Is Accessibility becoming more mainstream?

Over the past few months I have seen a change in the accessibility world. Several large companies I’ve been involved with have adopted accessibility regimes, and I‘ve had an much easier job convincing clients that accessibility is an important requirement of web projects. The latter in particular has knocked me for six… it used to be such a struggle! My technophobe mother even understands how important accessible design is now!

So, what has happened to change the mindset of big companies and designers about the importance of accessibility?

One mainstream global, commercial reference to the benefits of accessibility that I can think of was during the release of the Apple iPhone and Snow Leopard operating systems. The accessibility benefits / improvements of these products were clearly documented and advertised alongside the other product features. I have written about the accessibility improvements in both of these products in previous blog posts:

Apple iPhone Accessibility

Snow Leopard Accessibility improvements

To a lesser extent, Microsoft also highlighted the importance of accessibility in there release of the Windows 7 Operating System :

Without a shadow of a doubt, social networking, blogging and especially twitter have all had their part to play in the ‘education of accessibility’ too. Accessibility literature seems to be everywhere!

Although the mainstream knowledge of accessibility is a great step forward, there is still a long way to go. In my experience, accessibility features may be implemented more frequently in web design projects, but often with little understanding of the reasons why such features are important. This can create a difficult (dangerous?) position where designers believe that they have fulfilled the accessibility requirements of the project without truly producing accessible, usable products. Sometimes, poorly implemented 'accessibility features' can be more difficult to use than none at all.

Can you think of any other mainstream advertisements / mentions of the importance of accessibility?

Have you also noticed a change in the acceptance of accessible design?

I would be very interested to hear your thoughts and comments.

Also, please don’t forget to contribute to my recent online poll to find the most accessible, and most usable websites…
Online Poll : Examples of websites with good 'accessibility' and good 'usability'


Posted byCharlie M at 00:59  


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