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Marius Bongarts
Marius Bongarts

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We Are All Disabled!

Annoyed looking mother holding a laptop while daughter is doing soap bubbles in her direction

Have you ever had a broken arm and struggled to reach the top left corner of your phone? Have you ever held your baby or needed to take care of your kids while working in the home office? Have you ever tried reading on your phone on a sunny day in the park?

That’s right; you were temporarily or situationally disabled.

When it comes to the term "disability," most non-disabled persons first consider permanent disabilities like blindness, deafness, or paralysis. However, disabilities are not always permanent.

We often forget that we are "dis-able" or, differently said, "not able" to do things all the time:

  • Ever tried to watch a video on the train without headphones? Wouldn't it be nice to have a transcript of the video?

  • Maybe you have had your eyes dilated at the doctor, and you couldn't see for a few hours. Wouldn't it be great to have a screen reader helping you navigate the web?

  • Did you ever get an ear infection and can't hear well for a week? I bet you wished all videos provided captions.

  • Have you ever worn gloves and couldn't use the touchscreen on your phone? Voice commands could help you out.

Especially with the growing proportion of people in home offices, the dimension of situational disabilities is growing. While these issues might not be long-term, they still make digital accommodations necessary. Sometimes it can help to imagine yourself in these situations to understand the importance of accessibility in web development. Putting yourself into those scenarios helps to realize why accessible technology doesn't just benefit users who are permanently disabled.

Making websites and web applications accessible benefits everyone — individuals, businesses, and society. High-quality products and services should be accessible to everyone at any time despite any disability. For instance, while non-color-blind persons can temporarily benefit from a high contrast functionality in the sun, many color-blind people constantly depend on it. This example also shows how an accessible design can improve the overall user experience and satisfaction.

Unfortunately, often very little attention is still paid to accessibility when building software and websites. That creates barriers that exclude people from using products and services. At the same time, the web offers all the essential prerequisites to enable unrestricted access for everyone. Correctly applied, it removes barriers to communication and interaction that many people face in the physical world.

In the following, I want to give you an overview of how web accessibility is defined. We will take the first steps to make your web application accessible to everyone at any time. Additionally, we will look at how to evaluate your website's accessibility degree.

Continue reading on Medium:

accessibility #html #webdevelopment

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