Play 3: Structure Your Initiative
You already know what you want to accomplish and the principles that will guide you through your effort. It’s time to build the structure of your initiative. This will depend on several factors: the scope of your project, how complex it is, who’s involved, the type of technology you’re focusing on, your timeframe, funding requirements, and more. This is a comprehensive and important Play, where you’ll structure your initiative, define your scope of work and technical approach, identify the types of support you’ll need to make it successful, and determine the leaders you need to help run it.
- Define Your Scope of Work: Determine the factors involved in launching your initiative (timeline, funders and partners, etc.) to inform your Scope of Work. Based on your overarching goals and objectives, define the phases of your initiative, your activities, milestones, and anticipated work products and deliverables.
- Consider Applicability of Laws and Existing and Emerging Guidelines: Understand the legal compliance requirements that apply to your initiative and the emerging technology it’s built around (including its features, uses, and markets). Also consider how existing or emerging guidelines, standards, and design techniques may apply to your emerging technology initiative. Look at accessibility requirements for hardware devices, accessories, platform software and operating systems, applications and content, customer support, and more.
- Employ Inclusive Design and Accessible Design Thinking: Employ inclusive design and accessible design thinking techniques as you structure your initiative, adopting methodologies that directly involve people with disabilities in the design and development processes. Doing so will help you not only consider the needs of persons with disabilities, but enable all users to benefit from technologies designed to be used in a variety of contexts and environments where users may experience a sensory or physical limitation.
- Remember to Test Often: If part of your initiative involves launching a new product, or working closely with one, remember to build in opportunities to test your product often with a diverse set of stakeholders.
- Identify Key Issues: Identify the key issues you need to address and spend time thinking through how those issues should be resolved. Are there inroads you need to take before you can develop your accessible technology on a large scale? Are there systems that need to be changed?
- Determine the Support You Need: Make a list of the general support you’ll need to manage everything from the day to day activities of your initiative to making big decisions about partnerships, sponsorships, projects, changes in direction, etc.
- Consider Staffing Structure: Determine your staffing structure to ensure you build a diverse, successful team, and think through roles and responsibilities for the staff that will participate in the initiative. Consider how big decisions will be made, who will lead your effort, and how people with disabilities can be employed on your team to offer their skills and perspective. Do you need a project manager(s)? Will your staff be paid or volunteer? And, make sure everyone on your team is well-versed in WCAG 2.1 and other emerging guidelines related to developing accessible emerging tech.
- Get Comfortable with Change: Know that the structure of your community may need to be tweaked over time. For instance, like Teach Access you may launch a community of practice with six task forces that are later condensed into three. Or perhaps you need to scale up and down over time depending on where you are in relation to your goals and what your community has accomplished.
Guiding Questions to Get You Started:
- What is the scope of your project? Consider your goals, objectives, and any important deliverables you’re aware of at this stage?
- Will your initiative be focused on making a single product accessible? Will it be a sweeping approach to developing an emerging technology tobe accessible?
- What’s your timeline for launch? Is your initiative on-going or do you have an end date in mind?
- What are the key phases of your initiative, including planned activities, work products, and deliverables?
- Will you allow participants to join your community on a rolling basis?
- Do you need funding? What role does funding play in launching and sustaining your initiative?
- How might you structure your initiative? What are the key issues you will focus on?
- Have you asked people with disabilities to contribute to the development of your initiative and/or provide feedback on the structure, goals, and objectives of your effort? Are they included in your leadership or management team?
- What roles do you need to fill to help execute your initiative?
- Who needs to be involved in the decision making process? Are they well-versed in current guidelines, policies, and practices for developing accessible emerging technologies?
- What systems need to be put in place for your technology to be born accessible?
- What are the components of your technology that need to be developed to be accessible (hardware, platform software and operating systems, applications, content, etc.)?