Reasons to be accessible

Accessibility Posted on January 3, 2023

Not that you should need any reasons, but in case you're wondering what the big deal is, or you need some ammunition to persuade some stakeholders, this might help.

Heads up! I’m going to be continuously adding to this list as I come across more real stories out there in the wild. So be sure to bookmark this page and keep checking back.

These days, it’s very easy to take the internet, and technology in general, for granted. Especially in these “strange and uncertain” times when we rely so heavily on it to communicate, build futures and nurture relationships. I hope you can agree, technology is for everyone.

With that in mind, I want you to imagine that you can’t use the very device you’re using to read this blog post. Imagine you cannot see these words. Imagine you couldn’t click the very link that brought you here. Imagine that when you landed on this website, all you had to go by was a spoken “Link, Link, Image” with no context whatsoever.

I know that I couldn’t. That’s why I try to ensure that I always consider accessibility when I’m designing or building products. Let me be honest – I’m not perfect – but that doesn’t stop me from researching best practices and looking for ways that my work falls short. (Whilst I’m on the topic, let me know if there’s something wrong with my site that’s making it hard for you to consume the content or navigate).

The problem is that accessibility often appears as an optional extra. It’s something that “we can do later” (but later never comes). What some don’t understand, is that accessibility doesn’t always mean “completely unable to use a computer”. It could be as simple as text being too small to read (even at the ripe age of 31, I’m finding that larger text is already welcome).

In the UK alone, 21% of people reported a disability (source: Family Resources Survey 2018/19). That’s 1 in 5 potential users, customers, friends or family from the UK that may struggle using technology in one way or another.

Anyway, this blog post isn’t to tell you what you should, or shouldn’t do. It’s to let you know why. To really understand why, I’ve collected a few posts, videos, images, tweets, etc. from real people who have either had a really hard time using technology because the accessibility fell short or people who have been elated to use technology in a way they never thought was possible – making their lives betters.

1. The Last of Us – Part 2

The pure joy and happiness of Steve’s reaction when he sees the accessibility options in this game will certainly pull on your heartstrings. I can only imagine how proud the devs are over at Naughty Dog.

Steve has an awesome YouTube channel where he reviews games and hardware from an accessibility perspective and is totally worth checking out.

2. Increase video completion with captions

There are stakeholders and investors who tend to prefer performance metrics over feelings. So how’s this for performance? A 28% increase in completion rate with captions added to videos! There are lots of services now that automatically add captions, so all you have to do is double-check them.

Larene posts a lot of cool stuff on Twitter about accessibility and is definitely worth a follow.