Your accessibility deadline is probably closer than you think

Published on May 8, 2023


You need to plan to be development complete a couple months ahead of your client deadline if you want to have an external auditor have time to confirm you have fixed everything they found in an accessibility audit.

What do you need to account for to meet work around accessibility deadlines?


You promised to deliver the final work product to your client by June 1. The final work product includes a letter of conformance from an independent 3rd party auditor.

Your teams are working hard to make it happen. All teams are involved in the work: Design, Development, QA, and other stakeholders. Security, performance, and accessibility are all aspects you focus on.

The plan is to have everything coming together and ready a couple weeks before the deadline. You’ve planned for last minute problems.

You will fly past your deadline and miss it entirely if that’s the plan.

A calendar with the 30th day circled in red. Red pins poking different dates.
Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

What do you need to consider?

Here are the things that you need to consider:

Let’s assume that the auditor already did a primary audit. You’re just working on remediation of the initial findings.

  • The auditor needs to have time to review or re-audit the platform.
  • They also need to have capacity. You don’t want to wait until the last minute to ask for a re-audit. Because you will discover that they already have a long list of audits to be done for other clients. You end up in the queue for July, or even maybe August!
  • The auditor likely will find defects that aren’t fixed to their satisfaction. There may be several outstanding defects. The auditors requires everything fixed before they provide a letter of conformance.
  • It is not unusual for anywhere up to 40% of accessibility defects identified in a first audit to be found not fixed, or only partially fixed during validation testing.
  • You may need a 3rd or even 4th round of auditing before the auditor can issue a letter of conformance.

So what?

What does that mean, concretely?

It means you need to plan ahead! You need to give yourself a significant buffer. You need to change how you think about accessibility work and deadlines.

You need to plan ahead and figure out how much time you need. Ask your auditor how busy are they typically at that time of year? Verify with them if they will have capacity to do the work if you send it to them at the last minute.

Make sure you have an environment ready to go. It needs to be stable. That is, you shouldn’t make any changes to the front-end. Not to the UI, not to the markup. It needs to not change for the duration of the audit.

Make sure you have a team on standby to fix everything that comes back as not being fixed by the auditor.

You need to be prepared for another audit so the firm doing the work will be satisfied that everything has been fixed correctly.

And only then can you get a letter of conformance.

Months ahead of the actual deadline

Assuming capacity from the auditor, you’re looking at at a couple months. Probably more.

Your June 1 deadline for delivery to client? If you want to meet that, you need to aim for end of March to ensure all’s lined up in time.