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Accessibility and why you should care

ibn_abubakre profile image Abdulqudus Abubakre Updated on ・2 min read

Web Accessibility (2 Part Series)

1) Accessibility and why you should care 2) Web Accessibility (Visual Impairments)

Remember that one time you were going through your twitter timeline and you came across the #a11y hashtag and have always wondered what it meant? Or you heard the term accessibility and didn't know what it meant?? Or perhaps you knew what it meant but didn't know why you should care???....This is the article for you.

What

According to wikipedia, Accessibility is the process of creating products that are usable by people with the widest possible range of abilities, operating within the widest possible range of situations.

So what does this really mean? Imagine you have an office or an apartment situated at the topmost floor of a 12-story building which happened to have no stairs, no lifts, nothing. That's not so bad right, I guess superman and other flying superheros could come visit you in your apartmentπŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

What if the building had staircases? People would be able to visit you by going through 11-12 flights of stairs. That works, but what about older people or people in wheelchairs that cannot climb the stairs? I hope you get where I'm going with this.

Basically something accessible is something anybody can use regardless of their condition.

Why you should care

I'm a frontend developer, I've built my web application with html, css, javascript and it works fine so why should I worry about accessibility?

Well, let's take a look at this chart
Statistics showing web users in 2020

According to statista.com about 4.57 billion people use the internet as at April 2020, which is around 60% of the total world population and the number keeps rising, here's a live stats of those changes.

That is a lot of users to be concerned about when building our website, but that's not all. According to world bank, one billion people, about 15% of the total world population experience some sort of disability. These disabilities could include but are not limited to

  • Physical disabilities
  • Intellectual or learning disability
  • Visual impairments
  • Hearing impairments
  • Neurological disabilities

Which begs the question, are you willing to neglect 15% of the world's population when building your website?.

But it's not just that. Remember the goal is make our website accessible to everyone irrespective of their condition. This also includes people using mobile phones, smartwatches, people having poor internet.

Not to bore you with too much talk, I'll be writing about how you could improve your websites accessibility in another article.

NOTE: look at your website's accessibility as a objective, a goal to work towards rather than a feature.

Cheers πŸ₯‚πŸ₯‚

Web Accessibility (2 Part Series)

1) Accessibility and why you should care 2) Web Accessibility (Visual Impairments)

Posted on May 31 by:

ibn_abubakre profile

Abdulqudus Abubakre

@ibn_abubakre

Front end developer, JavaScript enthusiast, Community Builder

Discussion

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One of the biggest arguments I find to use with people who try yo push back against a11y: accessible websites benefit everyone, not just those with disabilities. It's known as the drop curb (or curb cut) effect.

Drop curbs were installed originally to benefit wheelchair users, but actually ended up benefitting far more people, such as those with pushchairs, delivery drivers, even skateboarders!

Same thing occurs with closed captions/subtitles. Ever been on a bus without headphones trying to watch a video? Ever tried to watch a film at night without waking the kids?

Good accessibility is good UX. Good colour contrast helps all people in bad lighting conditions, image alt text helps everyone on slow or metered connections. The list goes on!

 
 

The main problem here is always the same: clients are rarely willing to pay for accessibility compliance. At least here (Italy).
When I give them my estimate for a project, they always say: "That's too much man-days! Why is that so?" And the first things they cut out are tests and accessibility πŸ˜”

 

Oh wow. Sorry about that.

I don't know if this help, but for me, I try not to mention explicitly that I'll be handling accessibility. I just make sure the amount paid for workmanship covers that