What Web Accessibility is – and what it isn’t

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Happy Global Accessibility Awareness Day everyone!

In honour of all the people struggling to do basic things on the internet, let’s define what Web Accessibility is – and what it isn’t.

1. Accessibility is not just a ‘nice-to-have’

Accessibility is not a ‘nice-to-have’ that you can do in ‘phase 2’.

Accessibility is as fundamental to your site being successful as SEO. Your customers need to be able to get from the top of the funnel to the bottom. For that to happen you need to remove any barriers that stand in their way.

That’s Accessibility.

2. Accessibility is not just for ‘disabled’ people

Accessibility is not just for those who are legally deaf or blind, dealing with brain damage or confined to a wheelchair.

Accessibility is also for you as you age, for you when you hurt yourself, for you when you’re having a hectic day, and for you when you’re out and about and using your mobile with all your faculties. Accessibility is not for ‘other people’, it’s for all of us and it’s for you.

That’s Accessibility.

3. Accessibility is not just about HTML codes

Accessibility is not just about slapping some ARIA roles and attributes into your code and running it through a validator.

Accessibility is about showing as much love to retired users running free AT (Assistive Technology) on ageing desktops at the public library, as to those running the latest version of JAWS on the latest version of IE on their brand new tablets. And it’s about realising that those people are real people, like you, and not annoying standards or automated software algorithms.

That’s Accessibility.

4. Accessibility is not just about adding plugins

Accessibility is not about making your users work harder by overloading them with accessibility ‘features’. It’s about you working harder, so your users can consume your product/service/content with minimum effort, before getting on with their lives.

That’s Accessibility.

5. Accessibility is not just other people’s problem

Accessibility is your problem. If you aren’t writing your code yourself, then you need to be voting with your money and your feet for software that is coded responsibly, and goes way beyond feel-good marketing messages.

That’s Accessibility.

This is a repost from my LinkedIn account.

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