How did you get into Web accessibility?

In What's *Your* Story?, Ian Lloyd wants to know what made everybody get into Web accessibility. It's a great question, and I find it very interesting to read the stories people have posted so far.

Personally I have several reasons for advocating Web accessibility. First of all an idealistic one:

  • I want everybody to be able to use the Web. I am not disabled (yet), so I can (and am often forced to) muddle through sites that are badly built, but a person with a disability may not be able to. Since it is possible to build sites that almost everybody can use, I don't see why we shouldn't.

Then a few reasons that some may call selfish:

  • I do not have any problems related to motor skills, but I have a really hard time using dropdown and flyout menus, especially hierarchical ones, as well as phony Flash or JavaScript scrollbar imitations. Accessible sites in general either do not contain such obstacles or provide ways around them.
  • Despite having no substantial eyesight problems, I find reading tiny text (below 11px is tiny to me), low contrast text, and reading any size high contrast, light-on-dark text to be very straining. A website designed with accessibility in mind is less likely to cause legibility problems for me.
  • I like being able to use my keyboard to navigate websites. Accessible sites are keyboard friendly since they do not force people to use a mouse.
  • I am a Mac user. In the late 90's/early 2000's, plenty of websites either intentionally blocked access for Mac users or were built specifically for Internet Explorer for Windows, and did not work in other browsers. The situation has improved somewhat in the last few years, but it still happens. Since sites that are accessible to all do not shut out people based on the browser or operating system they use, I and all other Mac users can use those sites.

Head on over to and let Ian know why you got into Web accessibility. If you feel like it, you're welcome to post your response here as well.

Posted on February 27, 2007 in Quicklinks, Accessibility