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If you're an employer about to take a leap into an accessible workplace technology effort, you might be wondering where to begin. It's a question I'm often asked by people who understand the "why" behind accessibility, but who are daunted by the "how." But getting started is actually pretty simple.

As a senior vice president and information technology manager at Wells Fargo, I frequently received the question, "Can the company buy me a...?"  For those few people who were able to articulate the worth to the bank and the productivity benefits it would bring, I was eager to help, and usually we were successful.

An introductory blog post officially announcing the launch of PEATworks.org, an interactive online resource focused on accessible technology in the workplace.

As you develop and implement your accessibility initiative, it's important to know—and be able to prove—that your activities are having a positive effect.

Federal laws and regulations, such as "Section 508" and the "21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act" (CVAA) provide helpful and detailed information about technical standards that employers can use to guide their use and procurement of technology that is accessible to all users, including people with disabilities. 

If you're an employer—in any industry—who is getting ready to issue a solicitation for technology products or support, or to talk to specific vendors about what they can offer, a little background research can help you identify the accessibility barriers and solutions for the products you are seeking.

This article will demystify some of the technical standards that apply to accessibility and explain how they differ from laws and regulations. 

In his book, Strategic IT Accessibility: Enabling the Organization, IT accessibility expert Jeff Kline outlines 10 steps for determining where and when accessibility can be infused into the procurement process.

BYOD stands for "Bring Your Own Device," and it's an increasingly popular policy and practice in many of today's workplaces. BYOD offers some accessibility advantages for both employers and technology users—but there are also some unique challenges.

The March 2014 update to Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act provides federal contractors with clear guidelines and goals for measuring the success of their efforts to meet these requirements to actively recruit, retain, and advance qualified individuals with disabilities.

To optimize their employment potential, individuals with disabilities should have a basic understanding of what accessible workplace technology is—and use this knowledge to assess and meet their own needs.

Once an organization—whether a tech provider or an employer in any industry seeking to create a more disability-inclusive workplace—has initiated an accessibility initiative, how will it know if it’s making progress? 

Once your company commits to increasing the accessibility of its workplace technology, it is smart to communicate that commitment, both internally and externally.

 
 

A good testing process, including accurate and comprehensive reporting on testing results, can improve communication with employees, customers, and other end users about your company's commitment to accessibility and foster a culture of continuous improvement.

If you're a technology provider, an established accessibility initiative will help ensure that the information and communications technology (ICT) you build and implement is accessible to all workers, job candidates, and customers.