Accessibility isn’t a buzzword, it’s personal

Accessibility isn’t about screen readers, contrast, or big fonts. Accessibility is about people. When I say people I don’t mean those people over there with a big “disabled” label. In fact, most disabilities that effect users of websites are invisible and you might never know it from seeing someone on the street or having a conversation with them. Even people without a disability may have trouble accessing a website or may need to take advantage of an accessibility feature. Accessibility is about you, me, your family, your friends, everyone. Maybe not now but chances are that at some point in all of our lives we will have trouble accessing a website. Lets say your eyesight is going, you forgot your glasses and can’t adjust your font size. At that moment that website has failed you for a single design decision. This article isn’t about the technical details or things you should look out for. Other people have written great articles on that.

For me, I design and build websites, read, write, design typefaces, write code, give lectures, maintain open source projects, and I have dyslexia and use a screen reader every day. Dyslexia is something I have struggled with my entire life and thanks to audio books, screen readers, and spellcheck I get by just fine. Yes, I can read, write, and do all these things but for long articles and books these are the tools that make something I struggle with a little easier. If your website is paginated, has alt tags with the same repeated text, or if you use icon fonts outside unicode private use area, then I will probably be annoyed screen reading articles on your website. My cognitive disability is invisible and the only way you would know is if you asked me or if you caught me reading something out loud. So next time you make a decision that might effect how someone interacts with your website don’t think about “supporting those people” think about showing what you made to your friends, family, and even yourself.