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Accessibility is a niche area and not all designers and developers have accessibility knowledge. Accessibility is a requirement that needs to be incorporated into all tenders; you cannot assume that the suppliers you have chosen will automatically have the accessibility experience required to complete your project in compliance with the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.
When building a new site there are two ways to ensure that your site is built in compliance with the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines:
Unless your supplier has specifically hired an accessibility specialist to consult on the project, it is always a good idea to get the site audited by an independent accessibility professional.
When hiring developers or contracting a development company you cannot assume that they have accessibility experience even if they profess to do so. Always ask for examples of previous work and conduct audits of these sites yourself. Check for things like:
For more information on how to conduct these tests using automated testing tools see the Accessibility Evaluation tools section on page 153.
When building a site there are particular stages in the web development lifecycle where accessibility must be included; it should never be left to the end of a build. As a general rule, accessibility specialists should:
Some development companies have accessibility specialists on staff or contract out accessibility to people specialised in the area. If this is the case most of the time you will not need to hire an independent accessibility specialist to complete an audit of the site. However, in this case, there are some things you should do to ensure that the accessibility specialist hired by the development company is giving you unbiased advice:
There are sometimes instances where accessibility needs to be compromised due to other business requirements such as the use of a particular CMS or authoring tool. In these cases it is always important to liaise directly with the particular accessibility specialist to determine the best solution.
When a supplier lacks accessibility experience and has not hired an accessibility specialist to consult on your project it is important to get your site audited by an independent expert. When briefing this accessibility specialist you should clarify:
When deciding on a particular accessibility specialist you should consider:
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