying and addressing accessibility issues.

Key practices

The maturity levels are reached through a commitment to key practices. There are five common features:

  1. Commitment to perform: Establish organizational policies and senior management sponsorship.
  2. Ability to perform: Resources, organizational structures, and training.
  3. Activities performed: Establishment of plans and procedures, performing and tracking work, taking corrective action as needed.
  4. Measurement and analysis: Examples of measurements for determining the status and effectiveness of the activities performed.
  5. Verifying implementation: Reviews and audits by management and quality assurance.

How to reach each of the levels?

Each of the levels can be reached by following the key practices. Here are some more specific tips for each of the levels.

Moving to Level 2

  • Establish a formal accessibility policy that requires compliance with accessibility standards and guidelines.
  • Create a baseline assessment to identify current accessibility practices and gaps.
  • Train staff on basic accessibility concepts and techniques.

Moving to Level 3

  • Develop a detailed accessibility plan that outlines the accessibility requirements, testing methods, and remediation strategies.
  • Integrate accessibility into the software development life cycle (SDLC) by defining accessibility criteria for each phase of the SDLC.
  • Conduct regular accessibility testing at multiple stages of the SDLC.
  • Establish a process to track accessibility issues and remediation efforts.
  • Provide training to staff on accessibility standards, guidelines, and techniques.

Moving to Level 4

  • Establish a data-driven approach to accessibility by defining key performance indicators (KPIs) and tracking accessibility metrics.
  • Implement automated accessibility testing tools to reduce manual effort and improve testing coverage.
  • Conduct regular accessibility audits to ensure compliance with accessibility standards and guidelines.
  • Define and implement a process for continuous improvement of accessibility practices.

Moving to Level 5

  • Create an innovation-driven approach to accessibility by promoting the use of emerging technologies and practices to improve accessibility outcomes.
  • Implement a continuous learning and improvement process that incorporates feedback from users, accessibility experts, and stakeholders.
  • Foster a culture of accessibility within the organization by providing ongoing training and awareness-raising activities.

Source material