Accessible user interface development instruction

Instruction statement

This instruction describes the accessible design considerations to address at each stage of design or development projects.


This instruction does not apply to:

  • websites that have no relationship to RMIT (for example, personal or private sites)
  • web authoring tools not provided or supported by the University
  • student work used for an online showcase
  • academic research or experimental works not used for official purposes by the University
  • courseware that cannot be reasonably supplied in accessible formats, such as simulation tools. In this case the educational designer and academic coordinate alternatives with the Disability Liaison Unit as required.

Instruction steps and actions

Instruction (including key points)



Develop project plans that:

  • Enable the University to comply with the Disability Discrimination Act 1992, the Disability Standards for Education 2005 and its own Web Accessibility Policy.
  • Clearly specify the accessible design standard that must be reached.

Communicate the benefits of accessible design to project stakeholders and include information about the:

  • Legal responsibilities of the University
  • Business benefits of accessible design
  • Cost savings of designing for accessibility, rather than retrofitting systems later.

Plan for the necessary accessibility knowledge and skills on the project by:

  • Including:
    • A developer/designer (staff or contractor) with the skills in accessible design relevant to the technologies being used in the project (e.g. AJAX, Java)
    • An accessibility specialist (staff or consultant) on the project team, if possible
  • Ensuring all members of the project team have an understanding of accessibility issues relevant to their role in the project.
  • Providing training in accessible design to members of the project team, as needed
  • Researching current best practices in accessible design techniques relevant to the project.

Project managers or equivalent

Project initiation phase

When analysing requirements, consider the needs of people with a range of disabilities who may be users of the online resources or system being developed by:

  • Including people with disabilities in user analysis activities such as interviews, field studies and focus groups.
  • Ensuring that analyses of tasks, information architecture, business processes or workflows consider how people with disabilities do tasks, including any adaptive strategies that they might use.
  • Evaluate existing versions of resources or systems using the Web Accessibility Auditing Instruction and identifying where design can be improved.

Project managers or equivalent

Analysis phase

  • Ensure that the widest range of visual, mobility, hearing, cognitive and learning limitations of people with disabilities is considered when developing conceptual models, design concepts and navigation systems.
  • Develop and test design prototypes and include people with disabilities in design walkthroughs and prototype testing.
  • Apply the standards set out in the University’s Web Accessibility Policy when developing prototypes.
  • Engage an accessibility specialist to review design prototypes using the Web Accessibility Evaluation Instruction.

Project managers or equivalent

Design phase

  • Evaluate all page or screen templates for compliance with the standards using the Web Accessibility Evaluation Instruction before populating them with content.
  • Attempt to ‘lock down’ accessible design features in templates.
  • Monitor compliance during the build phase.

Project managers or equivalent

Build phase

  • Evaluate a representative sample of pages or screens for compliance using the Web Accessibility Evaluation Instruction.
  • Involve people with disabilities in usability testing.

Project managers or equivalent

Test/evaluation phase

  • If a style guide is developed for the system or resource, ensure accessible design standards are included.
  • Develop a quality assurance process that includes checkpoints for compliance with accessible design standards and ensure those engaged in implementation or roll-out know how to use this process.

Project managers or equivalent

Implementation phase

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