Many times in the past I have been asked “How did you get into accessibility?”, and I often interpret this as “Why do you care about it so much? Do you know someone who’s affected?” Usually, I respond by clarifying that I did not start preaching about accessibility for my own selfish reasons (if selfish is the right word), but that I found out about it almost by accident. I realised that there was a general gap in people’s knowledge about it and it just seemed like the right thing to do to let people know what it was all about. This very site came about as the result of the various tools and wizards that I had created and scattered around the web to help people make their pages more accessible.
Today, as I sit at work pondering how to get other people in the organisation I work for as passionate (or at least half as passionate) abut this thing we know as web accessibility I’ve been thinking about what my drivers were for this again. I have come to the conclusion, rightly or wrongly, that I am atypical, and that I cannot expect other people to be interested in it to the same level as I am. Or can I.
So, this post is a bit different - I would encourage you, dear reader, to comment on this post and tell me and all other readers:
- How did you get into web accessibility? Was it because you have a relative that is affected and you felt the need to spread the word, or did you do it simply because it seemed like a niche market that you could become an expert in? Go on, be honest. I’d really like to know where we got to where we are in this field.
- And if you have found yourself in a similar situation to me - feeling like you’re the guy at the bottom of a pit ranting about accessibility and trying to be heard - what did you do (or are still doing) to get other people as enthusiastic about the topic when they do not have personal reasons for doing so. Because let’s be honest, it’s not the most sexy or exciting topic on earth and many people would much rather be picking their toenails or pulling out belly-button fluff.
Really looking forward to reading people’s responses to this one.
[And before anyone suggests this, yes I have read the chapter about implementing accessibility in the enterprise in the Friends of Ed accessibility 'bible'].