Life does not end with disability; it just takes a different turn

Recently, Léonie Watson published a blog post telling the story of her sight loss. With a lot of honesty, she describes her journey from being fully-sighted to totally blind, due to diabetes. This story is also about how she overcame this ordeal, retook control over her computer thanks to screen readers, and “rediscovered [her] love for learning”. Up to the point where she graduated in Computer Science, and went back working as a Web developer.

What Léonie does not tell, however, is the fact that she is one of the most respected accessibility consultant out there, modestly mentioning that she is currently “working and collaborating with lots of smart and interesting people” — meaning she is actually a member of The Paciello Group’s all-star team.

And that fact, to me, holds a very important message, regarding disability, and how human beings deal with it. Continue reading Life does not end with disability; it just takes a different turn

Accessibility: Should we complain about it, or fix it?

Victor Tsaran tweeted this morning:

Steve Faulkner replied to this strong statement and expressed a different view (read the full thread of replies on Twitter). Their exchange constitute a great discussion, I believe, and with their permission here it is, rearranged and slightly curated for a better readability. Then I add my own opinion about this question.  Continue reading Accessibility: Should we complain about it, or fix it?

A new accessibility business case – good news?

The WAI-Engage group has published, on its wiki, an article written by Peter Thiessen: Social Networking Application Business Case.The story is worth a read. But if you don’t have time: in short, it describes the hard path towards building a business case for accessibility. The author is a convinced advocate, but he struggled with his management while trying to prove a ROI for accessibility improvements.

Although he finally succeeded, I’m, personally, a tad disappointed by the fact that it took kind of a workaround: accessibility was sold through mobile development. All purely accessibility-related arguments were rejected, and only when it was paralleled with mobile adaptations, approval was won.

Which is not totally surprising… but it saddens me to observe that, even with considerable effort, it was not possible to prove that accessibility pays for itself – which I’m deeply convinced of.

I would argue that the problem was not the case in itself, but the lack of documentation to back up the assumptions made to support the arguments. We need more solid facts, believable and demonstrable figures, and realistic success stories.

So, in conclusion, we certainly must celebrate the fact that a high profile social networking company embraces accessibility as a business goal. But it’s still not the bullet-proof business case that demonstrates that accessibility, by itself, is a worthwhile investment.


How we could build a Body of Knowledge for Web Accessibility

It is now a well-accepted assumption that, in order to move forward, accessibility needs a unified set of resources that would be reliable, comprehensive, and easy to consume for users of all levels of proficiency in accessibility. There have been many discussions around this idea for a while. Yet, so far, it does not exist, for a disappointingly simple reason: nobody started it yet. And I’m afraid that, in the current state of things, nobody has the ability to start it the way it should be started. This article exposes the reasons why I believe so. But, moreover, it also explores some ideas and propositions that could change this state of things.

Continue reading How we could build a Body of Knowledge for Web Accessibility