7 If Standards Can’t be Met
In some cases, it can be challenging, if not impossible, to meet the accessibility standards or regulations. For example, legacy or third-party software may not have the robust functionality to create inclusive experiences. Understanding gaps in accessibility and taking responsibility for providing a more inclusive future reduces your reputational risk and mitigates the risk of litigation.
The first step to address such a situation is to reach out to your internal developers, partners, or vendors. You can identify the accessibility limitations and ask for a solution. Sometimes there is a straight-forward solution that can be implemented. Other times, there may not be an immediate solution. However, a solution could be included in a roadmap and timelines outlined on when their products will become more accessible.
If accessibility gaps cannot be avoided, consider formally documenting the gap, including noting:
- The specific accessibility gap(s) and
- Why it was not practicable to incorporate accessibility design, criteria, and features
- Your plan to reduce or eliminate these barriers
The Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation () of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act requires organizations to, upon request, provide an explanation about why accessibility criteria were not part of procurement. This documentation will help you respond to such a request.
Remember to consider the end user experience over all other decisions, even if your code cannot meet all accessibility specifications. Keeping your audience in mind will help you provide the best experience possible.
Anything that might hinder people with disabilities’ full and equal participation. Barriers can be architectural, technological, attitudinal, based on information or communications, or can be the result of a policy or procedure. Barriers can be financial, knowledge based, or directly related to an individual’s disability (e.g., no descriptive alternative text accompanying a photo would be a barrier for someone with a vision impairment).
Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation