WebAIM - Web Accessibility In Mind

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Re: Elevator speeches about accessibility


From: Jesse Hausler
Date: Jun 11, 2012 5:03PM

I work in a corporate environment so keep that in mind with this answer.

I try not to focus on accessibility, but speak of the same things in terms of universal design. Universal design focuses on products that are people-centric, device agnostic, future friendly, as well as accessible.

When it comes to semantics, I ask people to consider how tools like Apple's Siri and future generations of Siri would interact with a webpage. If you wanted it to read a table, it would need to be a <table>. How would you ask it to start reading values under a given heading, or from a particular section of a page without headings. Search Engine Optimization also scores points in the semantic world with <title> and <h1> being the most important items for SEO.

How will the site breakdown when viewed on a mobile device, etc..

For keyboard access, I do mention people that have disabilities, but also mention that some people expect a user experience that responds to both mouse and keyboard commands. Many folks who don't have a disability use mouse and keyboard together without even realizing it. Webpage logins are one example. Username + Tab + Password + mouse click on Login.

I also talk about how in the age of webapps, we're really just simulating software applications, but we do it poorly. I frame UD as a matter of building high quality UI. UI that not only looks and clicks like software, but truly acts like the software we are emulating from an experience standpoint. It appeals to our QA team.. Sometimes :)


On 6/11/12 2:28 PM, "Karen Mardahl" < <EMAIL REMOVED> > wrote:

Hi Ryan

I think your answer is great! In this particular case, I was speaking to a
person who does not make web sites, and I was talking about his son. Would
what I said get passed on to his son or would he feel insulted by my not
uttering 100% positive comments about what I was experiencing. He is very
proud to see the success of his young son - naturally. Your answer would
suit the bill for this scenario very well.

I could say - ah, but coding accessibility is fun. It provides fun
challenges that let clever people demonstrate their skills.

That kind of answer might have gotten him interested enough to tell his son
about it. His son *is* clever and likes challenges.

It's manipulative, but that's OK for folks agitating for accessibility.
(She writes with a wicked smile.)

The other answers coming in are great. Different occasions call for
different responses. Some will freeze when a 6-syllable word is tossed
their way. Others will debate. Like Birkir wrote, "Good discussion, all
points are more than welcome."

Regards, Karen Mardahl

On Mon, Jun 11, 2012 at 5:35 PM, Ryan Hemphill < <EMAIL REMOVED>
> wrote:

> I have a thought - you might not like it...but consider it for a moment.
> I didn't get into web design to do social work.
> I also didn't do it simply because there was money in it. (no designers I
> know would ever quote that as a reason.)
> So why DID I do it? It can be stressful. It requires me to be
> ever-vigilant about new tech and whether or not I ought to learn it, which
> would take away free time from other activities in life. It often involves
> marketing professionals - also a peeve of most designers - and all the
> emails, suggestions and other 'requests' they send my way.
> So again - why do it?
> The answer is simple - because it is stimulating and fun for me to be
> CREATIVE and learn things that allow me to be MORE CREATIVE.
> In short:
> My belief? Forget the altruism. Forget the money. Focus on the
> creativity, because at the core of their passion, THAT is why they do web
> design. You want to get their attention? Show them how accessibility can
> be wicked creative, cool and/or fun to execute.
> <snip>