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What’s One Thing I Wish I Understood Better About Web Accessibility?

Accepted submission by canopic jug at 2019-03-14 07:14:59
Career & Education

WebAIM [] issued a report last month analyzing the top one million home pages [] for accessibility and web designers Eric W Bailey and Ethan Marcotte each take separate, hard looks at it because it is indicating a very sad state. The report noted all kinds of problems, even including throwbacks like using tables for layout with 2,099,665 layout tables detected versus only 113,737 data tables out of 168,000,000 data points. Web designers, old and new, are largely failing in simple matters that were, or should have been, covered in Web Design 101.

Ethan includes in his summary []:

Those are just a few items that stuck with me. Actually, “haunted” might be a better word: this is one of the more depressing things I’ve read in some time. Organizations like WebAIM have, alongside countless other non-profits and accessibility advocates, been showing us how we could make the web live up to its promise as a truly universal medium, one that could be accessed by anyone, anywhere, regardless of ability or need. And we failed.

I say we quite deliberately. This is on us: on you, and on me. And, look, I realize it may sting to read that. Hell, my work is constantly done under deadline, the way I work seems to change every year month, and it can feel hard to find the time to learn more about accessibility. And maybe you feel the same way. But the fact remains that we’ve created a web that’s actively excluding people, and at a vast, terrible scale []. We need to meditate on that.

Eric also followed the WebAIM report closely []:

Digital accessibility is a niche practice. That’s not a value judgement, it’s just the way things are. Again, it’s hard to fault someone for creating an inaccessible experience if they simply haven’t learned the concept exists.

And yet, seventy percent of websites are non-compliant []. It’s a shocking statistic. What if I told you that seventy percent of all bridges were structurally unsound?

Original Submission