Overcoming Accessibility Challenges: Escaping the Break/Fix Cycle for Sustainable Success

July 12, 2023

It is an alarming truth that a significant number of organizations find maintaining digital accessibility a daunting task. Studies show that 97% of the top million home pages contain accessibility issues, easily discoverable using free tools. Even those investing and prioritizing digital accessibility are mired in difficulty, struggling to make real progress. So, what’s the challenge?

These organizations often find themselves in a frustrating “break/fix” cycle: an unending battle against accessibility barriers that arise despite considerable investment in remediation. This blog post aims to shine a light on this prevalent problem, examining the causes and costs of the break/fix approach and exploring potential solutions for a better, more sustainable future of digital accessibility.

Understanding the Break/Fix Cycle

In the digital realm, the break/fix cycle refers to a common practice where organizations, after the development of their digital services, identify errors and then retroactively implement fixes. This reactionary approach considers accessibility as an afterthought, rather than an integral part of the digital experience creation life cycle. Consequently, new accessibility issues emerge as code is deployed or content is released, putting the organization in a repetitive loop of breaking and fixing their digital experiences.

This break/fix cycle is more than just a frustrating process; it's an ineffective and costly approach, affecting both the teams maintaining digital services and the users who depend on these services.

The Break/Fix Cycle: A Reactive and Costly Approach

The break/fix cycle is predominantly reactive, identifying accessibility issues only after a significant backlog has amassed. Attempting to resolve these issues, especially across vast digital properties, can be an extremely time-consuming and expensive process. This leaves fewer resources for innovation, building new features, and advancing digital capabilities.

Further, the break/fix cycle can be economically draining, with the cost of reworking live digital experiences potentially outweighing the development of new features. The subsequent disruption to roadmaps and missed opportunities for innovation present substantial financial and reputational risks, while often still failing to achieve the desired accessibility goals.

Breaking Free from the Break/Fix Cycle: The Agile Approach

After years of working with organizations striving to break free from the break/fix cycle, we at Zenyth have identified an effective solution: the shift to an agile approach to digital accessibility.

The agile approach champions accessibility throughout the entire digital experience life cycle, incorporating it into every stage of development, design, and content creation. In doing so, it transforms digital accessibility from an afterthought into a priority, allowing organizations to continually iterate and improve their digital properties.

This approach is not merely limited to developers. Designers, product managers, marketers, and all those involved in the creation and maintenance of a digital experience share in the responsibility of online inclusion. By distributing ownership and committing to ongoing learning and improvement, organizations can maintain streamlined workflows, manageable workloads, and accessible digital experiences for all users.

Zenyth: Your Partner in Accessibility

Zenyth is committed to helping you break out of the break/fix cycle and shift towards an agile approach to accessibility. We understand the importance of digital accessibility not just as a compliance necessity but also as a fundamental part of delivering an excellent user experience.

Our platform is designed to empower organizations to transition from the traditional break/fix cycle to a more agile and sustainable approach to accessibility. With our suite of tools and services, including both automated and manual testing, monitoring and governance, design evaluations, and role-specific training, we aim to make accessibility a priority in every stage of the digital experience life cycle.

The path to digital accessibility is not a one-and-done journey but rather a consistent commitment. It's time to move beyond the break /fix cycle, embracing an agile approach that aligns with your business objectives while creating more inclusive digital experiences.

At Zenyth, we believe in the importance of equal access to digital experiences for all. Reach out to us today to explore our comprehensive, end-to-end accessibility services and embark on a more sustainable path to digital accessibility.

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