Accessibility is about equality (and freedoms) !!!

Posted Tue, Jan 11 2005 11:38 by bill

Don Kiely blogs asking if folks are interested in accessibility.  Damn straight people do !!!

I still remember back in the mid 90's as part of the work I was doing at a local University I was asked to help someone with their PC.  The person in question was quadriplegic, and relied on voice operated software and a stick pointer they could use with their mouth.  That person's patience with their computer absolutely amazed me !!  No other humans would be so damn tolerant ...  But the reason for that is pretty obvious when you stop to think about it.  The computer allowed them to complete their university work in this particular case. But more importantly it gave them the freedom to grow to learn, to express themselves.

For many people with disabilities, computers are the key to liberating them, to giving them the freedoms we generally take for granted.  If we don't consider accessibility, we really are being a'holes when all is said and done.  Sure time and cost go into it, but that's probably why it is more important that these things be integrated into the development process from day zero, not tacked on later.  Winforms is a good start.  Perhaps we also need fxcop rules for accessibility, and some kind of testing application that checks for accessibility.  For web sites, we can always use Bobby Watchfire.

Anyway, to answer Don's question, yes people do care, especially those people with disabilities !  Perhaps we should all care a bit more, and perhaps there should be a UI certification which requires you spend some time working with people with disabilities and computers to start to understand just how very important this is.