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Becoming Aware Of Accessibility

I’ve been aware that my web site needs to be accessible to the blind since almost the beginning of my development career.  Back then web sites were all text anyway, and that kind of accessibility was pretty simple.

With the advent of images, tables, and frames, things got pretty crazy, making web sites completely unusable for the blind.  In recent years things have swung back to making it cool again to make web sites accessible to the blind.

But while I knew I should make all of my sites accessible, all of the time, I didn’t.  I was lazy.  I made a passing attempt at it, sure, where it was easy.  But really buckling down, doing tests, and making sure it was RIGHT is something I never bothered to do.

I’ve only met two blind web users in my entire life.  That surprises me actually, given the number of blind people in the world.  Both told me the same stories of struggling with even the most mainstream sites, the ones that have the budget and time to make things perfect, and simply don’t.

I’d like to change that in every instance that I can.

This week’s HeroPress essay is by Amanda Rush.  She’s a full time freelance WordPress developer, accessibility consultant, and is on the WordPress core accessibility team.  She’s also blind.

Through hard work, determination, and some difficult times she’s managed to pull together an excellent career that leverages her “handicap”, rather than suffers from it.  Given the stats she told me about unemployment in the blind community, she’s in a great position.

Amanda credits both the WordPress software as well as the WordPress community with helping to make a place for her.  It’s tough to say whether someone with her guts and determination wouldn’t have simply made it in some other part of the tech world, but I’m glad she’s in ours.

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