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Accessibility is in the job description

2 minutes read

Product owners have a tough job. They are responsible for the direction, keeping the team focused in that direction and making sure once they get there, the product will indeed be of value to both customers and the business.

They handle things like:

  • grooming the product backlog
  • guiding the acceptance criteria
  • managing the different stakeholders

At the end of it all, they own the value the outcome team provides the customers. Understanding that value starts with the user. Figuring out what they need, their pain points, what's holding them back and how the product can get them over that hurdle is crucial in building a product that truly resonates with the users.

So the one thing product owners can't afford to ignore is the users. Among those users are the customers with disabilities. Overlooking the needs of these customers will lead to an inaccessible product that alienates a significant portion of the user base.

In order to gain valuable insights into the unique challenges they face and design solutions tailored to their requirements, product owners need to engage customers with disabilities through interviews and continuous discovery.

They need to do this early and they need to do this often if they want to ship products that ultimately drive business success. During the planning phase, the product owner needs to actively involve users with diverse abilities to gather insights into their unique challenges and pain points. This will inform the product roadmap and guide the prioritisation of accessibility.

It's also up to the product owner to ensure accessibility is integrated into the definition of "done" for each user story. Throughout the development process, the product owner needs to act as the champion for accessibility testing and involving users with disabilities to validate usability.

To help product owners, I've put together a checklist. It's free to download and free to use. It's aimed at product owners who want a more accessible outcome by weaving accessibility into the software development lifecycle.

Grab the free accessibility checklist!

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