Designing Accessibility: Building it in Versus Bolting it on

Presented at 11:15am in Westminster IV on Wednesday, November 14, 2018.



  • Taylor Snook, Digital Accessibility Consultant, Perkins School for the Blind

Session Details

  • Length of Session: 1-hr
  • Format: Lecture
  • Expertise Level: Beginner
  • Type of session: General Conference


Incorporating accessibility best practices during the design of a digital experience (building it in) is much more cost effective than waiting until coding and development begins (bolting it on). This presentation will discuss an approach for reviewing designs for common accessibility pitfalls and documenting requirements in design artifacts.


Traditionally, accessibility testing takes place towards the end of the software development lifecycle, usually in QA. But did you know that catching accessibility defects after development is up to ten times more expensive than catching them earlier in the design phase? And today, there are many tools and approaches for identifying potential accessibility pitfalls in design artifacts, such as wireframes, mockups and paper prototypes. In this presentation, attendees will learn how to identify common design patterns in early designs and to document accessibility requirements using annotations, notes and comment features found in today's most popular design tools.


  1. Catching potential accessibility traps earlier leads to more efficient and cost effective testing later
  2. Accessibility requirements can be built into design artifacts, such as wireframes and mockups
  3. There are many accessible design pattern libraries than can be leveraged as examples for developers

Disability Areas

All Areas

Topic Areas

Uncategorized, Web/Media Access

Speaker Bio(s)

Taylor Snook

Snook possesses deep expertise in content management systems, user-centered design and various programming languages. She began her work at Perkins developing systems that would support hundreds of local partners worldwide. Snook is a Certified Professional in Accessibility Core Competencies and holds a B.A. in Computer Science from Colby College and a Master of Social Work with a concentration in Global Practice from Boston College.