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I’ve talked about the ‘who’, ‘when’, and ‘what’ of accessibility testing as well as the ‘how’ of accessibility testing. But what about the ‘why’ of accessibility testing? Why should you do it in the first place?

Many people push the legal aspect of the ‘why’, and in doing so, they also push the fear of lawsuits. That is not what I want to do. Accessibility by fear only helps businesses mitigate risk by doing the bare minimum (and probably do a bad job of it too). Instead, I want to help the human on the other side of the screen. Accessibility by compassion is the only way to create long term, positive impact. When you design with compassion, you take everything into account, go beyond the bare minimum, create something truly inclusive, and learn along the way.

19% or 1 in 5 people have a disability, and that is just in the U.S. But accessibility is about more than just helping people who have disabilities. Accessibility is accounting for all of the possible problems that people can have interacting with the content that you create. Those problems can be situational (holding a baby when writing an email, or watching a video in a noisy room), to temporary (an illness or broken arm), to permanent. When you account for that, the number of people benefiting from accessibility jumps to 100%.

At some point in your life, you will either find yourself, a loved one, or a friend in a situation where accessibility helps.

Just do what is right.


First posted on 23 May 2017