Embrace the Challenge of Web Accessibility
Designers and user experience researchers Sarah Horton and David Sloan have drafted a manifesto for accessible UX. Here are some of their main points about accessibility.
- A core value, not an item on a checklist.
- A shared concern, not a delegated task.
- An intrinsic quality, not a bolted-on fix.
- About people, not technology.
Being able to access and use online information and services is a human right, and ensuring digital inclusion requires an active effort. To us at Siteimprove, accessible websites create a better online experience, not only for those whose use of the internet is challenged by disabilities, but for everyone.
In an interview with AMI (Accessible Media Inc.), Sloan stated that accessibility is a creative challenge not a challenge to creativity.
“It’s something that design teams should relish tackling,” Sloan said, “rather than be fearful of even thinking about because of the misperceptions that it constrains what you can do and what you end up with.”
From compliance to creativity
Sloan and Horton pointed out that perceptions of accessible design are changing: From an effort primarily driven by compliance requirements to something more user-focused, and from being purely a utilitarian pursuit, inclusive design can now be both creative and aesthetic while still following standards.
Awareness of inclusive design is growing. Google, for instance, has just launched an Impact Challenge putting $20 million in grants behind nonprofits using emerging technologies to increase independence for people living with disabilities. Google will then choose the best of these ideas and help them to scale by investing in their vision.
What can you do? When working with your organization’s website, it is easier to have accessibility in mind from the beginning, than having to retrofit. You can get started right away by watching our Introduction to Web Accessibility.