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False certainty

2 minutes read

In the world of web accessibility, we see the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) as the holy grail. Checking off items on it, like alt text for images, keyboard navigation, colour contrast, gives you a sense of accomplishment.

But here's the kicker: just because you've ticked all the boxes doesn't mean your website is accessible.

It's easy to fall into the trap of false certainty. You think, "Hey, I've met all the WCAG criteria, so my site must be accessible, right?" Wrong. Accessibility is more than just meeting standards. It's about ensuring that everyone, regardless of ability, can use your site effectively.

Does that mean you don't need to care about the guidelines? No, don't get me wrong, WCAG is a great starting point. It lays down important guidelines that can and do improve web accessibility. It provides a structured framework and guidelines that help developers understand the basic requirements for creating an accessible website.

But it's just that: a starting point. It doesn't guarantee a seamless user experience for all individuals. Each user interacts with the web in unique ways, and true accessibility considers this diversity.

We need to go a step further because accessibility requires empathy, user testing, and a willingness to go beyond this checklist. It involves conducting user testing with people of varying abilities, gathering feedback, and making continuous improvements based on real-world usage.

WCAG sets the stage, but it would be a mistake to consider yourself an actor. Instead, see yourself as a director. You're not just following a script. You're shaping the entire production to ensure every user, regardless of ability, has a front-row experience.

So, next time you pat yourself on the back for checking all the WCAG boxes, take a moment to think about the real people using your site. Are you truly making it accessible for everyone? Or are you just falling for the illusion of false certainty?

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