Are you Disability Compliant? Or Disability Competitive?

There is a world of difference (and a lot of sales) between these two states.

a single red paper airplane in front of a whole ton of white paper airplanes
a single red paper airplane in front of a whole ton of white paper airplanes

Disability Compliant is asking people to identify whether they are disabled on a questionnaire anonymously.

Disability Competitive is conducting an annual disability self-identification campaign, training managers on how to interview candidates with disabilities, and training talent acquisition on avoiding bias in AI and human resume selection.

Disability Non-compliance is not having an accessibility statement.

Disability Compliant has an accessibility statement that makes claims without really making any claims.

Disability Competitive is having an accessibility statement that talks in precise terms about what you are doing to improve accessibility at your organization. These precise terms include standards, testing practices, how many of your testers have disabilities, outside audits, assistive technology tester, and the environment that a person with a disability will have the best experience on.

Disability Non-compliance is failing to return calls when job applicants are trying to request accommodations.

Disability Compliant is putting out the standard EEOC claim that says you don’t discriminate against people with disabilities.

Disability Competitive is an accessible job application process, having interviewers trained on interviewing people with disabilities and making sure that all the accessibility standards you set for your customers are also used internally for your employees and contractors.

Disability Compliant is accessible software and websites.

Disability Competitive is having the entire #CX be accessible, including support, training, documentation, surveys, events, user research, and the software and all supporting websites.

Disability Non-compliance is a “volunteer” accessibility team.

Disability Compliant is thinking that you are doing a good job at accessibility.

Disability Competitive is an accessible dashboard where anyone at any time at your organization can check on the accessibility of a specific product, combined with objective trending metrics and maturity modeling that tells you where you are doing a good job at accessibility, and what areas could use a little more accessibility love.

Disability Compliant is paying your accessibility people to go to conferences to tell other accessibility people what a great job your organization is doing at accessibility.

Disability Competitive is paying your accessibility people to go to general UX/design conferences to preach the gospel of accessibility and contributing back your accessibility additions to open source products.

Disability Compliant has an accessibility manager that can get into a room full of executives and convince them that accessibility is important.

Disability Competitive has enough accessibility champions outside the accessibility organization that you never worry about whether or not people talk about accessibility when you are not around.

Disability Compliant has a funded corporate disability employee resource group

Disability Competitive has that group, has executives who reverse-mentor with group members and listen to them when they request improvements, and then execute on what they ask.

Written by

Accessibility Architect @ VMware. W3C Silver, ITI & IAAP GLC committees. Degrees in CS, law, business. Wheelchair user w/ a deaf daughter.

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