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Accessibility represents maturity

Posted in Accessibility

I was reading Daring Fireball’s summary of Esther Crawford’s ‘Twitter before and after Musk’ post and a paragraph on the difference between hardware/physical design and software design really stood out to me:

Software demands more creative discipline than hardware, because so much discipline is baked into the nature of creating hardware. Hardware instills discipline in people; people must instil discipline into software.

I’d say that accessibility is a great measure of mature, disciplined software production.

Accessibility, unfortunately, isn’t even an after-thought in self-proclaimed ‘move fast and break things’ organisations. They build for one group of users (and they’re not disabled users), and customer support is often the only form of user feedback they get.

The truth of it, though, is that accessibility actually makes it easier to move fast, and there’s no need to break anything! Accessibility:

  • narrows down design choices, making the ideation much more time-efficient
  • promotes the use of a design system, which streamlines the whole design and development process
  • makes it easier for everyone to use an interface or complete a task, removing the need for extra work-arounds for some groups of users
  • opens designers up to fresh approaches to meeting a user needs
  • removes a great deal of the re-work that’s necessary when the accessibility penny finally drops

Twitter, where one of Musk’s first moves was to lay off the entire accessibility team, is an example of a company that’s heading in exactly the wrong direction.

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I send an accessibility-centric newsletter on the last day of every month, containing:

  • A roundup of the articles I’ve posted
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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. The accessibility conversations you want to be having

    In most companies, accessibility conversations centre around WCAG compliance, but that’s just the start. Thinking beyond that is where you want to be!

  2. Screen reader users and the tab key

    People who use a screen reader on a laptop/desktop generally use the keyboard, but that doesn’t mean they use it like a keyboard-only user.