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Defining Accessibility Advocacy

Caveat: this definition is based on my experience. This role gets written up in many different ways with tons of measurable and non-measurable expected outcomes. I highly suggest tailoring your definition of accessibility advocacy to fit the short/medium/long term needs of your organization.

also Caveat: this is a definition I'm expecting to flesh out over a period of months (years?) and will periodically check back and update as my understanding expands.

Who can be an Accessibility Advocate?

An accessibility advocate can be a mid to senior level developer or designer positioned on a user facing team of some kind. Experience and expertise in web accessibility is not a requirement. What's more important is motivation and enthusiasm for accessibility. Typically this unofficial role will be just one in a (sometimes long) list of responsibilities.

What does an Accessibility Advocate Do?

An Accessibility Advocate has three main objectives:

  1. Create awareness with team members and stake holders
  1. Secure resources (budget, personnel, tools, testing)
  1. Center accessibility in the development and design process

How can an Accessibility Advocate's Success be measured?

The observable benefits of accessibility advocacy will be felt in the medium to long term across the organization. Having a developer or designer working on a team consistently centering the disabled user in the conversation will absolutely result in a more inclusive outcome. Measuring inclusivity if a broad topic, but in lieu of conversations with disabled users: reported problems, barriers, violations can be tracked across a team over time.