I spoke with Joshua Simmons for the A11y Rules Podcast. Joshua is on the Google Open Source Outreach Team and also sits on the Open Source Initiative Board of Directors. He had a lot of interesting things to say about web accessibility.
Josh also shared with us that he has ADHD, and that for him, the best websites are the ones with a clean layout and without many bells and whistles.
Josh was speaking about a moral imperative for accessibility. He explained that:
The people that we keep in mind when we build things or the people that we don’t think about when we build things, benefit or suffer at the hands of our design decisions.
If I run a popular web service that a lot of people end up using, but isn’t accessible for the 10% of the population, then I’m in a position where a lot of people have an advantage over that 10% of the population because they’re able to use this tool. It’s a matter of erecting artificial barriers when we create imperfect products that aren’t accessible.
I feel like it’s a matter of equality. I feel like it’s a matter of inclusivity. To not keep accessibility in mind and to design things accessibly is to shut people out and disadvantage them.
Not a feature
A one-liner I found particularly interesting was when Josh said:
Accessibility is not a feature. Lack of accessibility is a bug!
Adding accessibility to the curriculum
We were talking about the importance of teaching accessibility. Josh said that
All these people learning to do web and software development in bootcamps, and schools and tutorials, it’s important that accessibility is in the curriculum and it’s pitched as something that’s necessary.