Do It Myself Blog – Glenda Watson Hyatt

Motivational Speaker

Web Accessibility Not Only for People with Disabilities

Filed under: Blog Accessibility — by Glenda at 1:59 pm on Wednesday, January 21, 2009

While ringing in the New Year, I had for the first-time ever a clear vision and direction for the year: to share what I do know about web accessibility with fellow bloggers to build an accessible and inclusive blogosphere. But, what is web accessibility?

For the most part, people understand the need for ramps, elevators, high contrast signage, flashing fire alarms and the such to make the physical world accessible to people with all types of disabilities. But accessible websites? Isn’t surfing the web simply “point and click”? For some individuals, no, using the web is not quite that simple.

Like how people may enter your store using a wheelchair, walker, crutches or a guide dog, readers may visit your blog using assistive technologies (specialized hardware and software), mobile devices (i.e. iPhones and Blackberries) or even a dial-up connection.

Web accessibility enables all individuals to utilize websites and blogs, regardless of their personal capabilities or the technology they use.

Physical accessibility also benefits people without disabilities; for example, how many delivery guys hit the automatic door opener rather than trying to hold the door open while wheeling the cart through? Or, how many parents pushing baby strollers welcome curbcuts when crossing the street? Similarly, web accessibility also benefits people without disabilities.

Last month social media strategist Chris Brogan, who lives and breathes the web, sent the following sarcastic tweet when the Flash version of his bank’s website would not load for some unknown reason:

Message from Chris Brogan: My bank's stupid flash website isn't rendering, so I can't find info. Useful. Flash is so useful as the "meat and potatoes."

Because his bank also had a HTML-only version, an accessibility must for these types of situations, I found him the link and Chris was able to access the information he needed. (Note: perhaps the link to the HTML version needs to be in a more prominent location!)

Web accessibility benefits nearly everyone without most people realizing it until they cannot do something they want to.

If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a chai tea latte. Thanks kindly.

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5 Comments »

Comment by catherine

January 21, 2009 @ 9:25 pm

Glenda,

As much as I appreciate your effort here and understand the underlying strategy, I have to say :

“Accessibility is, first and foremost, for people with disabilities.”

Yes, as I, and others, have said many times before in various ways, accessibility can and will, in some cases, benefit people without disabilities, but, simply put, people without disabilities can generally live without it, whereas we generally can not. And I think that is where the importance resides.

I am quite sick of attempts of trying to justify accessibility with tales of convenience to delivery men and strollers and Google’s “blind spot”.

Can accessibility benefit others without disabilities ? No doubt.

But are we not worth it regardless ? Totally.

That is the message I want to hear and that I will promote.

Comment by Eileen

February 3, 2009 @ 6:55 am

Thank you for this important, concise, and entertaining post! It is empowering, and your blog is beautiful and inspiring!

Comment by Glenda

February 3, 2009 @ 11:18 am

THAnks for your kind words.

Comment by Tanya

February 4, 2009 @ 12:11 pm

hi everyone , Im a student at Adelphi and im studying to be a special ed teacher and i have some questions for anyone who would be wiling to answer them , i would really appreciate it and it would help me a lot .

1.what accommodations do you have make to minimize or eliminate your disability?

2.how do you feel about person first versus condition first terminology

3.is there a positive aspect to your disability?

4.would you eliminate or cure your disability if you could ??

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