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Discussion on: 🤷‍♂️ W1y d2s a11y h2e to be so b4y c9d a1d i10e? 👿

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sargalias profile image
Spyros Argalias

About the a11y, I personally prefer "accessibility".

Motivation

Honestly, I think the biggest issue at the moment is that a lot of businesses and developers don't care about accessibility and aren't even aware that they should care. I imagine if that is sorted, everything will improve for the better naturally. At least, with new laws and accessibility lawsuits targeting large corporations, people will slowly begin to care.

Another issue is design. We don't have labels on forms and stuff because we think it looks worse. But it makes usability worse for everyone, not just people with disabilities.

So I think the first step is to understand the problem and provide real motivation for it. I also think that the motivation has to be targeted at businesses. I.e. profit or prevention of lawsuits. Because it's businesses that employ us and will demand that we know particular things or not.

Resources

For the most part, I think accessibility resources that exist today aren't too bad. I just found them a bit scattered at first.

Some resources are good for the basics, but don't cover enough (in my opinion). For example:

  • MDN
  • Google developer fundamentals

I think the WebAIM resource is very good for learning, quite thorough and also has a quick checklist for accessibility work. But I didn't discover that resource for a while.

So my learning would have been more efficient if I had a good learning guide to start with, on what resources I should look at depending on how deeply I want to learn accessibility at this time.

Even better, it would be great to have a centralised resource for accessibility like what OWASP is. OWASP has the cheatsheet series, which is great for learning the basics of security as a developer. It has tutorial programs and such. It also has links everywhere for more information on specific topics.

Move accessibility workload into its own layer

Frameworks and programming languages handle important security concerns automatically. E.g. frameworks prevent (or warn you) from outputting raw HTML to the screen that came from user input. They provide mechanisms for authentication. Etc.

That work is removed from the developer and put into the framework, or the third-party service (e.g. Auth0), or the library (e.g. passport.js).

It would be great to similarly remove some of the accessibility concern from the developer and put it into its own layer.

That's how software keeps improving in general. We have layers built upon layers. Each layer is a separate concern that can be handled by a different team. That allows more layers of abstraction to be built on top, allowing us to do more with our software.

Anyway, these are some of my thoughts on the topic. What are your thoughts, disagreements, feasibility of these things?

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inhuofficial profile image
InHuOfficial Author • Edited

Motivation

That is the area that I have been working on.

I think you have probably hit the nail on the head when it comes to root driving factor.

The thing I find perplexing is that there is a wealth of evidence and information that points to accessibility equalling profitability but we still fall backwards.

As for labels on forms that is why I was wondering about splitting things by role. Designers may not like labels but good designers can work within restrictions and it ends up with creative solutions. If we said “designers, this is your responsibility” we could solve the game of “not my problem”!

resources

I think I agree the information is out there, but as you said it is a minefield (and when you get to “non standard” widgets / custom elements it is very difficult to know what is relevant) and very scattered.

The learning guide is an interesting point, yet again something that a few people have done a post on but perhaps something that has never been fully “roadmapped” for people. I will have a think on that!

As for the centralised resource....watch this space 😜

accessibility as own layer

I like this principle, however I think the reason we don’t see this is that it requires HTML, CSS and JS to work in harmony. I yet again think this is a great idea but can’t quite see how we could abstract it without creating a very opinionated library / platform (but that might be the answer!)

Great comment and I think you made some really interesting points I will have a think about! Thank you so much!

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sargalias profile image
Spyros Argalias

My pleasure. Those are just some thoughts for now. I'm interested to see how your work on this topic develops. Keep us posted :).

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jackplug profile image
Stuart Homfray

The thing I find perplexing is that there is a wealth of evidence and information that points to accessibility equalling profitability but we still fall backwards.

This - to me - is it! If we put aside the morality of deliberately ignoring a section of society, and look at it from the perspective of someone that - for example - just wants to make as much money as possible from their e-shop, then why would you not make it as accessible as you possibly can?

Some shop owners may say that their target market (ski / climbing equipment, or bicycles, for example) is not those requiring assistive technology, but those people have husbands / wives / partners / children / siblings / parents / friends too: people who may well be the target market.

And sometimes, accessibility is not only about those needing extra technology. Sometimes, the specific target audience have stressful days, or they are distracted, or it's sunny and not easy to see the screen... all kinds of reasons.

Bloody hell, even if you don't care about the 'soft stuff' like morals and rights 🤦, you must care about making more money, right? 😀

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inhuofficial profile image
InHuOfficial Author

It is really interesting to have someone recite my view on it so accurately. In fact I am not one who gives much credence to people who try and get accessibility enforced using the "soft stuff", as if society cared about morals and rights we wouldn't have so many issues in the world! 😋

I actually have a calculator I use as part of pitching for work where I show how quickly accessibility can pay for itself, especially when baking it from day 1 as part of the spec adds maybe 5-10% in costs (and that is for something complex).

I might do a post on that calculator actually, as it may help a lot of devs who sit on the "soft stuff" side of things persuade their bosses that they can easily get clients to pay for the extra work.

In fact you made me wonder if I should share all of my "secrets" now that I am taking the company in a different direction such as how I convey the scale of the market opportunity and the knock on effects of how making a site accessible can have huge benefits to a business.

For example people with disabilities might not be able to go anywhere else (as your competition's sites / premises are not accessible) and so will come to you.

Sounds harsh when phrased the way I put it but I portray it is a kind of "forced loyalty". As it costs a lot more to acquire a new customer than to retain a customer and upsell to them this is one that really makes business owners sit up and listen.

Then I point out that the disabled community is close knit and so one person can effectively give you loads of free word of mouth advertising as they found the one site where they can use it and it is a pleasure to use rather than a chore / impossible!

Is that something you think would be interesting, a "how to get key stakeholder buy in for accessibility" from my very clinical and cut-throat perspective? 🤣

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jackplug profile image
Stuart Homfray

Absolutely! I'm sure it would be far better than my exasperated, "Do you WANT to make more fckin' money or what!?!" efforts 🤣

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inhuofficial profile image
InHuOfficial Author

I will add it to my writing schedule (now I finally have one 🤣), it might be a few weeks but i will (try and remember to...) let you know when I post it!

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danm_c137 profile image
Daniel Morrison

I've been using the term inclusivity instead recently. I find it encompasses more of what I want to achieve, including layout for neurodivergent.

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inhuofficial profile image
InHuOfficial Author • Edited

Well as our company name "InHu" stands for "Inclusivity Hub" I can't really argue with using inclusivity! 🤣🤣😋

I only stick with accessibility in my articles as inclusivity also encompasses things like race, gender, religion etc. so I like to try and draw that distinction!

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jeraldmayer profile image
urv.arts

Totally agree with you.

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