It’s been exciting to watch the production of this week’s webinar from a desk next to my friend and colleague Aaron – he’s one of my life heroes (though that’s another story). Through conversations with him and listening when Bree Compton (QA Accessibility Engineer) has stopped by I’ve been privileged to spend time “behind the scenes” as they’ve gotten ready to present this week’s webinar. Is it too clever to say it’s been eye opening?
Talking about accessibility sometimes feels a little like a food drive; something that we do occasionally, annually, or when we’re sure we need it. Something we do, quite frankly, to say we’ve done it. Certainly there are people like Aaron and Bree who’ll raise the topic early and often, but in an industry as large as ours, their voices are too far apart to have the impact they deserve.
But there’s a larger conversation that should happen around accessibility beyond the scope we normally talk about; heralded by more than just the front-line advocates and direct beneficiaries; if only because the audience for accessible websites is far bigger than we as developers consider. Take me, for example. I was born with fully-formed cataracts. In 1975 the solution to that problem was to remove the lenses in my eyes. I’ve worn contacts since I was 2 months old, and although I’m “high functioning” – people don’t know I have this condition right away – the standards advocated by developers like Aaron and Bree have a direct, positive impact on how I see the web.
I’m not alone. Both myself and an aging population means there are millions upon millions of people connecting with your site differently than you might expect.
My Web isn’t as wide as Your Web
Chances are, my screen doesn’t look like your screen. As monitors get bigger, designers and developers look to take advantage of the new width to pack more and more into each screen, and most folks enjoy 1900, 2400 or 3000+ pixel-wide desktops. Me, I just appreciate that everything on my display is a little bigger. If your site is much wider than 1000px, chances are I’m scrolling laterally to see everything, or else zooming out to see the design. I do a lot of zooming. Read more