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Accessibile yes, but in the future

2 minutes read

Our efforts are ongoing and we're working to meet Web Content Accessibility Guidelines over time. Our aim is to be WCAG 2.2 AA compliant by 2025.

I've read this on a website's accessibility statement the other day. I don't think it's an uncommon statement. When a company promises to be accessible by 2025, they’re actually saying they may not get there.

The thing is, most pressures that they will face until 2025 are short-term. Hot fixes, critical bugs, promises to existing customers and new features resulting from recent sales which wouldn't have gone through without those promises. The backlog isn't getting any smaller either.

Add to this the fact that not everyone expects to be at that company by the proposed deadline.

So it's easier to make promises that need to materialise in the future. The farther into the future the bigger the promise and the easier it is to make.

It's just easier to make these promises that describe a distant future and then immediately turn around and look at that backlog and the list of short-term pressures you're already facing. It's work you know about now and this work needs to be done before later promises can be considered.

The European Accessibility Act requires member states to implement the laws, regulations and the administrative provisions necessary to comply by June 2025.

This, on the one hand, is handy because it sets a deadline. On the other hand, it sets a target in the future...many many development sprints into the future. Most of us aren't capable of planning that many sprints into the future.

I'm not complaining. Nothing, and especially accessibility, can happen over night. But the EAA isn't an argument I'd use to convince stakeholders to prioritise accessibility now.

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