The web was built for everybody; heck, it wasn’t called the World Wide Web for nothing. Yet, too often are the documents, tools, and applications created for this open platform inaccessible to many. Why build a home for all when only some can use the things inside?
“The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect.” — Tim Berners-Lee (the creator of the World Wide Web)
Accessibility can mean different things to many people. To a user in a rural pocket of India, accessibility can mean how fast an app loads on a slow network connection. To a blind user, accessibility can mean how well an application communicates back to him/her what is on the page. To all, however, accessibility means equal access and opportunity for everybody — no exceptions.
About a year ago, I started a small project designed to help make the web more accessible to all. Today, we published version 5 of the tool with many more features to come. Over the course of this journey, this plugin has made its way through ~10 million installs, ~85 thousand open source projects, and applications like Twitter, Facebook, and Airbnb.
I’m proud to have made a difference in helping serve the mission of the web and provide access to necessary tools for underserved users. However, our work is far from done.
I truly believe we can build better tools to automate accessibility testing and bring them closer to the development process. This means giving web developers real-time updates on the accessibility of their project so that it can be fixed now instead of later and integrating accessibility into the modern toolchain instead of as separate one-off tools.
I’ve started a new initiative to bring that belief to fruition and we need your help! Contribute, ask questions, and pledge to build amazing things for everybody. Here’s a little sneak peek:
Special thanks to Jordan Harband and Joe Lencioni for discovering eslint-plugin-jsx-a11y and giving it (and me) a chance to contribute in your project. Jordan is an open source warrior and responds to issues unimaginably fast.
Never-ending thanks to J. Renée Beach for her boundless accessibility knowledge, energy in pushing through meaningful features, and ultimate kindness. You are supremely valued!