Designing Accessibility: Building it in Versus Bolting it on

Scheduled at 11:15am in Westminster IV on Wednesday, November 14 (2018).



  • Gary Aussant, Director of Digital Accessibility , 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)

Gary Aussant

With a 20-year career in technology and user experience consulting, Aussant has helped such Fortune 100 companies embrace universal design as Bank of America, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, eBay, General Motors, Transamerica and Twitter. He specializes in design thinking and usability testing to improve digital experiences early in the product development and helping clients sustain accessibility through best practices in day-to-day operations.