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It looks difficult

2 minutes read

I woke up this morning with a serious itch on my back. I'm not yoga-flexible myself, but even if I was, that itch was right in a spot where I'd never reach it. It was excruciating not being able to get to it. I knew it was there, I could almost touch it, but not quite.

From a birds-eye view, accessibility looks like an itch you can't scratch. It's excruciating and daunting: a minefield of regulations, standards and potential legal pitfalls. You know you have to deal with it, but you can't quite get to it, not really.

At first, it looks difficult. But at its core, accessibility is simple. You just have to give a shit. You just have to care enough to make your products and services usable by as many people as possible, regardless of their disabilities and circumstances.

Just open your eyes and look around. You'll start to see the parents struggling with strollers, the elderly with canes or walkers, the colorblind squinting at screens. You'll notice how many people use assistive technologies like screen readers, captions, or alternative input devices, and realize that disabilities are not rare outliers, but an unavoidable part of the human experience that touches us all at some point.

Accessibility looks difficult. Until we start looking. Until we start to give a shit about making things usable for everyone. The rest is just following through on that commitment.

As for my itch, I finally leaned against a door frame and took care of it. And that's the point. The itch was difficult to get to. Until I started to think it through and looked around for a fix.

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