Relatively, there isn’t a lot of great information about accessibility out there. You really have to seek it out. How many of you know what JAWS is? After popping up IE6/IE7/IE8 et. al. to ensure website compatibility, do you also check your content in a screen reader?
I would argue that it’s more important to make a site accessible than pretty for older browsers. For some people, an accessible Internet literally makes a world of difference. Although I’m a backend programmer, I’m still ashamed at how little I know. How about you?
Much effort is going into the semantics of HTML5 for the purpose of accessibility. I’ve been toying with this idea for a couple years, but now the time has come to ask for your help. Let’s work together and fix this oversight in our knowledge. As a community, we can work together to change the world.
First, let’s agree on a Global Accessibility Awareness Day. This will be a day of the year where web developers across the globe try to raise awareness and know-how on making sites accessible.
On this day, every web developer will be urged to test at least one page on their site in an accessibility tool. After fixing up the page, they are urged to blog about what they changed and inspire others to follow suit.
To plan for this day, meetup organizers, like myself, will be urged to plan an accessibility talk. If you can get someone who uses JAWS or a screen reader to attend and educate, this will be a nice bonus. Perhaps a hackathon is appropriate.
If you speak about web development, you are urged to prepare talks on this topic. You are among the most influential people in our industry.
If anyone reading this knows of organizations that would like to be involved in this effort, please help hook it together.
Let’s pick a day, tentatively, May 9th. Global Accessibility Awareness Day.
So what can you do today?
Spread the word. Provide suggestions; e.g. what would be a good hashtag for this effort? If you’re in the meetup scene, start planning. If you’re not in the meetup scene, then join.