When you “do” accessibility, you are always eager to get users feedbacks. What challenges are imposed by this particular website, or widget, and how to improve them, etc. And everybody agrees on the fact that the Web is an extraordinary opportunity for the persons with disabilities… provided that it is accessible to them.
But, how, exactly? I’ve been wondering. What would you do more, or less, or better, if the Web was accessible indeed? Which frustrations or disappointments would you avoid? What kind of new possibilities would you use? To sum it up: How an accessible Web would change your life?
My goal: to collect testimonials from “real users”, in order to understand what they expect, globally, from a world where the Web is accessible. Not “more accessible”, just “accessible”. Like if there was no barrier anymore to access the Web and its contents and services.
My hope is that we reveal trends and common traits in the users’ expectations. Perhaps we’ll get hints on what should be done first and foremost.
The question is open, and the proposed way to answer it is to post a comment to this article. No guidance is provided, to let you choose your way. You can identify yourself, or not. You can describe your accessibility needs, or not. You can be accurate, or remain vague. You can be specific, or generic. Do it the way you see fit.
Really looking forward to reading your comments!
11 thoughts on “How an accessible Web would change your life?”
If there were no barriers to content and services, I would do whatever I wanted to do. I would choose services because they suited my purposes, and choose content that suited my needs. Those choices would not be based on accessibility, but on the criteria that most other people use – quality, suitability, budget, appeal.
Thanks for this awesome comment, Leonie. Exactly the kind of feedback I was hoping for. Making an accessible website is not about being nice with people with disabilities. It’s just how things should be, which you express in the clearest possible way.
Given the technology we have at our disposal, the Web is a place where equality can, and must happen, regardless of abilities, language, age or whatever is subject to discrimination in the “real” world.
[comment provided via private message. Its author required to remain anonymous:]
“For me, lack of access simply means lack of productivity. I detest the time that is wasted in trying to get things done and solve problems”.
To me, an accessible web would mean two things. First, when I’d use a web page/app, everything would just work as expected and be intuitive and transparent. For example, I would always know what elements I in fact could interact with using my screen reader (e.g., buttons or links), and I would not have to experiment by hitting Enter on what appears to be a piece of text to discover it is in fact a button or link that did not have its role exposed to my screen reader for whatever reason. Another example, I would know, without having to hunt around, that a modal window or error message has appeared on screen, or that text has updated. A final example, I would know with certainty that I am not missing out on features or functionality which today may only be available by hovering over an element with a mouse.
Second, and equally important, I would never have to depend on seeing assistance to access information or to complete a transaction ever again. While I am really fortunate to be able to ping folks almost on a moment’s notice to get help when I need it (e.g., I cannot complete a reservation flow transaction because it isn’t accessible), I should not have to depend on someone else to interact with the web on my behalf.
To me, an accessible web would offer something much less tangible, but perhaps more important, than “being more productive”, or “being able to use XYZ service”. Leonie touches on it in her comment. An accessible web would be a place where I wouldn’t feel excluded. There are too many non-accessible places, policies, and even mindsets out there, “in the real world”. Facing these same, or similar, issues on the web just compounds the feeling of exclusion many people with disabilities, including myself, experience. This is where the idea that an impairment is not a disability until we encounter barriers comes in. Using a wheelchair is an impairment. Not being able to get into a building because of steps is a disability. Being blind is an impairment. Not being able to purchase an airline ticket because the website isn’t accessible is a disability. You get the jist, I’m sure. So perhaps, to some level, an accessible web would bring our impairments back to being impairments, rather than a non-accessible web making us disabled.
This question, if not the most important, is one of the most important things we could ask ourselves. In my day-to-day work, I often pause and ask this–to asure myself that I’m doing something that will reach millions of people.
Considering this question, I often look at technologies that rely on the web that especially those which relate to work environments. The U.S. is estimated to have between 40 to 70 percent unemployment rate among its population of disabled people. While I don’t know of world-wide stats, I would estimate these numbers to be higher in many other countries. This being the case, a complete accessible web would equalize the playing field for disabled workers around the work. It would no longer be a question of whether a disabled person could do their job as efficiently or as effectively as their nondisabled peers.
With everything from social interaction to purchasing products and services moving to the web, I find myself dreaming of a world where the lives of disabled people being far more independent with the web completely accessible. News, entertainment, shopping, work, and new unforseen opportunities for moving beyond the disabled person label.
ultimately, the accessible web could move us to a path where the person matters and not what the person can or cannot do.
An accessible world would mean that we would ALL be living in a better world – not just me as a person with a disability.
It would mean that there would be more empathy and awareness on the web – two of the biggest hurdles or barriers to web accessibility in my view.
After all – we are all people, people! 🙂
For me, an accessible Web would mean that I would use the tools and sites which have the information and resources I need, instead of the ones that I’m able to access. It would mean that when I spend my entire life on the Internet like many modern people, I wouldn’t get exhausted and frustrated and miserable by the end of the day, when I no longer have the resources to fight with technology in order to live my life. It would mean I would stop having conversations with coworkers and friends when they say “but have you checked X resource?” and I reply “actually, X resource is unavailable to me.”
Accessibility means all have equal access — that should mean that any device, old and new, screen reader, braille display, monitor, computer, tablet, web enabled phone (you get the picture) should be able to manage content — always and forever. No more “your browser is out of date” messages to push consumers onto the next platform, etc. If this is to become ubiquitous, the digital age has to stop abandoning products (and people) as it moves forward. Embracing the new should not mean burying the old because, there are people out here who can’t afford to keep up. That, plus all of what’s been said before, encompasses my idea of accessibility.
Well lets look at this from the standpoint of where we are today, all content from business is being pushed to mobile / computer based web portal. The community as a whole lives and breathes on their mobile phone for information but just as important the web. Here are some statistics I got for June of 2014. 46 % of United State Citizens used there mobile phone for it web browser. In Europe it was 28.8 and in Japan 55.4 %. I would love to have equal access to my mobile web features like my sight engineers and IT Pro’s I work with.
Secondly, I would like to be able to choose any platform for my mobile web access and have it be the same. I feel that I am hurt based on the platform I have to choose and get the support I need with the vendors I work with.
PC / Mac / Linux web support are here to stay and do very well for the consumers that use that platform. But in conclusion we are way behind our sited counterparts on the mobile end and this is the platform of demand and desire for everyone.