How to successfully kick off your Digital Accessibility Maturity Model (DAMM) journey

The AbilityNet Digital Accessibility Maturity Model (DAMM) is a free, open-source tool that helps organisations assess their digital accessibility maturity and develop a plan for improvement. The self-service version of the DAMM provides a comprehensive guide to help you get started, including information on the different stages of the process, the stakeholders to engage, and how to set achievable actions. 

You may have already explored the download pack, but maybe you haven't quite got started yet. That's not uncommon.  

We talk to a lot of people who are a little unsure about where to start and how to get going in that first step, but we've included in the instructions in the DAMM toolkit lots of information about how this works, so hopefully that's becoming clearer to you. 

This blog will give you some tips on how to successfully get started with AbilityNet's Digital Accessibility Maturity Model. 

Determining who should be involved

The first question you might ask is, "Who should be involved in the DAMM process?" While there isn't a one-size-fits-all answer, here are some suggestions: Outline of a group of people

  • The right people initially: The right people are those who actively participate and engage in the process from the start. These are the individuals who will be integral to your journey towards accessibility. 
  • Consider senior leadership: Reach out to senior leaders responsible for inclusion, digital services, customer service, or marketing. Their insights can be invaluable. 
  • Involve user experience and research teams: Connect with professionals who already possess knowledge of accessibility and can provide context to your survey results and comments. 
  • Think about HR, Legal, and Procurement: Even though they might not consider themselves initially involved, these teams are integral to the process. You might need to gradually draw them in. 

It's also important to include disabled people, who can provide valuable lived experience and feedback. 

The value of a comprehensive survey 

Gathering as much information as possible in your survey is essential. It provides a rich background that can be used during discussions in the initial workshops. It ensures that you're well-prepared to address accessibility concerns. 

The first DAMM workshop 

The first DAMM workshop is where you evaluate your organisation's accessibility across five key areas. The key dimensions that are central to delivering a successful Digital Accessibility Strategy are: 

Vision: Does your organisation have a clear vision, to help everyone in your organisation understand why digital accessibility is important and what you’re doing? Icons of a lightbulb, target with an arrow, a document with a magnifying glass and a graph

Leadership: Accessibility belongs to everyone, but you need someone steering them in the right direction – and the backing of senior leaders can be crucial to success.  

Processes: Building accessibility and inclusion into every stage of the development process saves time and money because you’ll get it right the first time, every time.  

Capability: Ensuring that you have the right skills and people to deliver your vision means you’re working together towards a shared vision – and you’ll go far.  

Procurement: You’re confident that purchasing decisions are compliant and contribute to your vision. 

These areas help set the stage for your accessibility journey. While the success criteria might not provide all the answers for your specific organisation, they will help gauge your maturity and steer discussions in the right direction. 

Who to invite to the workshop

Just like the survey, the more participants, the better. Aim for between 10 and 20 people, drawing them in from your stakeholder group. Some might not initially feel confident discussing accessibility, and that's perfectly fine. The aim is to start the discussion and provide a solid foundation for everyone involved. Over time, even those initially unsure will begin to connect accessibility to their work. 

Transforming your organisation into an inclusive and accessible space may seem daunting, but it's a worthwhile endeavour. This process has been adopted by many organisations, and we encourage you to take the first step, send out that survey, and start fostering a more accessible and inclusive workplace.  

Get help from AbilityNet 

We’re available to help you with your DAMM journey. If you're interested in working with our accessibility experts, you can contact us via our webform