In this episode of The InclusionHub Podcast, host Sam Proulx resets the table, so to speak, returning to several critical yet rarely articulated insights shared by guests of our inaugural drop, and re-evaluating where we are as a society in the collective quest toward true digital accessibility and inclusion, for all.
Among those: that the web is broken—impacted by what Sam describes as “flat-out greed.” All this has created a lucrative cottage industry that’s most recently enriching itself off an ongoing mass scramble by businesses to comply with critical laws passed to help rectify such disparities.
It’s within this context, and through this lens that Sam—Accessibility Evangelist at leading accessibility testing platform Fable, one of InclusionHub’s Founding Partners—introduces not only the battles being waged in countless courtrooms across the United States to force companies to comply with improvements outlined within the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), but what has become the go-to for those looking to do so: the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).
“It’s a truly, truly sorry state of affairs when the only impetus, or at least a major one, for businesses and developers to make their websites fully accessible to folks with disabilities is the threat of being sued,” he laments. “Yet we are where we are. So we might as well try and make the most of it.”
As mentioned, listeners have heard from this episode’s incredible guests before—in our very first drop “Accessibility by Default.” Expanding their discussion about the history and current state of the web into the ADA, WCAG, and consequently flawed but necessary ways businesses and organizations can help improve digital accessibility and inclusivity, are Jutta Treviranus and Laura Kalbag.
Treviranus is director of the Inclusive Design Research Centre at Toronto’s OCAD University, and recognized as a global expert on inclusive design. Kalbag is co-founder of the nonprofit Small Technology Foundation and author of the book “Accessibility for Everyone.” She was also featured in another episode titled “Nothing About Us Without Us,” stressing the importance of involving people with disabilities in any step forward.
That message resonates throughout this latest episode, as well:
“These guidelines are not an absolute,” Kalbag says of WCAG. “They are never, ever a replacement for actually talking to people. And watching people use your platform, and actually understanding how disabled people can benefit or suffer with what you've built.”
“We have to have to address the needs of people with disabilities,” stresses Treviranus, “because that is the universal human condition that we're all going to experience at one point.”
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The InclusionHub Podcast is sponsored by our Founding Partners: Salesforce, a leading customer relationship management software provider; Morey Creative Studios (MCS), a HubSpot Diamond Partner Agency; Fable, a leading accessibility testing platform; and Be My Eyes, a free app connecting blind and low-vision people with sighted volunteers.