Learnings about accessibility
Lasse Diercks
52

| The environment disables the people, not the other way around

Wow, this is a succinct and deep insight. I’ve never thought about the problem like this, but it’s so true. The designed environments that we construct — physical and virtual — establish abilities that are supported and those that aren’t.

Imagine an architect who put all entrance doors on the second level (no doors at street level). Only people who scale the outer wall would be able to enter. If you pointed this out to the architect and they said something like “we’ll add ground-level doors in a remodel later”, you’d think this person is crazy. It would be unacceptable. In the same way, we should judge a building with stairs and no ramps or elevators to be unacceptable in the same way. And so with digital products that assume certain abilities, like the ability to coordinate mouse pointing and clicking on small hit targets, for example. Or designing a typography with low contrast between text and background — the doors-only-the-second-floor of web design.