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The Digital Accessibility Journey: Exploring Priorities and Investments in Aus and NZ organisations

Who does the buck stop with?

Most of the organisations that responded to this survey design their digital assets using an in-house team. Organisations with a higher revenue are more likely to have an in-house team available to design their digital assets. For more than half of respondents, this is the IT department.

36% design assets completely in-house
  • 36% design assets completely in-house
  • 38% use a combination of in-house and third-party consultancies .
Only one in four use third-party consultancies.
  • Only one in four use third-party consultancies.
Marketing departments play a bigger role when it comes to designing customer-facing assets, like the company’s website (25%)
  • Marketing departments play a bigger role when it comes to designing customer-facing assets, like the company’s website (25%).

Responsibility for Digital Accessibility is blurry

While only 2% of respondents are unclear on who in their organisation has responsibility for digital assets, a full 12% are unsure about who is responsible for Digital Accessibility. The ideal is to have policies and processes that ensure all new digital properties are designed to be accessible.

“It’s important for organisations to build digital assets and services that are born accessible. The business case, ethical case, and social good case all support this. It is imperative that digital accessibility is considered at all phases of a digital project, starting with the fundamentals in the design phase. It’s therefore essential that organisations understand how digital accessibility and design fit together. By actively thinking about inclusive design as part of your user interface and overall user experience, you can make a major impact before a line of code is written.” – Phil Turner, Managing Director, Accessibility Tick, New Zealand

  • Most organisations use in-house teams either solely or in conjunction with external consultants for Digital Accessibility.
  • Digital Accessibility is likely to comprise a larger portion of an individual’s role if they are employed in IT, HR, and diversity-specific positions.
  • Education and training organisations are most likely to use in-house Digital Accessibility capabilities.
  • Public sector organisations are the least likely to use external consultants for Digital Accessibility. They are also the least clear about where responsibility with the organisation lies, with 26% unsure.
  • New Zealand organisations are more likely to rely on internal resources to address Digital Accessibility, while leveraging external consultants was found to be more popular in Australia.

The importance of leadership

In most organisations, responsibility for Digital Accessibility sits at the managerial level and above. This highlights the importance of top-down influence or policy.

  • The smaller the organisation, the more likely it is that Digital Accessibility initiatives will come right from the top (board or Vice President).
  • Department heads are more likely to oversee Digital Accessibility at large organisations with revenue of $50m+.
  • Trailblazer organisations have board oversight for digital accessibility, with the CEO or a CTO as the owner for digital accessibility.
The below graph represents the need for an internal champion among organisations
View accessible version of the infographic.

The need for an internal champion

46% of businesses building Digital Accessibility into most of their assets use an in-house team. This indicates that having an inhouse team tasked with responsibility over Digital Accessibility helps enable progress.

“Key passionate people formed a group of like-minded people and kept working until senior leadership accepted that change needed to be made.”

General accessibility comes first

The more improvements to general accessibility a business is making, the more mature their Digital Accessibility is likely to be. Perhaps addressing general accessibility needs is therefore a good starting point.

Among all respondents, equal opportunity policies and diversity and inclusion policies are the most common steps being taken to improve general accessibility. Two-thirds of respondents have written one of these policies or have one in development. This is followed by physical access improvements, hiring practices, and training.