Digital Accessibility Central builds empathy, skills and knowledge

UnitedHealthcare and Optum

Help to move away from dependence and toward collaboration with the digital accessibility practice.

Digital Accessibility Central, a site that helps people envision, create and manage digital properties that encompass and celebrate the principles of universal design.






Everyone’s thinking about the accessibility of their websites today. UnitedHealthcare and Optum are no exception. But there are challenges. While some teams know a lot about accessibility, and have integrated it into their work processes, others have not. While some teams grasp the business opportunity, others still see accessibility as a “nice to have” or worse, something that they believe none of their customers need.

While growing, the digital accessibility team is not large enough to provide personalized service and training to every team in every part of the organization. Maybe a team is building on a specialized platform. Or licensing video content from a vendor who doesn’t know much about accessibility. The organization needs an easy to access resource that relieves the need to wait weeks for answers.

Digital Accessibility Central is a universally accessible resource that meets the needs of two distinct audiences:

  • Business leaders, marketing, legal and product leads
  • Programmers, quality testers, designers, architects, copywriters and technical writers

One group loves technical detail. The other just wants the salient high points. One needs the language of business. The other really needs to know how to code their REACT so that the ARIA doesn’t get into mortal combat with the DOM.

With most of the organization working in agile, it made sense to combine the two perspectives into one site. That way everyone could learn what is needed to plan for the work, as well as how to assess a site and test updates. Plus, we can weave in empathy building content and incorporate fun learning experiences.

By teaching core accessibility techniques we want to help teams take care of the basics on their own. Early research showed us that people prefer to learn about accessibility on the job. Not only that, they are extremely conscious of the time they might have to spend researching an answer – they want to get in, get their answer, and get on with their work.

At the same time, we can present the accessibility team as an ally. The site increases:

  • The reach of training events
  • Visibility of accessibility consulting services
  • Timeliness and access to information about accessibility practices
  • Understanding of organization’s expectations

The result is that everyone wins. Customers and members get accessible sites. Teams hone their knowledge and skill sets. Business leaders understand how to meet expectations and realize the business opportunity. And, the accessibility team is a more effective partner.