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Accessible Engineering: Impact Map

My approach to helping teams make more accessible products changes over time. Here’s where my focus is at the moment.

Impact Maps, in general

Quick aside: impact maps. They’re great! Roughly speaking, they’re mind maps that go Goal, Actor, Impact, Deliverable, Measurable. Or, if you prefer: Why, Who, How, What, Check.

My Impact Map

  • An accessible product
    • Engineers
      • Think more broadly.
        • Use clear, task-oriented, language.
          • Every accessibility ticket includes Functional Categories and/or user tasks instead of generic “for accessibility”.
        • Consider what’s between the human and the UI.
          • Ticket discussions include variations of Auditory, Cognitive, Physical, Visual Functional Categories.
      • Under-engineer more often.
        • Understand ARIA. Know the Rules of ARIA.
          • Uses of ARIA are replaced by HTML wherever possible.
        • Understand the accessibility tree.
          • Check the name, role, value, of interactive elements.
      • Do more a11y testing, lightly.
        • Do regular QACs.
          • At least one QAC per sprint, per team.
        • Add axe in tests. (In particular in End-to-end and Integration tests.)
          • Every repo has at least one axe test.
    • Me
      • Focus more on solutions, less on problems.
        • In audits.
          • Every audit issue has a very detailed “how to fix it”.
        • In support.
          • Every thread focuses on the benefits and outcomes of the fix.
      • Encourage more (accessiblity) champion-like behaviours.
        • Refer people to other people who’ve solved this.
          • Every question links back to a similar question.
        • Ask them to speak at community events (not just Accessibility ones).
          • Asked one person a week about talking (Not everyone will say yes!).
      • Acknowledge and appreciate people’s efforts more often.
        • In support threads.
          • Every thread has acknowledgement and appreciation of the effort.
        • In audit follow-ups.
          • Every audit follow-up meeting has acknowledgement and appreciation the effort.