26124+ “Accessibility” Events in 2017, Why You Should Care about Accessibility

You may have heard any of the following terms floating around: a11y, accessibility, usability, Section 508, and the list goes on. You might have heard them tossed around or seriously discussed at conferences, on news websites, or maybe even from your friends. You might even be trying to adopt accessibility practices on your own websites!

If you don’t know what these terms mean or why they’re important to tens of millions of people globally, read our previous post here.

But if you do know what they mean, perhaps you’re still wondering: I’m busy enough as it is. Why should I still care?

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some things we’ve noticed about the rise of web accessibility, and why you should join the movement. We’ll also talk about just how easy it is to start!

Conclusion #1: Developers seem to love accessibility more and more

Chart showing Github repos created per search term throughout time on Github for the terms a11y and accessibility

This is really interesting. If you look at the number of repos created each year for both search terms, things seem on the rise*. Growth in this respect seems similar to, if not stronger than, that experienced by other hot search terms:

Chart showing Github repos created per search term throughout time on Github for the terms distributed systems, mobile, machine learning, and react

This still isn’t as strong of a signal as what we’re about to share.

Conclusion #2: The accessibility community is getting bigger and louder

We turned to the accessibility-themed Twitter accounts of Google and Facebook, as well as the biggest Twitter accounts out there on accessibility. Just to learn about how much the discussion has grown throughout time, we scraped these accounts to see how much they posted throughout time.

Chart showing number of Tweets per Twitter handle throughout time for the handles @googleaccess, @fbaccess, @webaim, and @a11yjobs

What you are looking at is a chart showing how many times each Twitter account posted per year. The increasing trend is pretty clear. @googleaccess and @fbaccess have generally been talking more and more about their accessibility efforts over time, and @webaim and @a11yjobs both talk more and more every year about trends, news, and opportunities in accessibility.

Chart showing number of Tweets per Twitter handle throughout time for the handles @webaxe and @paciellogroup

Here’s another chart that shows two more Twitter accounts. Again, we can see an increasing trend from when each account was created**. We moved these accounts to a separate chart because they post a lot more frequently.

Furthermore, if we look at events offered on the popular events site Eventbrite, we can see that events matching the terms: visually impaired, screen reader, voiceover, and braille are becoming increasingly popular.

Chart showing number of events matching query terms on Eventbrite per year for the query terms visually impaired, screen reader, voiceover and braille

If we look just at the number of events matching the terms: accessibility and web accessibility, we can see just how many events around the world are being held on accessibility: 26124 in 2017 alone!

Chart showing number of events matching query terms on Eventbrite per year for the query terms accessibility and web accessibility

I bet that if you look on Eventbrite for events on accessibility around you, you can find a couple. We implore you to find some time and attend one of these events. Tweet at us, message us on Facebook, or email us to let us know which ones you attend and what you learn. We’d love to hear your experiences on making the web a more inclusive place.

Get involved

I hope that you can see that accessibility is becoming more important and popular. Get involved! Find a local meetup or attend a national conference. We listed a few of our favorite accessibility conferences below. Maybe we can meet up at one in the future!

Accessing Higher Ground

  • Accessible Media, Web and Technology Conference)
  • Mid November in Westminster, Colorado
  • Topics: production of alternate media, legal and policy issues, instructional material and web accessibility training

WebAIM Two-day Training

  • Few times a year inLogan, Utah.
  • Topics: basic training to advanced web accessibility

CSUN Annual International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference

  • March in San Diego, CA
  • Topics: ranging from web and document accessibility, a range of assistive technologies, policy development, etc.

All of the code we used to get this data is available open source at our Github repo. If you have ideas for improvements, please let us know!

Limitations of this study

*We want to caveat this by saying that we used the Github API to give us results on repos that are relevant to each search term, and we’re not 120% sure what it’s giving back to us. We say this because there are a total of 7360 repos relevant to search term “accessibility” as of December 9th, 2017, but the distribution it returns throughout the years only sums to 1000 repos. We believe that Github returns a proportional amount of repos for each year to make the total sum to 1000, which allows us to maintain a relative growth metric throughout time, much like what Google Trends does.

**It’s pretty difficult for us to pick out a single control to show how posts about accessibility are on the rise compared to posts about anything else, especially if we’re doing this analysis on a per-account basis. For example, we tried to get stats on Starbucks’ Twitter account, but Starbucks posts so often that Twitter refused to give us stats past a year.