3. The Committee and the Champion
The Accessibility Champion will be the person who leads an organization’s accessibility efforts. The title may vary from organization to organization, though the role will be the same.
The Accessibility Champion should be able to relate to others at their level. For instance, when working with developers to promote accessibility practices, being able to talk to them with appropriate technical language will help get the message across convincingly. Similarly, when working with designers, this person should be able to talk in terms of Universal Design and Inclusive Design practices.
Though an Accessibility Champion does not necessarily need to have formal computer science or design backgrounds, knowledge in these areas is important to be effective in the role. At a minimum, the Champion needs to be comfortable working with technology, and have a good understanding of how people with disabilities access information and digital content.
The Accessibility Champion should have a particular set of necessary, and desirable characteristics, described here:
- Has the ability to lead
- Can influence people at all levels of authority, and across all roles
- Has strong communication skills (verbal and written) and the ability to motivate people
- Is creative when faced with challenging situations
- Can talk about disability issues in an informed way
- Is familiar with a range of assistive technologies
- Understands the societal effects of inclusion
- Is passionate about inclusive design
- Has a strong technical background
- Is able to teach
- Is able to present convincingly to small or large audiences
- Has a disability or is closely related to someone with a disability
- Is a software engineer, or programmer
- Is a web developer
- Is a user interface or interaction designer