We are supremely busy this month at Hop Studios, and therefore we almost did not get the chance to acknowledge the 11th Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD)! Since Web accessibility is my area of expertise, I came to the blog to post a little bit about why today is so important.
People who don’t identify as disabled may not realize the importance of accessibility for themselves for the times when they may effectively be in that category!
Statistically speaking, all of us will be permanently or temporarily disabled at some point in our lifetime.
Think of the times you’ve sprained an ankle, gotten a cut on a finger that makes it hard to type, or lost your voice for a day. Or what happens if you strain a ligament in your knee and can no longer walk up stairs without assistance? Suddenly wheelchair ramps and elevators have become vital for you to go about your daily life, when you did not notice them a day earlier.
Or let’s say you’re getting older, and your vision is not quite what it used to be - your cat “loses” your glasses for you, and suddenly being able to zoom in on a webpage could be critical for you to get the information you need at the moment you need it!
Furthermore, there are times when you are momentarily “disabled” – carrying a bag of groceries or a small child, suddenly you may need to do something one-handed. In a noisy environment like a mall, suddenly you may need to have access to captions or a text chat.
Today we can also take a moment to recognize that accessibility is not a simple slider of “bad” to “good” – you may have “great” vision but have colorblindness, visually induced motion sickness, or even some forms of epilepsy. Or you might have dyslexia, and a website doing something simple like avoiding all-caps for headers or buttons can make it that much easier to tell the difference between CHARGE and CANCEL.
And, of course, it is a financial benefit to the website’s owners not to have the customer service overhead of having to reverse a transaction that could have been avoided if the site had better accessibility in the first place.
In short, accessibility is for everyone whether you identify as disabled or not – not just one day of the year!
(We should mention: we will gladly produce a free accessibility report about your website for you. It will let you know where you could be improving. We all benefit from helping to build a more accessible world!)