5. Maintaining accessibility
Having requested and received an accessible solution, you will then need to keep it accessible. There are many things that may change over time, including:
- the needs of the organisation and end users;
- the age, abilities and other characteristics of users and
- technological developments, initiating hardware and software
- the evolution of standards.
It is important to consider accessibility within the whole lifecycle of the product or service, rather than just the buying phase.
Accessibility issues should be included in regular reviews to ensure that the system continues to meet the accessibility policy. All additions and changes should be reviewed for accessibility.
Training, mentoring and support contracts
You may consider including maintenance and support for content management as part of the contract. This may involve the development of content production methods, style guides, staff training, etc.
If suppliers are asked to provide training and support, this will have to fit in with your training policy and budgeting cycles. You should consider carefully what kind of training would be best for your staff.
- Classroom-based training often fits more easily into corporate training and continuous professional development policies. This type of training may be a good approach for general accessibility awareness raising for a range of staff including staff iinvolved in producing content for a website.
- More in-depth training specific to a person’s task may be required for some personnel.
- For ongoing development, a mentoring or technical support approach may work best. This can be organised as a consultancy contract to supply a certain amount of assistance over a period of time on an as-needed basis for example, a half day here and a half day there to discuss “issues that have arisen since we last met” or a fast-response help-desk service. You may need to consider how this can be arranged within your annual budgeting.
For more information see the article on Maintaining web accessibility.