Although each organization is unique and has unique requirements, common steps are involved in developing a good accessible technology plan. Following is a proven five-step plan used in many technology development plans that has simply been applied to accessible technology. Many of the themes described here are based on the steps in Susan Conway's and Char Sligar's book Unlocking Knowledge Assets. (Conway, Sligar 2002). Thinking through your strategy and requirements will reduce costs and increase efficiency—reducing false-starts, ensuring compatibility with existing technology, and accurately addressing your organization's unique situation and needs. The five steps are:
Define the accessible technology strategy. In this critical first step, you define how accessible technology fits into your business by identifying a vision and objectives that set the groundwork for the next steps.
Identify requirements. In this step, you develop a comprehensive set of requirements by describing the scope of the accessibility needs of your organization and evaluating the current technology being used.
Design, develop, and purchase technology. This next step involves the design and development of technology based on the requirements outlined in Step 2. This step might also include purchasing accessible technology and assistive technology products and identifying internal technology systems that need to be updated to increase accessibility.
Implement and train. Once the accessible technology is in place, including new technology, it is rolled out to the organization. This step also involves increasing awareness among employees about the availability of accessible technology and training employees on how to use the accessibility features.
Maintain technology and continue learning. In the last step, you increase awareness of the accessible technology vision in your organization, support employees in their use of technology, and evaluate success and opportunities for improvement.
Although it is possible to develop and implement an accessible technology plan on a case-by-case basis, by using the strategic planning steps outlined here, you will avoid false-starts, decrease costs, and provide higher employee and customer satisfaction. By outlining your vision and objectives first, and then assigning owners to carry out the implementation steps and measure progress, you will gain a far greater level of success that positively impacts many more people in your organization.
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