Article cover shows an art on dark background with yellow diamond centered with accessibility symbol icon on it.

The challenges of making a big product accessible and what I have learned from it

Jahde Vaccani
4 min readJul 31, 2021


When I first started studying about Web Accessibility, I thought I would take a couple of courses, and maybe with some certification and conducing some user interviews I would be on my way to be a specialist. But the truth is, this dream is not that easy. Actually, the whole idea of a specialist magically solving all problems is barking up the wrong tree. Let’s understand why.

A web product or content is made by people: copywriters, content creators, designers, product managers and so on. Sometimes, this number gets really big. So let’s take my context as an example: by the time I’m writing this article, I’m working for the biggest online education platform in Brazil, Descomplica. It is important for each marketing copywriter to understand how to communicate, how to speak with the public in order to guarantee the inclusion and diversity in our speech. It is important for each customer support employee to know how to deal and instruct people with disability when they have a problem.

Beyond that, the teachers will need to remember constantly that they can not count on clues that depend solely on vision, hearing or some high degree of knowledge when giving their lessons. The pedagogy team needs to create supporting materials in PDF with described images. Physical spaces must be designed for people of all kinds. Those are just a few examples but I guess it is easy to get the idea.

Now consider the amount of product and content legacy that is necessary to work on. Also, the number of people that work with and on it every single day. How can just one or half a dozen people make it all accessible? The truth is that the only way to make the change for real is to empower all employees so they will have the autonomy to search, learn, test and improve. Products and contents are a living organism — we need to feed and we need to take care of them and we can not make it on our own.

A girl wearing a black bionic prosthesis holds some white flowers aloft over her face. She has her eyes closed and her hair is colored pink and blue.
Photo by Pexels

Once the team has received training and had been introduced to the reality of people with and without disabilities that face difficulties every day, they will know what to do or, at least, in which direction to go. It is important to have a leader to instruct and to help, but do not think one can do it alone. People need to be all together for the same cause. Good leaders know that they will always be learning from people around them.

Practice makes perfect

A person that is constantly hearing about it, studying the subject and surrounded by people who breathe the same purpose, will usually be inclined to apply the new techniques in the work routine. They will be alert to articles, contents and what other people are doing and saying about it. This will naturally create the culture we always wanted to have in the first place, in which we strive to create with a more diverse and inclusive mindset.

Talk is cheap

Learning from courses, reading articles, being receptive to information will not give a person Harry Potter’s magic wand. Of course it is important and also trivial to study as much as possible, but only “real life” will teach what is needed to know. Every product, being real or virtual, requires a bunch of little details in order to make it work the best. And there is no instruction manual — it is possible to test color contrasts with online tools, but if that color works or not, is something to be discovered once it is tested by a considered number of colorblind and visually impaired users.

Same happens with keyboard navigation. How to know if it works? If it makes sense for the user and if the product is respecting WCAG? Well, to be sure of that, a lot of research will need to be done. And that is the best part of the job.

My personal conclusions

I have studied the best I can in order to improve my work and help my colleagues to know what to do. I am now responsible for the Accessibility Program at Descomplica along with an excellent designer and personal friend, Paula Brito, and the work to be done is huge even for both of us. Some of our roles in this program are to instruct and help the best we can, to map the areas involved, the measures to be taken and give workshops and trainings to the teams.

We are really proud of what we’ve done so far and we’re looking forward to see the day we will have it all accessible. But we also know that this path will not be short and the journey will not be easy. There is still so much to learn from our students and, as I have said before, that is the best part of it.



Jahde Vaccani

Design Lead, UX/UI, Web Accessibility, and Writer hobbyist