Web accessibility may sometimes be the road less traveled. The only way we can truly invent technology to provide equal access to the web is to experience being shut off from it.
This Person Is Not Welcome
This is the pain point from websites developed for a small percentage of humans disguised at perfectly abled. There is no such thing as a limitless human.
It makes more sense to meet everyone else on the planet.
How do you design to accommodate them? The strongest super powers we can possess are compassion and empathy.
The road less traveled is design for accessibility.
Web designers and developers can’t learn how to meet accessibility compliance success criteria and best practices if management and key stakeholders shove inclusive design to the side. There are maddening myths still held to this day that:
- Everyone has access to and can use the web.
- Everyone can use their website, software or mobile app.
- Everyone will share their website, software or mobile app.
Whatever gave them those ideas? Why are civil rights hard to understand?
What would make a company choose to disregard anyone wishing to use their digital product or website?
Persons with disabilities are not waiting around for businesses to figure out they are using the web. They find, use and share digital services built to include them.
It does not make business sense to ignore an enormous segment of the world’s population (20% globally), or even the simplest of human physical hurdles that come with aging such as eyesight, hearing and mobility.
- Test your colors. Do they pass color contrast tests? Avoid light gray text.
- Allow text to be magnified on mobile devices. Avoid tiny text.
- Add clear focus state identification for people who navigate without a mouse.
- Add proper alt text to images. Use the Alt Decision Tree to help you.
Sure, these criteria are basic. But, it’s these basics that are common WCAG2.1 failed success criteria errors found during accessibility testing. Automated testing does not catch all accessibility errors. Manual testing is necessary.
Testing with assistive devices that persons with disabilities rely on must be part of every business plan if a digital product is planned.
Companies that pretend to care about accessibility buy accessibility products with impossible claims such as preventing ADA lawsuits and using AI to make web pages legally compliant. This is an impossible claim.
Web accessibility may be an entirely new way of design thinking for some folks. It means getting out of your personal mini-world. Learn about the folks who are pushing back against the barriers thrown up when they try to read a page, use a form, or experience a video or podcast their way.
Nobody should be left out of the online user experience.