Someone asked me a brilliant and all-to-common question today: why do so many projects run through all their requirements and then tag on at the end “and it needs to be accessible”?
That’s like asking someone to plan a round-the-world holiday and then, just as you’re about to buy the ticket, asking if you can get everywhere by boat. You’ve just changed a core feature of your trip, now you need to start again and plan which countries have a coastline.
Yet, so often, people think accessibility is something you build on at the very end. As if you just need to make a few tweaks to what you’ve probably spend months planning and building.
But, I’ll tell you something – it’s not their fault.
Nope, you can’t blame someone who just wants to plan a new website for their business. You can’t blame a project manager tasked with delivering a flashy landing page for a new product. In fact, there are only two people you can blame: me and you.
We’re at fault because we haven’t educated enough people outside the accessibility community. We’re at fault because we don’t say in the first meeting, “lets build this website so as many people as possible can use it.” We wait until someone asks and that needs to change.
I’m not suggesting we become accessibility rioters, just good role models. Let’s make sure we talk openly about accessibility right off the bat. With the right attitude, we can help educate more and more people about the benefits of accessibility.
When you start talking (either because you we asked or because you volunteered), set your sights high. Work to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). Start with WCAG Level A if you need to, but have a plan to get to Level AA. Tell people that these international standards are used to make a better and fairer internet and they can be part of that movement.
How do you make accessibility part of your work?
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