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Re: two worthwhile reads


From: Denis Boudreau
Date: Sep 7, 2014 1:56PM

I agree with you, Karl. I know, this is not a good way to make new friends. ;)

While this is not the only reason and probably not the most important one either, our unreasonable expectations for perfection most likely explain why accessibility is viewed by a lot of people has being so hard.

If you follow the thread that was generated from my tweet (mostly from members of our echo chamber, unsurprisingly), you will see that a lot of really good, valid and legitimate feedback was shared. hat being said, what struck me yesterday as I was going through that feedback was that it seems like it is very easy for us to put the blame on the armies of developers, designers and otherwise clueless stakeholders out there who don’t get it right off the bat.

What we more rarely hear about (and was vastly overlooked in that Twitter discussion) is recognizing our own inability to make accessibility engaging, interesting or even exciting to people outside our field. Developers and designers are used to tackling hard problems, they do it all the time. If they’re not willing to tackle this one, maybe it’s because we’re partly responsible with all our religious WCAG compliance nonsense. And maybe managers don’t bite into it much because accessibility usually tastes like fear, uncertainty and doubt (make sure not to be sued).

By demanding nothing less than perfection, by setting these impossible to reach golden standards, and by quickly gunning down anyone who makes even the smallest of mistakes while trying to do the right thing, we are creating a situation where it just becomes impossible to please us. Of course, there are a lot of bad developers and designers out there, and then there are also the lazy ones (just like in any field), but I wouldn’t be surprised if most people who give up on accessibiility do so because we directly or indirectly drive them to do it.

I witness examples of our intolerance in email threads, blog post comments and on social media all the time, and so do you. If we lowered our expectations, were a little more tolerant and allowed people to make mistakes as long as they’re really trying to do the right thing, maybe we’d have more success and maybe our discipline would be more welcomed in the mainstream.

Unfortunately, it seems that for every accessiblity specialist out there who embraces a pragmatic, empathetic and welcoming approach to accessibility, there are about 10 who swear only but WCAG 2.0 hard-lines.


On Sep 6, 2014, at 10:13 PM, Karl Groves < <EMAIL REMOVED> > wrote:

> "do web accessibility professionals have a sense of humour?"
> It appears not.
> Sad, really.
> Denis Boudreau recently asked "A question for y’all this morning: why
> do you think people feel that web accessibility is so hard?"
> (https://twitter.com/dboudreau/status/508275085942464512)
> Here's why I think it is so hard: because accessibility people expect
> perfection and they're so willing to name and shame people who aren't
> perfect. Accessibility people are constantly fighting among each
> other and looking for stuff to complain about.
> Bryan tried posting something humorous. Yeah, it was off-topic for the
> mailing list, but who cares? I'd rather see humor on WAI-IG than
> another idiotic debate about whether everything needs to work on Lynx
> or not.
> People need to stop looking around every corner for the next thing
> that offends them and start looking for real, tangible, impactful ways
> to advance accessibility into the mainstream.
> On Sat, Sep 6, 2014 at 4:19 PM, Jennison Mark Asuncion
> < <EMAIL REMOVED> > wrote:
>> Hi,
>> Once again, WebAIM has done great work and has published salary and
>> other useful insights into working in digital accessibility. Results
>> of their summer survey are here
>> http://webaim.org/projects/practitionersurvey/
>> I also came across this piece and thought I'd share it. The '100%
>> accessible website' joke--do web accessibility professionals have a
>> sense of humour?
>> http://www.accessiq.org/news/w3c-column/2014/09/the-100-accessible-website-joke-do-web-accessibility-professionals-have-a
>> Jennison
>> >> >> >
> --
> Karl Groves
> www.karlgroves.com
> @karlgroves
> http://www.linkedin.com/in/karlgroves
> Phone: +1 410.541.6829
> Modern Web Toolsets and Accessibility
> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_uq6Db47-Ks
> www.tenon.io
> > >