Gutting the ADA doesn’t mean accessibility should stop

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Adding accessibility or using Universal Design doesn’t work if all we focus on is complying with laws. If you like the ideas around free markets and capitalism, you could focus on the potential increase in customer base if your websites, stores, or products are accessible. If you like the idea of education for all, you could focus on how many more students might graduate if all schools, colleges, and universities implemented more accessibility and followed (or even tried to follow) all students’ IEPs or other accommodations plans. If you’re interested in the Black Lives Matter movement, being accessible to D/deaf, mad, and disabled people and amplifying their needs will help the movement. If you want our elders with dementia to have more peace and calm as they age, you can look at interior design and decorating as part of access. If you think sanctuary cities, DACA, and supporting immigrants and refugees is a good idea, you have to include supports for people with disabilities because we are people. You get what I’m getting at, and really, all of these examples are totally intertwined. Today, I’m talking about websites though.

The administration is gutting pieces of the ADA, and it looks like there will be fewer regulations to comply with. And yet we’re not off the hook. Because accessibility should not be about complying with a law. It could be about equity and participation and, well, treating humans like humans. I’ll remain a broken record on this.

Now that it’ll be harder to figure out what the regulations or guidelines are for accessibility, if you’re interested in having a more accessible website, you can still get resources about it!

Some people avoid access because they think it’s not needed or will cost too much for the value added. Some think that people with access needs don’t want or need their content without bothering to check with us. Others are scared that since no one can meet every single access need, why even try to meet any? I say go ahead and try to meet some. Do the best you can. Here is a wonderful article written in plain language about increasing accessibility for websites. It includes a lot of basics including some disability types, the difference between Deaf culture and talking about deafness as a disability, and how to start looking at meeting different people’s online needs. You don’t have to be a coder to follow these recommendations. And I hope that if you have a website or blog or run a Facebook page, you can pick some of these ideas and start adding them to have a little more digital inclusion.