Remediate a Current Website

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We don’t always have the benefit of designing a site or individual pages from scratch. We often inherit content that was already designed and created. While there could be things that we cannot make accessible (for example, complicated infographics), there is quite a lot that we can do to ensure current content is accessible.  

Suggested Process for Remediation

Step 1: Determine Scope  

The first step in remediating a current website is to determine the overall scope of the review. In some cases, you may be reviewing for something specific like captions, but you could also be doing a comprehensive annual review. This makes a big difference because a narrow review of a small website might only take a limited time to complete, a broader review for a large website may take a long time and involve multiple people. Of course, the best way to ensure future potential remediation is minimized is to ensure accessibility standards are established and applied consistently within your website.  

  • What are the goals of the review?  
  • Was the review initiated because of a specific issue that was identified?  
  • Will you review for the all accessibility basics?  
  • Are there departmental priorities that need to be considered?  
  • Will you look at structure, content, and/or resources?  
  • How many people need to be involved in the review?  
  • Are there multiple content editors for the site?  
  • Are there any external contractors?  
  • How long since there was a previous accessibility review?  
  • Are there previous accessibility initiatives that have been completed?  
  • How can this review overlap with other potential reviews of the website?  

Step 2: Determine Necessary Resources 

Once you have determined your overall scope, it is important to think about what resources you will need for the review and remediation.  

  • What current resources do you have available?  
  • How many content creators work on the site?  
  • What accessibility checkers do you use?  
  • What remediation tools have you used?  
  • What resources do you need for specific types of materials (word docs, PDFs, videos, etc.) 
  • Do you have a way to identify developer issues and share with the web development team as needed?  
  • Does the Web Development Team need to be involved?  
  • Is an external audit needed?  

Step 3: Create Your Remediation Plan  

Once you have thought about the key goals and necessary resources, it is time to create the specific plan. This plan should have a few key things:  

  • Goals and objectives 
  • Timeline for completion  
  • Responsibilities 
  • Accessibility checkers to be used 
  • Remediation tools to be used 
  • Remediation timelines  

Step 4: Implement Your Remediation Plan  

Hopefully if your website has been designed to be accessible and content editors have been ensuring accessibility, your review will come back with very few areas that need remediation. If there are multiple errors detected, then the remediation aspect might take longer.  

Throughout the remediation process, be sure to continually check accessibility guidance. Since the issues found often require similar fixes, it is important to make sure you are not repeating errors.   

Step 5: Review the material again to see if issues were fixed 

Before distributing any content, it should be reviewed for accessibility. This review is particularly important as it relates to remediation. If there were known issues in the content, it is important to ensure those issues were corrected. It is always best to conduct a full review because you can also check to ensure that additional issues   are not encountered. As with all reviews, this one should include automated checks, but also manual checking as well.   

Step 6: Reflection and Process and Policy Changes  

The goal should always be to ensure websites are accessible from the start. After remediation, it can be easy to slip back into having an inaccessible site unless there are specific processes and policies put in place to ensure accessibility. Website accessibility is an on-going responsibility, so all people editing the website should be aware of the importance and their responsibilities.