Why I Care About Accessibility

As part of Global Accessibility Awareness Day, the folks at Fresh Tilled Soil asked me for my thoughts on accessibility. So here they are:

And in the spirit of accessibility, here’s a transcript of the video:

Yeah, accessibility matters a whole lot.

Historically we thought of accessibility from the point of disabilities and that’s still obviously really important and we need to be considering those things. I’ve just heard absolutely awful things in meetings from stakeholders and clients and things like that. “Oh we don’t care about blind people. Oh we don’t care about these people. These people aren’t our target demographic.” And they sound like huge assholes in the process.

But the beautiful thing is that with the proliferation of all these Web-enabled devices: iPhones, iPads, e-readers, netbooks, notebooks, TVs, game consoles, watches, whatever – all of a sudden this notion of accessibility isn’t just a matter of righteousness or trying to serve people with disabilities, it’s really about crafting experiences that are meant to be interacted with no matter what environment or device or configuration you happen to have.

So that’s the beautiful thing about our current Web landscape is that it’s forcing our hand into creating more accessible experiences. And you can ignore that at your own peril, but at this stage in the game, I think that it makes a lot of business sense to make accessible experiences instead of going “Oh we’re only worried about X.”

I think that companies and people that focus on making accessible experiences will be more successful in the market, not just in today’s landscape, but in whatever landscape happens to come around the corner a year or two from now. Because nobody knows what devices, or environments, or inputs people are going to be experiencing our sites and apps down the road, but that’s what we need to be thinking about today.

That’s why I care about accessibility.