Rethinking accessibilityPosted on: March 17, 2015 Posted in: What we're reading
Ms Gibson argues that present approaches to web accessibility, although a good start, are flawed because they focus on what people with disabilities “lack” in ability. In her words, “We need to stop invoking the internal stereotypes we have about who is disabled…. We can reframe accessibility in terms of what we provide, not what other people lack.”
This “ableism”, in her view, can result in an “us versus them” approach to web design. She says:
It may be more effective to see our differing levels of ability as a spectrum instead of a setting. There are people who will always self-identify as having a disability. There are other people who will never see themselves as disabled, despite needing accessibility technology such as glasses, canes, or track balls. In between, there are infinite combinations of needs, some of which last for mere moments, and others which last for the life of the person.
In support of this, she points to her “Alphabet of Accessibility Issues” – 26 real-life examples of needs for accessibility which may be invisible or temporary.
Ms. Gibson also touches upon the notion that exhaustion, illness or stress – all common in people facing legal problems – can affect one’s ability to perform online tasks. We find this concept important to keep in mind when developing legal information intended for a wide audience.
What do you think? We’d welcome your comments below.