If meeting deadlines and keeping projects under budget is important to you, keeping accessibility in mind from the start will always save you money and time. Retrofitting websites or app with fixes takes more time and can result in inferior results.

Having a working knowledge of the basic principles of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 is the best place to start. People can use the ample resources on webaim.org. People can view the WCAG Principles and Guidelines page or contact the Duke Web Accessibility Team to come do free group training.

Share Duke's Guidelines with vendors

If you use vendors to create websites, design or write your content, Duke has simple accessibility procurement language to include in Request for Proposals (RFPs) and Statements of Work (SOWs) to ensure the end-product meets Duke's Guidelines on web accessibility. You can also point vendors to Duke's Guidelines page.

Even with that preemptive knowledge, it is possible the vendor will ignore the guidelines. It is incumbent on the purchases to validate that the guidelines are followed and that the product or service meets the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0.

Test designs for compliance before development begins

Many accessibility problems are evident when a website is in the design phase.  Problems with color contrast are a great example of issues that can be caught before money and resources are spent on development.

Get a web accessibility assessment before launch

Duke's Guidelines require websites to be compliant before launch.  Last-minute changes or changes after the launch date can result in more drama and inferior accessibility results for people with disabilities. 

To ensure the developers and content creators have ample time to fix any issues that may arise, we request advanced notice before launch.

Custom development & any external vendor website2 week or during development
Sites @ Duke Pro Drupal website 1 week notice
Sites @ Duke Express WordPress website3-5 days notice

However; it is never too late to request a web accessibility assessment.

The web accessibility team requests two weeks notice to review a custom development site to provide accessibility assessments. 

The risk of launching a website that is not compliant with Duke's Web Accessibility Guidelines (Meeting WCAG 2.0 AA conformance) can result in an official request to take the website down. Duke's Guidelines do not explicitly require a review by the Web Accessibility Office, but it is the safest and easiest way to ensure compliance.

Request an assessment at web-accessibility@duke.edu.