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Sustained progress

2 minutes read

If you had a choice between fixing all your accessibility issues in one day and dragging it out over the course of months, I bet I know what you'd choose. And why not? There's nothing wrong with getting it done fast. Your team will thank you for not stressing them with pointless meetings and trainings about accessibility, disability and inclusion. Your users will appreciate it when they can properly use your website. The business wins since it increases its bottom line, its reputation and its customer loyalty.

It looks like everyone wins. Or do they?

Think for a second how you got to this point where you actually needed to fix all your accessibility issues in one day. Can you pinpoint it to one defining moment when you decided not to care about your users with disabilities?

It's more likely that your current state is the result of many thousands of small decisions over time. And if the problems you're facing right now are the result of thousands of small decisions, I have two questions for you:

  • Why would you expect to undo all those small decisions in one big swoop?
  • And even if you could, how would you make sure you're not going to make the same small decisions going forward and end up in the same hole in a year's time?

I want you to make a distinction between short term wins and long term progress. Your website isn't a static thing that once you put out there, it's done and ready. You're constantly improving and evolving it. You're constantly making those small decisions, and they add up over time.

The truth is you can't build an accessible website on one-time interactions. It's better to be consistent in your effort, no matter how small.

Do the tiny things. Make the small fixes. Stack them up over time. 1% every day is better than 100% once. 1% isn't something to brag about. You'll hardly notice it.

But 1% better every day means you'll be 37 times better in a year's time. (I've checked the math.) And it also means you're that much more likely to make better small decisions and not end up in a hole again.

I'd be skeptical of promises of big and fast wins. They may be big, they may be fast, but they fade just as quickly.

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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