• 39th CSUN Assistive Technology Conference - March 18-22, 2024 at the Anaheim Marriott

    The Premier AT Conference

39th Annual CSUN Assistive Technology Conference Has Concluded

To Checklist or Not to Checklist, That is the Question

Date & Time
Wednesday, March 20, 2024 - 2:20 PM PDT  
Orange County 1-2  
Accessibility checklists are often one of the first things that teams ask for or create. They are often struggling to understand accessibility and just want somewhere to start. They want something that is quick and easy to use. They want advice that is specific to their role, or the thing they are working on right now. And yet, you don’t have to search far to find expert denouncing accessibility checklists. Complaints include that checklists oversimplify what is inherently complex. That checklists take away from what accessibility is about – people. That people develop a checklist mentality to accessibility without realising there is more to accessibility than what is on a list. "The Checklist Manifesto" by Atul Gawande highlights how well-designed checklists can help professionals manage complexity, reduce errors, and improve performance. Examples from aviation, medicine, construction, finance, and disaster response all show how checklists have led to better outcomes and increased efficiency. In this presentation, we take a critical look at accessibility checklists and how they positively or negatively impact the creation of accessible experiences. We analyse existing accessibility checklists against examples from other industries to understand if accessibility checklists can be improved, or should just be discarded. Last, we look at what other systems might need to be put in place given the checklist is likely here to stay, whether we agree or not.  
  • Higher Education
  • Information & Communications Technology
Audience Level
Session Summary (Abstract)
Are accessibility checklists the be-all and end-all of ensuring accessible digital content, or do they fall short of addressing the complex needs of diverse users? We take a critical look at checklists and when and how they should be used.  
Primary Topic
Digital Accessibility  
Secondary Topics
  • Design
  • Development
  • Information & Communications Technology (ICT)
  • Web
Session Type
General Track  


  • Sarah Pulis
  • May-Fei Lee

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