Document Type


Publication Date



Background: Accessibility of digital materials within workplaces continues to be an issue that is not readily and completely addressed through legal compliance and institutional policy. Despite the lack of marked improvement in digital accessibility, many continue to pursue a policy approach to accessibility, including checklists and guidelines. Literature review: Despite the attention paid to accessibility and surrounding issues by scholars in the field of technical and professional communication, little direction has been given to help practitioners advocate for accessibility in the workplace. Research question: Can common ground between institutional values and accessibility be discovered and leveraged to motivate value-driven accessibility? Research methods: Common ground theory was used to code and analyze data obtained from research interviews of 18 university instructors to determine how they consider accessibility within the process of developing their course documents. Data were coded and analyzed to discover common attitudes toward accessibility. Results and discussion: The data revealed that although instructors approached accessibility differently, all were motivated to work for student success, a fact that indicated common ground between instructor practices and accessibility. This finding suggests that accessibility advocates can motivate value-driven accessibility by leveraging common ground. Conclusion: I used the revealed common ground to inform the development of a digital accessibility resource, which underwent usability testing. My research-informed design process illustrates that despite institutional variability, technical and professional communicators can find and leverage common ground to move away from a singular, policy-driven approach to accessibility in favor of a more sustainable value-driven accessibility, which generates and supports long-term accessibility design.

Copyright Statement

© 2021 IEEE. Personal use of this material is permitted. Permission from IEEE must be obtained for all other uses, in any current or future media, including reprinting/republishing this material for advertising or promotional purposes, creating new collective works, for resale or redistribution to servers or lists, or reuse of any copyrighted component of this work in other works. Doi: