I am an advocate for people with disabilities’ right to a barrier-free environment. We have a right to be able to access content on websites. But with rights come responsibilities. We have a responsibility to know how to use the tools at our disposal. Web developers and site designers must ensure that web pages are written in such a way that the content can be accessed. But it is not their responsibility to hold the hand of their site’s visitors.
He Ain’t Blind, but He’s Got no Vision
I was meeting with a sports club for wheelchair users recently about their website. When we discussed website accessibility, one of their members, a wheelchair user himself, said that it didn’t matter. Let’s call him Bob (not his real name). Bob said that their "target market" was not blind people. This shows a lack of Vision, as well as a lack of understanding of the issues.
Google, the Largest Blind User on the ‘Net
It seems people tend to see accessibility as a nice bonus, but nowhere near mission critical. This is especially true when we compare the relative importance of accessibility and SEO. But what people forget is that search bots are a little bit like screenreaders. Accessibility is not only helping your visitors with disabilities, but it will help search bots to make sense of your site and to find your content.