What are Tiers?
Tiers are a way to determine your organization’s current and desired accessibility management practices. They are a maturity model for understanding the accessibility maturity of the organization. Tiers can be for the entire org or specific departments and teams and be adapted to your organization’s needs.
There are four tiers:
- Adaptive: The topmost tier requires the greatest time and money to deploy and consists of organizations that are trained and adaptive to prevent accessibility issues and respond to accessibility barriers beyond defined accessibility standards. They are prepared to accommodate a wide range of user disabilities and accommodation requests.
Tier 1 and 2 typically are organizations that aren’t able to make their websites more accessible. Starting in tier 3, organizations actually have the processes and means to make accessibility improvements even if progress seems slow. Not every organization will be adaptive.
Once you understand your current and desired tier, you have a way to explain where your organization is at with leadership.
Who should use Tiers?
Any sized organization in any industry can benefit from understanding their current state when it comes to implementing accessibility. It helps get everyone on the same page about where the org is and where it wants to go.
Larger orgs or organizations working to get leadership buy-in can benefit even more from Tiers because understanding your org’s current tier and why your org is there can help communicate the issues with processes.
Explaining this alongside the desired state can be a strong way to communicate the org’s accessibility environment and potentially get buy-in from leadership.