In my experience there are some people who really â€œgetâ€ the whole idea of accessibility, be it web or anything else. They understand the need for web site accessibility testing in the real world with disabled users. There are others, who have learned about its importance, sometimes through bitter experience. They too now understand the need for accessibility testing.
There is still a fairly large group of people who do not understand at all. It is not necessarily malice aforethought, although there are perhaps a very few who think that we crips and blindies and the like are such a small minority that we are really just an irritating nuisance.
But many people still genuinely and sincerely think that if you tick all the boxes for the web standards it will all work like magic. I wish it would, Standards are the basics. Get them right and it wonâ€™t be as hard to fix the rest. Web standards are objectively measurable. Many of the other elements which contribute to a truly accessible and usable web site are not objectively measurable. For example, there are still big debates around the use of colour, and in particular colour contrast. Look and feel is another contentions one, as is good navigation, never mind the level of language used on the site.
Standards will, and can, only go so far. The rest is up to planners, designers, information architects, web builders, techies, information managers, content writers and everyone who maintains the site. Listening to and learning from the people who use the site is critical, and learning from their experience, good and bad, will make the real difference between an accessible and usable site, and an inaccessible and user unfriendly site for disabled and older people and everyone else. A lot depends on how much the site owner cares about the customer.
AccEase people are passionate about making sure that all of the information for all of the people all of the time is a reality. To this end we will be increasing our user testing services soon to help web site owners make their sites more accessible. Watch this space!
Testing web sites with disabled people and implementing the test findings will make a difference, not only to us, who are after all 20% of the population, but to other users as well.
Nothing about us without us!