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Building Accessibility Culture by David Peter | Model View Culture


The world we live in perpetuates many kinds of ableism all the time. Fixing (“changing”) the world doesn’t rest on a single axis, or even three, but we can reduce injustice by making our websites and workplaces accessible for people with disabilities.

Building Accessible Websites and Products

The Internet is often touted as a neutral platform where everyone is equal. But if you want people with disabilities to use your website, people with disabilities must be able to access it. The United Nations, in a study of one-hundred websites, found only three websites met the international standard for accessibility. Out of a hundred, only three. This study is meant to be indicative, not exhaustive — and it indicates the Internet is not as neutral as we like to believe.

For a long time, I loved tech: from when I had my first personal computer, with a blazing fast 56k modem that dialed a noise I couldn’t hear but my mother could. I couldn’t hear the dial, but I didn’t need ears to post on forums, chat on AIM, play video games. But after years, YouTube became mainstream — without captions on thousands of hours of videos. One of my favorite games has voice-acting in all its cutscenes — without accompanying text. Podcasts these days have exploded in popularity — the ones I want most come without transcripts. I wish I were as interested in tech as before, but these small frustrations have built up, over years, as the world has continued ignoring me as part of its audience.

If you are a tech company committed to diversity, what does your diversity mean? Is it only for people who work for your company, or does it include who uses your website? If your website is for creative people, what kind of creatives does the website enable? Are they mostly white, middle-class people? The culture of the community your website fosters is just as important as the internal company culture. Heck, some users might even become your employees!

Our development teams must learn how to make websites more accessible. In my experience, people seem to generally agree that accessibility is important, but no one takes the plunge. That ends up being just lip-service, and is the same thing as not valuing accessibility.

Curated by (Lifekludger)
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