Busting the Myths of Accessibility

Teemu Suoranta from Aucor wrote an excellent article about myths and prejudices of accessibility. Article is in Finnish and here is the short summary and “translation” of that article. I added my own twist here and there.

Accessibility is not just for people who are in wheelchair or blind

As a side note I’m still shocked what happened to ex top level gymnastic Jari Mönkkönen. After flip he landed badly on his neck and was paralyzed from the neck down. I hope all the love, courage and strength to him and his family.

We might think that I don’t need accessibility. I’m not blind, I can use my hands and mouse, my eyesight is perfect, I have the sharpest HD screen and wi-fi is super fast. I don’t know anybody who have disabilities.

As a developer we might think that accessibility makes sites ugly, it only affects really really small amount of people, it’s just an extra cost without a return, it’s too hard and unimportant. Our site is not targeted to people with disabilities.

Guess what. Take your head out of your ass for a minute.

There are other people than you on this planet. There are lot’s of different kind of people on this planet. In most cases we all want to experience the life and perhaps even interact with the web.

Okay I have to leave Kyle’s story here even if it’s not the best example what I’m after. But he’s so cool.

Who needs accessibility?

Who needs accessibility anyways. Let’s give couple of examples from Teemu’s article.

  • Do you have big hands and find websites difficult to use on mobile or touch devices. Everything is just too small to click.
  • Have you been in sites where the content is hard to understand. There might be lot’s of unfamiliar words (like a11y), too long paragraphs, no headings, or no bullet lists.
  • Have you broken your hand and now you’re navigating websites using keyboard.
  • Have you seen sites where text color is light grey. Go to that site when you have crappy monitor, bad eyesight, or you are just getting old. You can barely read the text because of the low color contrast.
  • Not all people read and understand English, not to mention Finnish. Multilingual sites can be one part of accessibility.
  • Do you browse websites using assistive technology like screen reader.

You probably got the idea. We all need some form of accessibility at some point of our lives.