Don’t use this as an excuse. Even awful is better than 98 % of what other people are doing.

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My primary goal in life is to convince people to make things accessible, which is defined as making products and services work for people with disabilities. But to avoid the peaks and valleys of the accessibility emotional roller coaster, people just getting started on their accessibility journey need to accept the following statement at face value: Your first effort at accessibility is unlikely to be outstanding.

Why?

person drinking cofee reading a book titled “expert secrets”
person drinking cofee reading a book titled “expert secrets”
Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

1. No one starts a new skill at the expert-level

Accessibility is like speaking a foreign language or playing the violin. It takes a lot of practice before you are any good.

Fifty guidelines? …


TL;DR: They internalize the dominant paradigm: abled is good, disabled is bad. Exhibit #1: Governor of Texas, Greg Abbott

Greg Abbot, Governor of Texas at news conference at the end of September 2020
Greg Abbot, Governor of Texas at news conference at the end of September 2020

Greg Abbott is a wheelchair user, only the third wheelchair-using governor in United States history. What happened that caused him to need to use a wheelchair is clearly outlined in a very inspiration porn-like page on his personal website, touting his victory over pain through “perseverance” and “triumph over tragedy.”

But that wheelchair-using history didn’t stop him from recommending to a state regulatory board to remove LGBTQ protections and people with disabilities in the state social work system. …


2020 accessibility lawsuits are on track to be close to 50 % higher than either 2018 or 2019. This article reviews a single week’s worth of those lawsuits.

Pad of paper with empty “this week” tear sheets on them.
Pad of paper with empty “this week” tear sheets on them.
Photo by Jazmin Quaynor on Unsplash

PACER is the go-to tool for lawyers wanting information about the status of and filings for particular lawsuits. But PACER is wicked expensive, especially if you are interested in it for trends/research and aren’t specifically looking at the data for litigation purposes.

I’ve been very fortunate that Jason Taylor from UsableNet, a provider of accessibility technology and services, collects data from PACER to help inform UsableNet’s future services and clients on ensuring digital inclusiveness and avoid legal actions. You can read UsableNet’s mid-2020 accessibility litigation update here.

I discussed the number of accessibility lawsuits being even higher than the last two years, despite court closures due to COVID with Jason on LinkedIn. Then, I asked him to provide me with access to one week’s worth of cases (it happens to be the week of Sept 21, 2020) to see if I could analyze them in a way that informs people and lead them to positive accessibility action. Of course, this approach presumes that the organizations that are not yet accessible are long past the “it’s the right thing to do” argument, or they would have become accessible already. …

About

Sheri Byrne-Haber, CPACC

Accessibility Architect @ VMware. W3C Silver, ITI & IAAP GLC committees. Degrees in CS, law, business. Wheelchair user w/ a deaf daughter.

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