Please consider sharing this story far and wide because it’s important, and more of the digital industry needs to see this.
All-Star designer Stephanie Hagadorn shares a unique and super smart project her team created at Indeed to help build better products through accessibility requirements.
Over the past year, accessibility has become one of Indeed’s top priorities, a massive undertaking. We now require teams to meet Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 ( WCAG 2.1) AA conformance, and go beyond those guidelines to improve the accessibility of the site. This new focus means reexamining our practices throughout the product life cycle, not only to help remediate accessibility problems but to help create genuinely inclusive experiences from the beginning. This is the story of one tool we created that helped us speed up those changes: an accessibility library.
Note their first step:
We drafted our own guidelines, translating some of the often cryptic or verbose WCAG wording into easier-to-understand checklists for designers and developers.
As it turns out, this helped to increase awareness but didn’t solve the problem completely. However, I don’t believe Stephanie’s team would have achieved success without this initial step. Team, especially combined teams, success requires having a shared language.
Much of the instructions from institutions like W3C are written for scientific, engineering, and academic communities. Go look at it—some of the most basic functions are written as if they are launch preparations for exploring deep space. I remember joking with some folks at the consortium about this when they hired Airbag to redesign the website.
The team at Indeed ultimately succeeded because they took the first step to clarify and interpret this lab coat language for into something easier to consume and grok. Improving awareness would have been a huge win, but continue reading to see how they created a tool that drove even better results.
PS — Stephanie, if you are reading by chance, I hope your team will consider sharing the tool you made in the Figma community.