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Global Accessibility Awareness Day is tomorrow, May 19th. So far this week, we’ve established the challenges of accessibility testing in DevOps, how quality engineering is tackling those challenges, and how QA can use test data to improve the accessibility of their product. Today, we’ll share our best practices for designing effective processes and cross-functional partnerships for accessibility success.
The Importance of Good Processes in Quality Engineering and DevOps
Mabl’s 2021 Testing in DevOps Report found that the most commonly cited DevOps adoption challenge was the lack of good processes and organizational reluctance to change. It’s easy to see why process is a major inhibitor to DevOps: in order to release code on a daily basis, each part of the development process must be easily executed every single day. Perhaps most importantly, the handoff between each team - development, QA, and product - needs to be as seamless as possible to ensure code moves easily across each stage of the DevOps pipeline.
The same needs apply to building an accessibility testing process. To make a meaningful change, accessibility checks and improvements need to be grounded in processes that are repeatable and collaborative.
Best Practices for Good Processes and Partnerships
Though every software development organization is different, a few best practices are applicable for teams of all sizes and all stages of DevOps maturity:
Use data to create goals and awareness: one of the benefits of running accessibility checks within a DevOps pipeline is the ability to identify trends and issues based on test results. In unified test automation solutions, this data creates valuable insights that can be shared across the quality engineering, development, and compliance teams for more accurate goal setting. Results that can be shared across the enterprise are essential for getting organizational buy-in to the new accessibility testing process.
Harness automation to support repetition: no one wants more work added to their plate, even when that work is as important as improving digital accessibility. This applies doubly to overworked development organizations navigating talent shortages and shortening development cycles. To ensure that accessibility checks are easy to execute (and iterate), quality engineering teams should embrace automated accessibility checks that can be embedded in DevOps pipelines without generating too much additional work or slowing development.
Create opportunities for shared learning: for most companies, the main experts on accessibility and compliance issues are on the legal team, not the software development organization. To harness that resource and ensure automated accessibility checks are meeting the necessary regulatory requirements, quality engineering professionals should build processes that support collaboration across departments. Trend reports that aggregate test data into clear, concise reports help break down knowledge gaps between teams, helping everyone set shared goals and ultimately, create better user experiences for everyone.
Repeatable, Scalable Processes Enable Positive Partnerships
DevOps and quality engineering are collaborative practices. In order to rapidly release new code into production without accessibility issues or other defects, software companies need good processes in place that encourage everyone to contribute their expertise. As the glue between code and customer, quality engineers are well-positioned to lead the development of accessibility testing processes that make inclusive digital experiences possible in a DevOps world.
Start your accessibility testing journey with mabl’s two-week free trial. See how automation, intelligence, and data unlock new levels of collaboration for better, more accessible software.