Many accessibility problems would be solved if business did three things

Three adjustments to the way we do business could vastly improve the world for people with disabilities

Sheri Byrne-Haber, CPACC
5 min readFeb 15, 2022

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I’ll be honest, most of the time, when I do panels or talks on accessibility, I recycle a fair amount of old material.

  • How did I get into accessibility? Check, have told that story dozens of times.
  • What makes accessibility harder than it needs to be? Check, choose one or more of lack of leadership support, low budget, or poorly established disability ERG groups. Insert anonymous anecdote here.
Harry Potter-like setting wtih open books, lit candles and someone in wizards clothing waving a wand over a smoking kettle
Photo by Artem Maltsev on Unsplash

Authors note: Because of Medium’s refusal to address its accessibility issues for both authors and readers, I’ve moved my last three years of blogs to Substack. Please sign up there for notices of all new articles. Thank you for your continued readership and support.

But last week was the first time that I had been asked on a prep session for a panel, “If you could wave a magic wand and solve any accessibility problem, what would it be?”

That one was a stumper. Because the panel is for a company’s internal use and won’t be released externally, I’m going to publish my answer in my blog because it might not be the answer you suspect.

Wish 1: Require at least one accessibility/universal design class for all software or business-related degrees and bootcamps.

Let’s do a quick root cause analysis here.

Why causes inaccessible software?

The answer is either one or more of:

  1. Accessibility wasn’t included in the MVP;
  2. The designers didn’t know how to make it accessible;
  3. The engineers didn’t know how to code the software in an accessible manner;
  4. The QA team didn’t know how to perform manual testing with assistive technology.

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Sheri Byrne-Haber, CPACC

LinkedIn Top Voice for Social Impact 2022. UX Collective Author of the Year 2020. Disability Inclusion SME. Sr Staff Accessibility Architect @ VMware.