What does website accessibility mean to you?
I asked the question
I posted this on LinkedIn the other day because I was genuinely interested into what this meant to other people. Here are some of the responses:
My superficial understanding
My superficial understanding of website accessibility is that it's a process to ensure that everyone can benefit from the value provided on a website. I'm guessing it's never done but always improving
For me, accessibility means that both the FUNCTIONALITY and the CONTENT of the website are inclusive for EVERYONE.
Too many times, the content is good, but the functionality is bad. Things like drop-down menus that aren't static and either go away or flip to a different menu if you scroll a bit too far. Or tables that aren't introduced so that screen readers suddenly start speaking gibberish. And my personal pet peeve, alt tags that tell me NOTHING about the image, but make for "good" SEO.
Other times, the useability of the site is right on, but the content's language is exclusionary. Especially in attempts at normativeness. People tend to forget sometimes, even among ourselves, that the disabled community wears many faces - sexual identities, races, religions, etc. In our attempts to include their DISABLEDNESS, we often trample their HUMAN-NESS.
So for me, it's not JUST about disability. It's about making our internet world open and welcoming to ALL, both IN and OUT of the disabled community.
Accessibility is giving
Accessibility is giving disabled people access to navigating a website without barriers and giving them their independence.
Nowadays with assistive technology there are so many features that can be put on to make a website accessible and inclusive for everyone
To me it means including as many people as possible by default. For example, my son needs to use accessible swings at the playground and if we’re lucky there are one or two at a playground. Most of the time there are none. If we included them at all playgrounds by default that would be accessible, instead of waiting for a community to request and fundraise for it.
When we add image descriptions to pictures on social media without waiting for people who use screen readers to ask for one.
When books are just as accessible in audiobook or Braille format as they are in paper or ebook format
When it’s just as simple to get a wheelchair-accessible Uber or Lyft as a non-accessible one (it doesn’t even have to have a lift. My dad’s wheelchair folded up and fit in a trunk, requiring no extra effort from the driver, but multiple times the driver saw him and cancelled the ride, refusing to even acknowledge him).
When disabled and neurodivergent people can exist in society just as easily as able-bodies and neurotypical people.
Wheelchair users shunned by taxis
I hate hearing stories about how wheelchair users lift rides are cancelled as soon as they see a wheelchair. Its disheartening.
Even if it took 5 seconds to put the wheelchair in the truck after the user transferred to the car, is the least someone can do, and take it out.
Where I live, there is a train station where a lot of the taxis line up in the taxi rank. I remember one evening I saw someone in a wheelchair approach the taxi rank and suddenly, the first 3 taxis all sped off. Perhaps all 3 of them suddenly got calls about someone a new booking. I fear that may not have been the case.
It is not actually that hard to do, grab a portable ramp and put it in place. Many taxis even have them built in.
taxis are different than uber/lift though as they arent personal vechicles.
Nontheless, if I were still an uber driver I would rather help a wheelchair user than drive a bunch of drunks from a bar. They are loud, onbxious, and sometimes don’t like getting out at the end.
What it means to me
Website accessibility to me means
Text is in a easy read format.
No pop up that distract you from reading.
No flashing images that are A distracting and B possibly able to set off seizures.
Not too much information crammed into one space, too much to take in at once.
An endless series of barriers
For me, Accessibility has meant barrier after barrier.
Whilst it should mean access, it has meant an uphill battle. Shouting that little bit louder, feeling frustrated when I can't access something because of yet another barrier. Educating and advocating until I can see the change.
I hope for the day when accessibility means ease of access for all and an inclusive accessible society.
Until then accessibility is an uphill battle and we all have to hold ourselves accountable to resolve.
Accessibility means able to read, hear & see things clearly. Any videos to use captions, booking elements to be accessible for all, especially hotels, - many dont advertise accessible rooms. Ensure all groups are able to view as a non disabled person can.
Any website where a person with cognitive, mental, or physical disabilities can seamlessly navigate, and be as functional as it is to anyone without a disability.
Would you like to find out more about this?
My TEDxTalk explains, in a very non-techy way, what website accessibility for disabled people actually means, how it affects your own website and what you should do about it. Please follow this link to watch it: https://youtu.be/i_Tjr6Mli4s
If you would like to find out more about website accessibility, we now have a website dedicated specifically to the subject! Please follow this link to visit it: https://accessibilityaudit.co.uk/
If you are interested in a free initial review of the accessibility of your website, why not book yourself a consultation? Please follow this link to do
Access by Design. Accessible Websites, Beautifully Designed.
Outstanding Website Accessibility Audits
Award-winning web design, Chichester.