One facet of the web that gets criminally underrepresented is the idea of accessibility. That is, who can access the content in our website or application. I’ve tried to make my website as accessible as possible by:
- Using semantic markup with ARIA landmarks
- Stating that the site is in English in the html tag so that screen readers know which pronounciation to use
- Use semantic structing of HTML to provide consistent tree of representation
- Provide alt text for images
Could I do more? Absolutely:
- I could provide a better contrast of colors for people with poor vision or color blindness
- I could test the website using a screen reader or just the keyboard
- Plenty more, if I researched it more
Why don’t I do these things? I have no good reason. It comes down to:
- My aesthetic preferences
Do I really think that people who fit these criteria visit this site? Or anyone for that matter? Not necessarily. But that doesn’t mean I should be a gatekeeper and prevent those people from consuming this website. It’s not a matter of who my audience is. It’s a matter of treating people ethically on the internet.
The web is a powerful platform because of how easy it makes content available to people around the world. It only takes a bit more effort to make that content available to more diverse audiences than we expect. Because if I build websites and applications based on my expected audience, then I am always accidentally forgetting someone based on my own bias or ignorance. Even if I strive to acknowledge all groups, I’m going to forget someone, simply due to lack of exposure or experience. And that’s not fair to that person or group.
I’ll be doing some research into color and other accessibility concerns. Some changes you might see, some you might not. But someone else may, and for the first time, be able to see this content. That’s who these changes are for.