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Guidance for managers on accessibility issues

FOR OPERATIONAL MANAGERS IN PARTICULAR, BUT ALSO EMPLOYEES.

As a manager, you are responsible for making your organisation’s websites and digital systems accessible. It can be both time-consuming and resource-intensive to continuously work on web accessibility. The following is a guide containing important questions to reflect upon together with your employees.

Why should we work on web accessibility?

  • To adhere to the law. Lund University's websites are covered by the law on accessibility to digital public service (EU Web Directive), which requires both technology and content to be accessible.
  • This is to increase digital accessibility for all users, including people with disabilities.

Watch LU's introductory film about web accessibility (in Swedish)

Read more about the law – LU’s guide to web accessibility

What web content is your organisation responsible for? 

It is important for you as a manager to keep track of which websites and digital systems your organisation is responsible for, and which parts of this content are covered by the legal requirements for accessibility. You should therefore review the following carefully:

  • Which websites?
  • Which digital systems?
  • Which documents?
  • Which films?
  • Which audio files/ podcasts?
  • What other aspects?

What can be cleared out from the current web content?

  • Too many websites - internal/external?   
  • Are there any that are no longer needed?
  • Too many systems?
  • System overlap?
  • Are there any systems that need to be phased out?
  • Obsolete documents and other content that can be destroyed?

Please observe that some content may be worth retaining for the future, please contact an archivist if you are unsure.

Make an inventory of your web content - tips in LU's web accessibility guide

What does the web organisation look like?

  • What form does your work take (e.g. working group)?
  • Are there clear roles for who does what? (e.g. web publisher, webmaster, expert)?
  • How many publishers do you have and what is the scope of the role (e.g. 10 per cent for web-related work)?
  • What level of knowledge do your employees have concerning web accessibility?

What resources should be added?

  • Think about who/what will make the accessibility adjustments at your organisation. 
  • Should they have time allocated for this in their roles? 
  • Are resources needed to develop skills surrounding accessibility?
  • Does new software need to be acquired, e.g. is Adobe Acrobat Pro required to make digital documents accessible?
  • How are you going to establish work processes for web accessibility initiatives that are sustainable in the long term?

How long will this take?

Adapting new web content to make it accessible should not be seen as a one-off, major project that can be ticked off; instead it needs to become a natural, continuous work duty. However, in the case of older, already published content on your organisation's websites, a major one-off effort is required for the content to meet the new legal requirements. How long this effort takes depends on aspects such as:

  • The number of websites
  • The state and complexity of the webpages
  • Have the pages recently been updated?
  • Has work on accessibility begun and have we already made some progress?
  • What information is presented? 
  • Effective web organisation
  • Clear roles, e.g. web publisher, webmaster, expert
  • The number of publishers
  • The level of knowledge among employees
  • Previous experience among publishers, content managers, etc...

Prioritisation? Which content should be made accessible first?

The new law on accessibility to digital public service states that in principle all content – webpages, documents, images, videos, digital systems – on the University's websites must be accessible in line with the international web standard WCAG 2.1 level A+AA. 

Given that accessibility adaptation is a major project, many organisations – at least initially – need to prioritise aspects of their own web content. LU's accessibility project provides general support (via guides, practical tools, etc.), but the project does not set out priorities in terms of organisations’ content. It is the responsibility of each operational manager to decide any priorities in their own accessibility efforts in dialogue with their employees. 

One tip is to think about what is most important to the typical user of your particular organisation’s website and start by making that content accessible. 

Use the web accessibility project's suggestions below to help you think about priorities.

Prioritising aspects of web accessibility

  • Important and current content over less important and/or out-of-date content.
  • Most visited websites over less visited ones.
  • External users over internal ones.
  • Information-based websites over administrative systems with a limited number of users.
  • Adapt working methods/processes for continuous and long-term work on web accessibility over viewing accessibility adaptation as a one-time phenomenon.

The legal requirements help to prioritise films and documents on the websites. The following need to be made accessible according to the law:

  • films (though not live broadcasts) published as of 23 September 2020.
  • documents published as of 23 September 2018 and older documents that are needed to carry out administrative assignments.

If as a manager, you want support in establishing priorities for accessibility adaptation, you are welcome to contact the web accessibility project via tillganglighet [at] kommunikation [dot] lu [dot] se.

Communication and training? 

  • Inform your employees about the importance of working with accessibility and ensure that those who need it receive training in web accessibility. 
  • Feel free to inform and remind employees about LU's guide for web accessibility, which can be accessed via www.staff.lu.se/support-and-tools/communication-and-graphic-profile/web-publishing/web-accessibility. The guide contains practical advice for creating accessible web content, information on how to write an accessibility statement, tips on web accessibility training and more.

Looking ahead

  • Ensure an administration in which accessibility adaptation becomes a natural part of working online.  
  • Conduct regular accessibility reviews.
  • Continuously update the accessibility statement for your websites.

Contact

Project group for web accessibility

Contact the project group via email: tillganglighet [at] kommunikation [dot] lu [dot] se

The project blog (in Swedish)

Join the team "Webbtillgänglighet inom LU" (in Swedish) on Microsoft Teams