Making accessibility more real

To some web professionals, accessibility means nothing because they aren’t aware it exists. To others it is a checklist of items that need to be ticked off because their boss or client tells them to. Others yet may use the same checklist as a guide that helps them understand accessibility and how people with disabilities use the web.

But most of us don’t go further than that unless we have a disability. So let’s follow the advice given by Rob Foster in Accessibility to the Face and really try to imagine what it would be like to use the web with a disability:

For the next hour or so, I’d like you to imagine you don’t have any hands. All you have are elbows and forearms. How would you scroll down on this article? How would you close the window or switch applications?

Here are some other things you can do to help yourself understand some disabilities better:

  • Unplug your mouse and use only your keyboard to interact with the web
  • Unplug your keyboard and use only your mouse and a software keyboard
  • Turn off your monitor and use the site you are working on with a screen reader
  • Sit as far away as you can get from your screen
  • Leave your screen switched on, but turn down its brightness
  • If you have a laptop, try to get some work done on it while a friend is taking you for a drive on the bumpiest roads you can find

It’s obviously not the real thing since you have the option to stop being “disabled”. But it will help you better understand why accessibility is important.

Posted on April 14, 2009 in Accessibility

Comments are disabled for this post (read why), but if you have spotted an error or have additional info that you think should be in this post, feel free to contact me.