We need to talk about accessibility. Again, and again, and then some more

A few weeks ago I flew to the UK to spend some time with my boyfriend. I landed in Norwich, and, to my surprise and delight, we disembarked through a wheelchair-accessible ramp instead of the usual steep airstair.

The disembarkment was not slower because of a piece of accessible equipment was used.

Personally, I found it a great experience. It was dark and wet, a typical British afternoon. Even without any mobility issues, I am pretty sure it was easier for everyone to walk down this ramp instead of watching down our steps while balancing suitcases, umbrellas, and passports.

I never saw one before, not even when I was travelling 50% of my time, across continents and the experience filled me with hope.

Hope for a world, and by extension, a web, that puts people first.

On my way back, we used a regular airstair and I was quite disappointed. There are two flights a day, on average, at Norwich airport and, as far as I could tell on a dark and wet afternoon, they had two ramps. But even if they had only one, there is enough time to use it for the two flights.

Now, I left the aviation industry in 1999, so I am definitely not up to speed with the latest directives about airport handling procedures. But I have been working with web technologies since the same year and while I was waiting for my connection in Amsterdam, I read this

And when I landed in Torino, I read this

And well folks, at that point I was pissed off. Really, really pissed off.

How self-absorbed are you if you never take into consideration abilities, skills, levels of knowledge different from yours?

There might be logistic reasons for Norwich airport to not use the awesome ramp, but what is your excuse to use bloated, useless, non-accessible code?

So again, I ask you to think and talk about accessibility: don’t do it to be a decent human being – although that should be reason enough – do it for the money.

Around 15% of the world population lives with a disability. The number increases if we take into account temporary or situational disability.

Can you afford to lose clients because your “Buy now” button is not a real button?

I am by no means an accessibility expert, but I am a pissed, shouty middle-aged Italian woman and I think we can all do better.

How can we do our part on the web?

First of all, we need to educate ourselves.

My recommended resources are the A11y Collective (where Rian teaches!) and the Deque University for developers and

Then we need to be allies and practice what we preach. Don’t miss an opportunity to start conversations about accessibility. From learning to use a screen reader to asking people to consider accessible solutions, there are hundreds of small and big things we can do to improve the quality of life of everyone.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *