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Re: multimedia accessibility a specialist skillset?

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From: Tim Harshbarger
Date: Dec 14, 2006 12:17PM


I am not so certain that the most important issue with developing
accessible technology has to do with gaining the knowledge or skills
necessary to develop accessible technology.

There are plenty of good resources (like WebAIM) for learning how to
create accessible sites or applications. Most of the techniques are not
even that difficult to do once one knows the technique. There are some
very challenging accessibility issues, but with some creativity, access
to users with disabilities, and a desire to create an interface that
really works for the users, most can be resolved satisfactorily.

I think most of the time the issue that still creates the most problems
is the perception that "we don't have any users with disabilities" or
"people using screen readers don't use our site." I find if I can get
people beyond this point to understand the real impact of accessibility,
the accessibility issues are not any more challenging than any other
technical issues that need to be resolved in order to create a good
quality site or application.

One thing to remember about professional developers is that they do not
create applications or sites in a vacuum. Developers create
applications and sites at the request of others. While it is helpful if
the developers embrace accessibility, I think it might be more important
that the people requesting the application or site want the product to
be accessible.

Tim