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I need advice on how to tackle a really big project.

The project consists of getting the production and future support website WCAG 2.0 complaint - for both mobile and web:

  • Production website: is not WCAG 2.0 compliant and needs to be updated ASAP. I have no assets, just production and a bunch of screenshots/URLs of the elements that in violation.

  • Future state of production website: also not WCAG 2.0 compliant and is scheduled to be updated in July. I have wireframes and a design system file generated by Zeplin.

The new site that's to be released later this year is a total facelift. The color palette I use must be similar to the new design. My goal is to create a new one-size-fits-all WCAG 2.0 design system that embraces the color palette of the redesign.

To complicate matters, the production site has a lot of custom HTML and one-off elements. I'd estimate that it uses 2 to 3 times more colors than the redesign. My goal is to consolidate it as much as I can.

How would you tackle such a big project?

Are there any special tools or plug-ins I should be using that could help me? I have Adobe Suite and Sketch at my disposal.

Sincere thank you in advance for any suggestions.

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For the production site, you should do an accessibility review (sometimes called an "assessment" or "audit"). This involves both automated testing and manual testing. If you (or your co-workers) are not familiar enough with WCAG, then you might want to consider hiring someone to do it. Speaking from experience, it takes me about 2-3 hours to review one page and write up the accessibility issues and some recommended remediation suggestions for that page. A website review typically involves 20-30 pages of your site - a representative sample of pages. You can use web log analytics to determine what pages are visited often, or decide what pages you think are important for users to visit. So you're looking at roughly 40-90 hours of review. So about two weeks to review (depending on the complexity of your pages).

For the future site, I assume you want the design reviewed, or guidance on how to create an accessible design. This also requires pretty good knowledge of WCAG and the design should prevent any issues that occurred on the production site.

There are some plugin tools that help in finding accessibility issues on an existing site, but tools can only find about 20-30% of accessibility issues. Manual testing is needed for the rest. The W3C has a good page to help with choosing some tools, called "Selecting Web Accessibility Evaluation Tools". And here is a fairly recent (within the past few months) article on "The Importance Of Manual Accessibility Testing".

I can be contacted offline if you want more guidance on doing an accessibility review or helping with accessible designs. Contact info is in my StackExchange profile.

  • Thank you for your advice! Fortunately, I do have a limited scope for the work that needs to be done on the prod site - it only contrast issues related to color. I was told other things can wait until the redesign. The devs did an audit and created tickets for each violation and I have about 40 tickets. My plan was to create one big 500' view file in illustrator where cut and paste screenshots of each violation, bucketize them into similar groupings, create a color palette from them and then try to create a new wcag 2.0 color palette. – Koumtti Feb 9 at 23:58
  • The new redesign is a similar story - I'm not to touch much except the color contrast issues. My original plan was to steal the color palette from it and use it for prod but couldn't because the colors were almost wcag 2.0. With a little tweaking it shouldn't be too big of a change. My plan is to use that color palette as a muse for prod. After the site is launched I'm sure I'll be asked to do another audit. I'm trying to look for big/obvious violations now so I can get them fixed proactively. Unfortunately, I don't think there's a budget for another redesign. – Koumtti Feb 10 at 0:02
  • sounds like you already had your answer before you posted your question :-) – slugolicious Feb 10 at 7:52
  • Kinda? It's just a lot of work and this being the first time I've ever had to work on such a project I was worried I wasn't doing it efficiently. I've gotten through half the tickets and they are not well organized, unfortunately. So far I'm using Excell to create a bit of cheat sheet to track the attributes of each element that's in violation as well as using Adobe. I'm making a progress, albeit slowly. I sincerely appreciated your thoughtful advice. This is daunting! – Koumtti Feb 10 at 23:11

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