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Don't be a lazy pig!

3 minutes read

Do you know the story of the three little pigs? It's a children's fairy tale. I'll sum it up below for you.

Once upon a time, there were three little pigs. They each built a house to live in.

The first pig was lazy and built his house out of straws in a few hours and then he relaxed. The second pig, thought a bit more but was still lazy. He built it out of sticks in half a day and then joined his brother to enjoy the rest of the day.

The third pig worked through the night and built his house out of bricks. It was hard work and required a lot of time, planning and resources.

The big bad wolf showed up the next day and wanted to enter each of the houses to eat the little pigs.

So he huffed and puffed and had no problems blowing down the first two houses made of straws and sticks. But he could not take down the brick house, no matter how much he huffed and puffed.

The tale serves as a poignant metaphor. It's just a story, but boy, does it bear plenty of resemblance to the web and accessibility!

Much like the lazy pigs, we rarely think about accessibility and people with disabilities from day one. We'd rather build our website fast and easy. We don't consider the sturdy foundation - that takes time and costs money. Accessibility is just a nice to have. It can come later.

But bricks weren't just a nice to have in the story. They were a necessity from the very beginning. Investing in accessibility features early in the development process saves time and resources down the line. Retrofitting an inaccessible website is akin to rebuilding a house after it's been blown down by the big bad wolf – it's a costly and time-consuming endeavor that could have been avoided with proper planning.

So how do you ensure a sturdy foundation on the web? How do you prioritise accessibility?

In the teams I worked with, I asked questions:

  • Have you considered what potential accessibility barriers your product might create?
  • Have you considered at which stages accessibility testing is required?
  • Did you establish who will perform the testing and how?
  • Do you have a plan for how the issues from the testing will be prioritised and tracked?
  • Do we have accessibility acceptance criteria?
  • Did you build in time for accessibility during sprint planing?
  • Does everyone on the team have a general awareness of disability and accessibility on the web?

Through talking about these things before work begins, we usually helped surface most of the issues that cropped up later on. And it all started with the decision to not be a bunch of lazy pigs.

Did you enjoy this bite-sized message?

I send out short emails like this every day to help you gain a fresh perspective on accessibility and understand it without the jargon, so you can build more robust products that everyone can use, including people with disabilities.

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