Accessibility matters. For everyone. For those of us who build the web, and for those who use it too. All of us.
Here's some great resources that caught my attention in recent days.
Anne Gibson writes that "Web accessibility means that people can use the web." in an article on List Apart about Reframing Accessibility for the Web. It's really good. She advocates creating a test matrix for accessibility and putting the focus back on the technology available, rather than the abilities of the people who use it. This is strong, clear practical advice we should all consider.
Ollie Campbell highlights some of the ways that older people use the web, and digital devices is different to how young people do, and to be mindful about our assumptions when designing for the elderly.
Discovering these resources pushed me to reframe some recent conversations about meeting accessibility guidelines. We often get stuck debating compliance details, when really we should be thinking about setting our content free as flexibly and cleanly as possible. We're not just ticking boxes. At least, I hope we're not.
Drupal is one of the best content platforms for web accessibility, but it still has shortcomings. Unfortunately, many people who lack the deep understanding of what makes accessibility important still build sites that don't meet WCAG guidelines. I think it's up to all of us to spend a bit more time getting up to speed on the intricacies, and build it into our practice, and not just meet those guidelines, but exceed them!
[Image from from the W3C's Web Accessibility Initiative Guidelines and Techniques page - Read a description of this image ]
Update 6 Feb: Included Ollie's article on designing for the elderly.