10 reasons companies don’t care about Accessibility

Christian Heilmann has written up a good piece at Digital Web Magazine on the reasons companies struggle to deal with and invest in online Accessibility.

His 10 reasons companies don't care about Accessibility:

  • It’s the Law But There’s None to Follow

  • There Is No Immediate Benefit

  • Accessibility Is Sold As a Technical Problem

  • Disability Is Not Something Clients Want to Think About

  • We’re Past Inventing, We’re Maintaining

  • It Is Not Part of the Testing Methodology

  • Accessibility Seems Like a Party Pooper

  • Nobody Complains

  • It Requires Involvement

  • There Is No Leader to Follow

Comments (6)
  1. Bill Higgins says:

    Hi Alex, if you’re interested in accessibility, you may want to check out the most recent IBM Systems Journal which deals with this topic. The URL is below:


  2. MSDNArchive says:

    I am! thanks Bill!

  3. Companies that do care about accessibility are those that sell to the federal and state governments and also those that supply to those companies that do care.

    In the EU accessibility of web content is being required and no lawsuits are involved and therefor the issue is that if you wish to sell to an EU government you must be accessible.

    A more interesting question is "Why don’t people produce accessible applications?" There are a number of reasons for this. First, is that the accessibility architecture on the platform is not one that is conducive to interoperability. This is the case of MSAA whereby MSAA has holes in it and custom APIs need to be employed. Assistive technology vendors are required to support multiple apis on a platform and quite often interoperability problems arise. Your own company is looking to replace MSAA orver time with UI Automation. UI Automation uses accessibility technology to also support automated testing. Secondly, tooling is not available to notify the author when accessibility information is missing. Third, accessibility education is poor.

    I don’t agree that accessibility has other benefits. Accessibility APIs are used for automated testing. Rational, for example uses the Java Accessibility API for Java, MSAA for Windows, and the browse DOM to automatically test applications. A well defined accessiblity architecture also leads to a more usable UI for all. We are doing work in DHTML accessibility now in the W3C and the end result is more usable applications for all which mimic the GUI desktop. This will have broad usability benefits for the aging population, mobility impaired users, blind users, and users who want to have a keyboard experience similar to that found on the dekstop.

    All of these problems mentioned here are a result of addressing accessibility late in the game. Employment of a comprehensive accessibility strategy early on in the development of a new technology, like Vista, will result in a more usable experience for all that is also accessible.


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