Developing A More Accessible Web

Today at The Iron Yard we learned about Web Accessibility. It was always something I knew existed, but never cared to learn more about. This probably makes me a part of 99% of web developers out there working today. (Don’t quote me on that stat.)

While few websites are accessible and few developers are working to make the web more accessible to those who need it, there are people out there leading the way. People like the community of developers for the A11Y Project, or the Accessibility Team at Google who have made a course to educate developers about accessibility.

I am thankful that my education program is including web accessibility as well, so props to The Iron Yard! For the first time ever I was introduced to actually using a screen reader through ChromeVox. I turned my display off and tried to really get a feel for how a blind user experiences web pages. It was eye-opening.

Navigating such a visual medium with only audio proved to be an extreme challenge, and a surprising number of websites are not prepared to do this. However, some sites like LinkedIN, really surprised me on their level of accessibility. As soon as you hit TAB after navigating to their site, an accessibility bar pops up with an easily navigable menu for keyboards. It is awesome to see that there are businesses out there that take accessibility seriously.

I think it is very important to make a more accessible web. If brick and mortar stores are required to make their physical locations accessible to those less-abled, then their digital locations should be as well. I plan to be a part of the 1% of developers who are striving to make the web a better place, for all.