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Re: A11Y and Agile Methodology

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From: Tim Harshbarger
Date: Dec 22, 2016 6:55AM


I do not have any resources, but I have some experience with this issue.

When I think about the advice I would offer to others, I think the advice on integrating accessibility for both waterfall and agile methodologies would be the same. Optimally, everyone on the project team should have some level of accessibility knowledge appropriate to their role. If that is not possible, there should be at least one person integrated into the team that has a level of accessibility knowledge. Use automated accessibility testing tools as part of the build process. They can't check everything, but they can check at least some things which reduces the number of things that you might want to check manually.

I think the big difference between waterfall and agile is the timing of the feedback loops. In agile methodologies, you can have a build of the application daily or even more frequently and an implementation every 2 to 4 weeks--depending on your agile methodology. So, having that level of accessibility knowledge integrated into the team and using testing tools in your build process becomes even more essential to success.

Probably most of us are familiar with the traditional model of accessibility that frequently involves a project team throwing a UI or design specs over the wall to an accessibility expert. The expert reviews the UI or specs and tosses feedback to the team. The team then integrates the feedback into the application--hopefully. That traditional model does have the advantage that you apply the maximum level of knowledge to each UI and the expert can work on multiple UIs. But it has the problem of time because the feedback loop takes more time. It also means that you can't take maximum benefits of opportunities for accessibility because the accessibility expert typically sees things after they are completed--when the team is done making changes. You end up having to patch bad UI's with sub-optimal accessibility fixes rather than employ the optimal accessibility solution for the situation.

In waterfall, you can get away with using that traditional model or some part of it. I don't think it is really possible to use that model effectively in agile.

In agile (even more so than waterfall,) probably the best role for an accessibility expert to play is to provide resources like documentation and education on manual testing processes and other things, ensuring the frameworks and other technologies used by the project teams are as accessible as possible, and helping out with more complex accessibility issues that project team members don't have the level of accessibility knowledge to handle.

Thanks for asking such an interesting question.

Tim


-----Original Message-----
From: WebAIM-Forum [mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ] On Behalf Of JP Jamous
Sent: Wednesday, December 21, 2016 3:23 PM
To: 'WebAIM Discussion List' < <EMAIL REMOVED> >
Subject: [WebAIM] A11Y and Agile Methodology

Folks,



I need to present to project managers how A11Y should be implemented in a
waterfall and agile methodologies. Does any of you have references that
could assist me to put a presentation together? Any help would be highly
appreciated.