When will people wake up to the fact that accessibility is an important matter?
People generally consider accessibility to be somewhat secondary, and it is often either forgotten, or just a quick afterthought. And I include myself.
We need to improve and work everyday toward accessibility for one, very simple, egoistic, reason: that person with accessibility problems is none other than ourselves. Yes, our future self.
What will we do when we’ll be cut off from the internet just because of a medical condition, either chronic or temporary? Well, it will be too late to think about accessibility then. So better start working now, right? What I want to do from now on will be to talk accessibility, and code accessibility into my work (also, i will recode this website).
To get us started, I think one of the main improvements for our websites, is making sure that we’re using proper contrast for our text. It often happens that, while a text might look good from an aesthetic point of view, it is not that readable because it lacks contrast. To improve on this, one of the best tools we can use is the Chrome Accessibility Developer Tools, which can be used quite easily by any coder who’s used to Chrome Inspect Tool or Firefox Firebug. With this tool, you can have any webpage audited to get some warnings about what to improve, or check individual elements. Jenn Lukas has written a simple and concise article about the usage of this extension, you can check it out on A List Apart.
Another nice tool that I’ve been using for this purpose, is the Color Contrast Analyzer Options Chrome Extension which helps you to visually analyze a page contrast. Nice tool.
The next step, would be read this WordPress accessibility codex article and then spend some time with the Just Ask book, also available in html format, or with any similar resource. At any rate, we should keep in mind that even the smallest step in the direction of accessibility, still is a step toward improvement, isn’t it? An inch is an inch is an inch. that’s what it is :).
I believe that a site should rather be easily readable and accessible than nice to look at. After all, we’re here to fulfill a mission, which is: spread information. That’s what the web is about. The web is all about accessibility.
So, let’s start from this small step – making sure our sites are properly contrasted, fonts are properly sized and overall readability is top notch.
We can then move on and improve on this, by properly catering for screen readers and other necessities. I know we can make it!