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Initiate Digital Accessibility for IT

Make accessibility accessible.

  • Determining IT requirements (legal and business needs) is overwhelming.
  • Prioritizing people in the process is often overlooked.
  • Mandating changes instead of motivating change isn’t sustainable.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • Compliance is the minimum; the people and behavior changes are the harder part and have the largest impact on accessibility. Preparing for and building awareness of the reasons for accessibility makes the necessary behavior changes easier. Communicate, communicate, and communicate some more.
  • Accessibility is a practice, not a project. Therefore, accessibility is an organizational initiative, however, IT support is critical. Use change management theory to guide the new behaviors, processes, and thinking to adopt accessibility beyond compliance. Determining where to start is challenging, the tendency is to start with tech or compliance, however, starting with the people is key. It must be culture.
  • Think about accessibility like you think about IT security. Use IT security concepts that you and your team are already familiar with to initiate the accessibility program.

Impact and Result

  • Take away the overwhelm that many feel when they hear ‘accessibility’ and make the steps for your organization approachable.
  • Clearly communicate why accessibility is critical and how it supports the organization’s key objectives and initiatives.
  • Understand your current state related to accessibility and identify areas for key initiatives to become part of the IT strategic roadmap.
  • Build your accessibility plan while prioritizing the necessary culture change
  • Use change management and communication practices to elicit the behavior shift needed to sustain accessibility.

Initiate Digital Accessibility for IT Research & Tools

1. Initiate Digital Accessibility for IT – Use this blueprint to narrow down the requirements for your organization and team while also clearly communicating why accessibility is critical and how it supports the organization’s key objectives and initiatives.

A step-by-step approach to walk you through understanding the IT accessibility compliance requirements, building your roadmap, and communicating with your department. This storyboard will help you figure out what’s needed from IT to support the business and launch accessibility with your team.

2. IT Manager Meeting Template – A clear, concise, and compelling communication to introduce accessibility for your organization to IT managers and to facilitate their participation in building the roadmap.

Accessibility compliance can be overwhelming at first. Use this template to simplify the requirements for the IT managers and build out a roadmap.

3. Accessibility Compliance Tracking Tool – This tool helps to decrease the overwhelm of accessibility compliance. Narrow down the list of controls needed to the ones that apply to your organization and to IT.

Using the EN 301 549 V3.2.1 (2021-03) as a basis for digital accessibility conformance. Use this tool to build a priorities list of requirements that are applicable to your organization.

4. Departmental Meeting Template – Cascade your communication down to the IT department with this facilitation guide for introducing accessibility and the roadmap to the entire IT team.

Use this pre-built slide deck to customize your accessibility communication to the IT department. It will help you build a shared vision for accessibility, a current state picture, and plans to build to the target future state.

Initiate Digital Accessibility For IT

Make accessibility accessible.


Analyst Perspective

Accessibility is a practice, not a project.

Accessibility is an organizational directive; however, IT plays a fundamental role in its success. As business partners require support and expertise to assist with their accessibility requirements IT needs to be ready to respond. Even if your organization hasn't fully committed to an accessibility standard, you can proactively get ready by planting the seeds to change the culture. By building understanding and awareness of the significant impact technology has on accessibility, you can start to change behaviors.

Implementing an accessibility program requires many considerations: legal requirements; international guidelines, such as Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG); training for staff; ongoing improvement; and collaborating with accessibility experts and people with disabilities. It can be overwhelming to know where to start. The tendency is to start with compliance, which is a fantastic first step. For a sustained program use, change management practices are needed to change behaviors and build inclusion for people with disabilities.

15% of the world's population identify as having some form of a disability (not including others that are impacted, e.g. caretakers, family). Why would anyone want to alienate over 1.1 billion people?

This is a picture of Heather Leier-Murray

Heather Leier-Murray
Senior Research Analyst, People & Leadership
Info-Tech Research Group

Disability is part of being human

Merriam-Webster defines disability as a "physical, mental, cognitive, or developmental condition that impairs, interferes with, or limits a person's ability to engage in certain tasks or actions or participate in typical daily activities and interactions."(1)

The World Health Organization points out that a crucial part of the definition of disability is that it's not just a health problem, but the environment impacts the experience and extent of disability. Inaccessibility creates barriers for full participation in society.(2)

The likelihood of you experiencing a disability at some point in your life is very high, whether a physical or mental disability, seen or unseen, temporary or permanent, severe or mild.(2)

Many people acquire disabilities as they age yet may not identify as "a person with a disability."3 Where life expectancies are over 70 years of age, 11.5% of life is spent living with a disability. (4)

"Extreme personalization is becoming the primary difference in business success, and everyone wants to be a stakeholder in a company that provides processes, products, and services to employees and customers with equitable, person-centered experiences and allows for full participation where no one is left out."
– Paudie Healy, CEO, Universal Access

(1.) Merriam-Webster
(2.) World Health Organization, 2022
(3.) Digital Leaders, as cited in WAI, 2018
(4.) Disabled World, as cited in WAI, 2018

Executive Summary

Your Challenge

You know the push for accessibility is coming in your organization. You might even have a program started or approval to build one. But you're not sure if you and your team are ready to support and enable the organization on its accessibility journey.

Common Obstacles

Understanding where to start, where accessibility lives, and if or when you're done can be overwhelmingly difficult. Accessibility is an organizational initiative that IT enables; being able to support the organization requires a level of understanding of common obstacles.

  • Determining IT requirements (legal and business needs) is overwhelming.
  • Prioritizing people in the process is often overlooked.
  • Mandating changes instead of motivating change isn't sustainable.

Info-Tech's Approach

Prepare your people for accessibility and inclusion, even if your organization doesn't have a formal standard yet. Take your accessibility from mandate to movement, i.e. from Phase 1 - focused on compliance to Phase 2 - driven by experience for sustained change.

  • Use this blueprint to build your accessibility plan while prioritizing the necessary culture change.
  • Use change management and communication practices to elicit the behavior shift needed to sustain accessibility.

Info-Tech Insight

Accessibility is a practice, not a project. Therefore, accessibility is an organizational initiative; however, IT support is critical. Use change management theory to guide the new behaviors, processes, and thinking to adopt accessibility beyond compliance. Determining where to start is challenging because the tendency is to start with tech or compliance; however, starting with the people is key. It must be a change in organizational culture.

Your challenge

This research is designed to help IT leaders who are looking to:

  • Determine accessibility requirements of IT based on the business' needs and priorities, and the existing standards and regulations.
  • Prepare the IT leaders to implement and sustain accessibility and prepare for the behavior shift that is necessary.
  • Build the plan for IT as it pertains to accessibility, including a list of business needs and priorities, and prioritization of accessibility initiatives that IT is responsible for.
  • Ensure that accessibility is sustained in the IT department by following phase 2 of this blueprint on using change management and communication to impact behavior and change the culture.

90% of companies claim to prioritize diversity.
Source: Harvard Business Review, 2020

Over 30% of those that claim to prioritize diversity are focused on compliance.
Source: Harvard Business Review, 2022

Accessibility is an organizational initiative

Is IT ready and capable to enable it?

  • With increasing rates of lawsuits related to digital accessibility, more organizations are prioritizing initiatives to support increased accessibility. About 68% of Applause's survey respondents indicated that digital accessibility is a higher priority for their organization than it was last year.
  • This increase in priority will trickle into IT's tasks – get ahead and start working toward accessibility proactively so you're ready when business requests start coming in.

A survey of nearly 1,800 respondents conducted by Applause found that:

  • 79% of respondents rated digital accessibility either a top priority or important for their organizations.
  • 42% of respondents indicated they have limited or no in-house expertise or resources to test accessibility.
    Source: Business Wire, May 2022

How organizations prioritize digital accessibility

  • 43% rated accessibility as a top priority.
  • 36% rated accessibility as important.
  • Fewer than 5% rated accessibility as either low priority or not even on the radar.
  • More than 65% agreed or strongly agreed that accessibility is a higher priority than last year.

Source: Angel Business Communications, 2022

Why organizations address accessibility

Top three reasons:

  1. 61% To comply with laws
  2. 62% To provide the best user experience
  3. 78% To include people with disabilities
    Source: Level Access, 2022

Still, most businesses aren't meeting compliance standards. Even though legislation has been in place for over 30 years, a 2022 study by WebAIM of 1,000,000 homepages returned a 96.8% WCAG 2.0 failure rate.

Source: Institute for Disability Research, Policy, and Practice, 2022

Info-Tech's approach to Initiate Digital Accessibility

An image of the Business Case for Accessibility

The Info-Tech difference:

  1. Phase 1 of this blueprint gets you started and helps you build a plan to get you to the initial compliance driven maturity level. It's focused more on standards and regulations than on the user and employee experience.
  2. Phase 2 takes you further in maturity and helps you become experience driven in your efforts. It focuses on building your accessibility maturity into the developing, defined, and managed levels, as well as balancing mandate and movement of the accessibility maturity continuum.

Determining conformance seems overwhelming

Unfortunately, it's the easier part.

  • Focus on local regulations and what corporate leaders are setting as accessibility standards for the organization. This will narrow down the scope of what compliance looks like for your team.
  • Look to best practices like WCAG guidelines to ensure digital assets are accessible and usable for all users. WCAG's international guideline outlines principles that can also aid in scoping.
  • In phase 1 of this blueprint, use the Accessibility Compliance Tracking Toolto prioritize criteria and legislation for which IT is responsible.
  • Engage with business partners and other areas of the organization to figure out what is needed from IT. Accessibility is an organizational initiative; it shouldn't be on IT to figure it all out. Determine what your team is specifically responsible for before tackling it all.

Make accessibility accessible.

About Info-Tech

Info-Tech Research Group is the world’s fastest-growing information technology research and advisory company, proudly serving over 30,000 IT professionals.

We produce unbiased and highly relevant research to help CIOs and IT leaders make strategic, timely, and well-informed decisions. We partner closely with IT teams to provide everything they need, from actionable tools to analyst guidance, ensuring they deliver measurable results for their organizations.

What Is a Blueprint?

A blueprint is designed to be a roadmap, containing a methodology and the tools and templates you need to solve your IT problems.

Each blueprint can be accompanied by a Guided Implementation that provides you access to our world-class analysts to help you get through the project.

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Get the help you need in this 2-phase advisory process. You'll receive 8 touchpoints with our researchers, all included in your membership.

Guided Implementation 1: Planning IT’s Accessibility Requirements.
  • Call 1: Discuss motivation for the initiative and foundational knowledge requirements.
  • Call 2: Discuss stakeholder analysis and business needs of IT.
  • Call 3: Identify current maturity and IT accountabilities.
  • Call 4: Discuss introduction to senior IT leaders and drivers.
  • Call 5: Discuss manager meeting outline and slides.

Guided Implementation 2: Change Enablement for Accessibility.
  • Call 1: Review key messages and next steps to prepare for departmental meeting.
  • Call 2: Discuss post-meetings next steps and timelines.
  • Call 3: Review sustainment plan and plan next steps.


Heather Leier-Murray


  • Fleur Gervais, Manager Accessibility and Adaptive Technology Program, Canada Border Services Agency
  • Paudie Healy, CEO, Universal Access
  • Cam Beaudoin, Owner, Accelerated Accessibility
  • Clive Loseby, Access By Design
  • Fraser Shein, Founder and CEO, Quillsoft
  • Jose Velasco, Program Director & Autism at Work Ambassador, SAP
  • Jordyn Zimmerman, Director of Professional Development, The Nora Project
  • Hector Osborne Rodriguez, Sr. Manager – Front End Development, Web Accessibility Lead
  • Cinnamon Clark, Practice Lead, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Services, McLean & Company
  • Liam Nickerson, Vice President, Creative, Info-Tech Research Group
  • Ilana Schwartz, UX Director, Info-Tech Research Group
  • Baird Miller, Senior Executive Counselor, Info-Tech Research Group
  • Jessica Blackwood, Accessible Media Specialist, McMaster University
  • Kate Brown, Equity & Inclusion Officer, McMaster University
  • 2 anonymous contributors
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