Why accessibility?

In a sea of endless blogs about endless topics, what am I blogging about and why is it important?

The answer to the first question is Web Accessibility.

So why is that important?

We as a society have gone to great lengths to be accepting of people of all cultures, backgrounds, ethnicity, social standing, or physical well-being. Any business worth its salt provides special parking and entranceways for the disabled, for example.

Do those same businesses make such considerations online?

The answer is a bit sketchier.

Accessibility seems to me to be a buzzword that people know in their hearts is important but wind up neglecting. Web site owners may have the noblest of intentions, but when faced with retrofitting a large site into rigid guidelines or jumping through a bunch of hoops when laying out a fresh site, things like money, resources and time tend stop it in its tracks.

A lot of people rightfully got scared about the much ballyhooed lawsuit slapped on Target by the National Federation of the Blind. Beyond a “Boy, now we -really- need to make our sites more accessible!” exasperation, how many of these concerned parties are actually doing what it takes to make their online identity easy for all people to reach, particularly those with disabilities?

In this blog, my goal is to share as much information as I can, as I learn it. I’m new to the web accessibility frontier — I’ll admit that up front. A few articles on the subject piqued my interest awhile back, and I’ve been scouring for more ever since.

Accessibility isn’t just about making your site as navigable for the blind as possible, or providing transcripts of multimedia for the deaf. At its core, following principles of web accessibility makes your site usable for the widest audience possible. A fully accessible site is clean, well-laid out, lighter, browser cross-compatible and intuitive — things that everyone ought to appreciate.

And so, here I am. I don’t claim to be an expert on the subject — I think that’s a LONG way off for now — but as a veteran of the web industry, I find the notion of making sites friendly to all comers a noble, vital endeavor.

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