Use the arrow keys to navigate between menu items.

People with disabilities are not a minority

2 minutes read

For the next six days, we'll start believing six impossible things before breakfast, starting with the first one.

  1. People with disabilities are not a minority
  2. Accessibility isn't a feature
  3. Accessibility isn't a technical problem
  4. Accessibility isn't time-consuming and expensive
  5. You can't outsource accessibility
  6. We can make our website accessible

People with disabilities are not a minority

This is actually the biggest myth out there, and thankfully also the easiest to debunk. Statistics show that around 15% of the world's population lives with some disability. That's almost 1 billion people at last count. This makes people with disabilities the largest minority in the world.

I know what you're thinking...lies, damn lies and statistics. And you'd be right. The number is probably higher. Actually, the 15% only includes those with a permanent disability, that we know of.

What about those with temporary disabilities, like a broken arm, an eye injury, or those recovering from any surgery?

Or those disabled in specific situations, like people trying to watch a video in a crowded subway or not hearing your phone ring in a busy restaurant? I bet you wished the video had captions and your phone vibration on, right?

The number of people who will benefit from accessibility is a lot higher than the 15%.

I'm 39 now. I still enjoy a very good eye sight and complete control of my body to navigate the web. Slowly, I am feeling eye strain more and more and will probably need glasses. My wrist aches from time to time and I will reach a point when not even my ergonomic mouse will do the trick.

You will too. Not today or tomorrow, but some day.

That's nice, but we don't have disabled users

You might have heard this argument before. The thinking there is, yes, there are plenty of people with disabilities, but we don't have (enough) people with a disability who use our product, so we don't have to care about accessibility.

I actually talked about this before, so I won't rehash those arguments here.

Suffice to say we need to think less about disabled and more about access for everyone, because accessibility benefits your users beyond those with an "official disability."

I tried very hard not to write accessibility accommodations or features, and that's because accessibility isn't a feature. But we'll talk about that tomorrow.

See you then!

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.

You can unsubscribe in one click and I will never share your email address.