wd06: Gian Sampson-Wild - Taming the accessibility monster
Eight steps for taming the accessibility monster
- Step 1: Choose the right developer
- You need people who really do know what they're doing, who know how to build for accessibility.
- Work to fix the problems, don’t just blanket ban things
- Try to say "yes" instead of "no"
- help get people on side by sharing the knowledge
- ran lots of training sessions
- get accessibility into contracts
- make sure you can hold people to a standard
- Listen to the people who are testing, listen to complaints, listen to everything…
At one stage Gian actually heard a site owner claim "disabled people don’t use our site". As it happens, Gian had a friend with a vision impairment who had used the site in question just days earlier...
What are the top priority actions to start moving towards accessibility?
- Alt attributes for images
- Ensure the site works for keyboard users
- Code tables properly
- Degrades ok without CSS
- Equivalents for js flash etc
- Forms – really important. Labels, etc
What is the state of accessbility-related litigation in Australia?
There have been three HREOC claims since Maguire vs. SOCOG, all three were mediated out rather than going to court.
Re: litigation; is the problem having an inaccessible site, or refusing to fix it once there’s a problem?
HREOC are required to try mediation first, so you don't suddenly get sued with no recourse.
Is there a big gap between WCAG 1.0 and testing with real users?
Yes – the guidelines are really old and reality has moved on. That’s why you need to do real testing.
What is your position on alternatives that take more effort to use…?
No, it’s not fair; but life’s not fair. Disabled users also tend to be more used to dealing with less than perfect situations.