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Web Accessibility- our responsibility as Web Industry Professionals

This post is also published at NCDAE, Access Tech News and the The Blind Access Tech Channel.

Summary
This is a straight forward message to those working in the web industry to understand that accessibility is our responsibility, and not something that should conveniently be ignored.

Our responsibility as Web Industry Professionals

It’s our responsibility as web technologists to deploy websites that are accessible by all internet users. If not us, who will?

If we, those who understand the various aspects of the web far greater than others, choose to coyly overlook this important factor of web design and development that offers benefits far greater than that of just making websites accessible by the disabled, then we are, in a way, failing to do our job with sincerity.

After all, access by everyone is one of the essential goals of the web. As Tim Berners Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web and W3C Director rightly put it, “The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect”.

About 10% of the world’s population suffers from disability of some sort ranging from minor to extreme. While some are unfortunately born with them, some acquire them later on in life, be it accidentally or be it something that we can’t avoid- like the disabilities that come with age.

While laws are getting stricter and accessibility law suits are being fought, though rarely are they won, the essence of the above is not to make us build accessible websites and applications as effective measure against them, but rather to take pride in understanding that we have the power to conciously create websites that can be accessed equally by all, regardless of disability.

Learn more about Accessibility

  1. Web Accessibility group on SlideShare
  2. Understanding Accessibility- Videos of users using Assistive Technology
  3. WebAIM- a web accessibility resource

PS: This is a message I composed years back to kick off the global web accessibility distribution list at Sapient (where I once worked) and thought it wouldn’t harm to put it up here. It would be fantastic if it makes a few of us think and change our attitude towards overlooking a minority section of web users even though its really not the right thing to do. If there were an ethics code for web professionals, I would like to see accessibility top the list.