By: Maria Ciotec, Web Developer at This is Milk
My Digital Accessibility Journey
I imagine one day all digital content on the web will be accessible. Imagination is part of the creation process but imagination without transformation into reality won’t bring significant value. With that concept in mind, I have started my accessibility journey implementation in Neve. I didn’t previously have experience in implementing accessibility, but I have recently started to demonstrate great interest in the topic.
Knowledge is not something innate but rather something that we acquire along the way and therefore my interest in this topic grew significantly and I have learned lots of beneficial things in terms of implementing accessibility into a product. Since one of the core objectives of Neve is to make it accessible, I started to show interest in it from the very beginning.
I have made this objective one of my main goals and I am fully embracing it while developing Neve.
I immediately understood the importance of implementing accessibility into our product, especially when considering how helpful this can be for our potential users.
I felt like a knight who was chosen to conquer the unknown, to bring glory into the realm of Neve, hence my quest of implementing accessibility into the product has been my main focus ever since.
The Importance of Digital Accessibility
One of the key takeaways that I want to highlight is that accessibility is part of a good design rather than being considered a standalone feature. Therefore, accessibility should be taken into consideration from the first day of development because overall it brings benefits to the user experience.
When I think about digital accessibility, I think about equal opportunities for everyone, regardless of their abilities and circumstances. Accessibility should be part of the developing process and not added later on, as this will make the development slower and incur more costs.
Things to keep in mind when trying to make a website/app accessible
Accessibility is a vast territory and so I would like to highlight a few aspects that may be of interest when considering this concept. The most important thing of a website/app is the content and the way in which it is presented. The content must be consumable by screen readers and other assistive technologies such as text readers, screen magnification software, speech input software and alternative assistive technology.
Small changes can make a big difference
My goal is to make Neve accessible to everyone irrespective of their abilities and impairments.
Therefore, while I am developing Neve, I think about all types of users so I can consider all possible types of potential accessibility issues by developing features accordingly for the most common categories of impairments: visual impairment, hearing impairment, cognitive impairment, motor and dexterity impairment.
Accessibility helps not only people with impairments but many other people as well.
For example, video captions that help people with hearing difficulties also help a person who is watching a video on mute.
High-contrast text that helps people with visual impairments also helps people with normal visual acuity who are using the website/app outdoors in bright sunlight.
The future looks bright
Building accessible sites benefits everyone. It helps increase your audience reach, improves SEO, makes the site easy to be found, avoids any potential discrimination lawsuits, and gives an enhanced public image for your brand.
Good accessibility is a crucial element that can make your website/app more successful and ensure you reach a wider audience.