Making a difference focusing on web accessibility

I have developed for the web professionally since 2008 and have done so full-time since 2016.

I only discovered web accessibility in 2021. Before that, I did add alt text to images, but not always and usually very badly.

Web accessibility does not get nearly the attention and respect that it deserves. Prioritizing accessibility in the creation of websites helps ensure that people with disabilities have equal access to information.

It took COVID-19 and everyone having to stay home during the early shut-downs for accessibility to come to the forefront of many people’s attention, including mine.

If you look at reports, such as The WebAim Million, you will find that the overall state of web accessibility is pretty dismal. The 2022 WebAim Million report showed that 96.8% of the top one million homepages had detected WCAG 2 failures. WCAG stands for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, which is the standard that most professionals test against for accessibility.

If almost 97% of the top one million homepages have detected accessibility failures, then we have a lot of work to do. The fact that we have a lot of work to do means that you can jump in and contribute immediately.

I’m in my second year of focusing on accessibility as a web developer. I have found that it isn’t incredibly difficult. Accessibility tends to favor simplicity over complexity as far as code is concerned. Use the tools that the browser and HTML, CSS, and JavaScript already give you. Supplement with ARIA where needed. And, as always, test, test, and test some more!

I will be blogging about how you can incorporate accessibility practices in your development work. This includes the coding and testing that you do as well as collaborating with other members of your team (including designers, developers, writers, project managers, etc.) to ensure accessibility is considered throughout your projects.

I’ll go over the simple things that you can start doing right now as well as the more complex things, such as getting buy-in from your teammates and clients, that may take more time and a concerted effort.

We need you in the fight to make the web more accessible for people with disabilities. We have an incredibly long way to go. It is not only one person’s responsibility; we all need to participate. I hope to make it easier for you to participate and join the next generation of web professionals that prioritize accessibility!