What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when we you hear the word Accessibility ? You would probably picture a person with a wheel chair or someone with speech related impairment. And for many of you accessibility is for differently abled people. You would have come across a lot of articles that talk about how the world around us is changing and become more friendly for differently abled people. Be it setting up of ramps or offering literature in braille. As a part of inclusivity and diversity most of the corporates too are ensure accessible work places for people with disability. But what if I told you that accessibility is for each one of us, not only for differently abled people. Yes, read on more about why accessibility for all, not only for the differently abled.
What is Accessibility ?
If you look up for Accessibility in a dictionary, it will throw up this definitions like the quality of being able to be reached or entered, the quality of being easy to obtain or use or the quality of being easily understood or appreciated. So the meaning of the word is clear, accessibility makes using things easier. Further according to Wikipedia Accessibility refers to the design of products, devices, services, or environments for people who experience disabilities.
Thus going by the definition, I’m sure that now if I ask you about accessibility, your mind will surely paint a different picture. In fact, I’ll go on to say that all the things that we interact with today make doing things easier. For instance an elevator makes it accessible for us to reach higher floors in a building. A pulley makes it accessible for us to pull things effortlessly. A magnifying lens makes it easier for us to view small things large. In fact even the colours on the screen you view on your computer makes it easier for you to read. With these many examples, I’m sure that you are now clear that accessibility isn’t just for differently abled people.
Accessibility at the heart of everything
Accessibility for differently abled people is about going an extra mile with the existing things we see around us. For instance, providing a ramp in place of stairs so that it is more accessible. Providing a braille enabled version of various documents/ journals so that people can read those documents. Having screen readers (that all of our smartphones have) to help the blind use the latest technology to make their lives simple. So there is a basket of things that one must keep in mind when developing something. Be it building a house or a software application, you need to ensure that every individual can interact with your product. After all Accessibility for all of us not only the differently abled.
For instance, I’ve received a feedback about my blog that the share buttons (by shareoholic) that you see below is not suitable for blind people. Not only that, many parts of the blog isn’t. And I know I surely need to look into these things soon.
Why don't you write about accessibility?
— Raghavendra Satish P (@artofvision) September 5, 2018
If you are frequent follower of my blog, you must be wondering why suddenly am I talking about accessibility ? Am I doing a sponsored post or helping a cause ? Well this started with a tweet I shared few days back. Shah Rukh Khan was holding an AMA session on Twitter to which I replied asking what should I write about next for my blog. Instead of SRK, my dear friend Raghavendra replied. He asked me to write about this and here I did. In fact this was long pending, from the first time we met.
Accessibility for All
Raghav runs a blog at DigitalA11Y where he talks about accessibility for software apps, websites and mobile apps. If you want to learn about the latest happenings in the field of accessibility, head to his blog. More over if you are based out of Hyderabad, you should take some time off and meet Raghav who’s an amazing person to spend time with. The way he uses his iPhone with the screen reader amazes me every time I meet him.
So I hope, that the next time you are asked about accessibility, you have a different opinion than what you had before reading this post. Accessibility for all of us and not only the differently abled people around us. If you have anything to share do tweet to me at @Atulmaharaj or say hi to Raghav here at @ArtOfVision