Tori Ekstrand has a great new piece on web accessibility at Slate. Here’s the core argument. Go read the whole thing!
Web accessibility for the disabled makes sense for a number of key social and economic reasons:
1. Web accessibility is something we all want and need. According the National Council on Disability, about 25 percent of people will acquire a disability at some point in their lives—yet when polled, only 2 percent of Americans think it will ever happen to them. The point here is Web accessibility is something we all will want and need—at the very least, we will have a family member who will want and need it…Web accessibility will benefit all of us, particularly in mobile (think screen readers, natural-language voice tools like Siri, closed captioning, etc.). Web accessibility, developers say, is a form of innovation that helps to drive development. It also attracts new customers and offers employers the chance to consider disabled workers in their hiring decisions.
3. We’re missing a hugely important voice in society. When we don’t include disabled communities in arguments about health care, the economy, parenting, and more, we miss important viewpoints. In addition, disability activists are mobilizing online in ways that weren’t always previously possible, and they are talking to one another across disabilities and on platforms that need accessible standards to do that. We need to support that communication across and among disability groups with accessible standards.
We can do this. And it needs not to be up to individual writers (though simple things like picture description is up to me, and to you, and to each of us), but built into the infrastructure.