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Accessibility by degrees

Posted in Accessibility

My wife and I have fully renovated three properties in the last 20 years. The first place was the easiest; not because there was less to do, but because we were renting when we bought it which meant we could continue living in our rental flat while we did the renovation work on the new one.

We had a full rewire, plastering throughout, new flooring, new kitchen and bathroom; the works. It cost a fair amount of money (not to mention effort!) but we’d budgeted for it and, because were able to do it all in one go, it was relatively cost efficient.

Our second and third places were also fixer-uppers but:

  • we didn’t have the luxury of renting while we did it
  • children were a factor; a toddler with our second place, and a 5 year old and a baby when it came to house number three
  • our renovation budget didn’t cover everything, so we had to decide what to do first and let our savings accumulate before moving on to the next job

All this meant we had to tackle each place room by room, so it:

  • was more expensive over-all
  • took a lot longer than blitzing it all in one go

This is a lot like most (all?) web or native mobile products on their way to being accessible. Rarely do we have the luxury of a full rebuild, and most of the time we do things like:

  • Upgrade the underlying technology (or sometimes technologies!)
  • Fix accessibility issues in the existing UI (user interface)
  • Replace sections of a monolithic product with more manageable microservices

All this while continuing to give our customers those new features that they’re asking for!

Accessibility is expensive if it’s not considered from the outset, and a lot of companies are finding this out the hard way.

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More posts

Here are a couple more posts for you to enjoy. If that’s not enough, have a look at the full list.

  1. Images as the first thing in a button or link

    If the text of an interactive element like a button or link is preceded with an accessible image, we’ve probably got an accessibility problem.

  2. Alt text for CSS generated content

    There’s an interesting feature in Safari 17.4 that allows content added with CSS to have ‘alt’ text. I’m not sure how I feel about this.