There have been several really thought-provoking posts about accessibility made over the last week or so, and while I'm marshalling my thoughts (and the several thousand words I've written in response) into something coherent, I thought it'd be worth linking to them. Accessibility to the Face from Northtemple
Here’s my point–if your brother or sister had a disability, you would give a crap. But you don’t have to have a sibling in a wheelchair to genuinely care, even if it’s only in your work.
Empathy is what separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom. We have an ability to imagine things the way that others see them and how it makes them feel. We don’t even have to have a disability ourselves.
And from my perspective, accessibility is about giving a crap.
Accessibility is NOT a checklist.
Accessibility is about usability.
Accessibility is a paradigm shift.
Accessibility is a personal issue.
If you read none of the other links in this post, read this.
Quid pro quo. The loose translation for the Latin expression is “you give me something, I give you something.” We give the world accessibility to our community, our language, and our unique perspective. In return, everybody understands more why accessibility is so important for everybody.
Is it possible to include accessibility support “too early?” I’m not saying it should be an add-on at the end of the process/project/product development cycle, but I’m very seriously wondering what the optimal time for integrating an actual accessibility implementation is? Is it enough to keep accessibility architecture in mind from the beginning, but not implement right away? Should we get the basics right first, and then build in accessibility support based on that previously envisioned architecture after we know we have a viable product? We continue to say that accessibility should happen throughout rather than just at the end, but would it actually be better if we left it out, just for a little while, at the beginning?
It’s important for us to recognize each other’s concerns. On the one hand we have technologists who want to create things to help make the world better–help people communicate more richly and quickly, to create technologies for self-expression and commerce. Rock on. We want you to innovate because you’re changing the world. On the other hand we have people who want to use the technologies and to participate in society. When the technologists say, “Don’t make me think about accessibility, I want to be innovative.” The response from people with disabilities can be hostile because the message from the technologists is, “I do not value you enough to include you in my innovation.”