#29: Accessibility Shouldn’t Be an Afterthought
Stop creating products and platforms that exclude people with disabilities
“This means that we are not focused on things like dark mode, iOS/Android apps, DM’s, private accounts, power user tools (managing large follower base), activity pub, accessibility, video (you can embed 3rd party players like Youtube for now) etc. We want to do it all but first, let’s get everyone in.”
This message from Noam Bardin, one of the founders of the new social media platform Post, is awful and just plain baffling.
How do you get everyone into your app first if you’re shoving accessibility to the side and making it a punch item on your to-do list to complete later?
What you’re really saying is that you want to get all the abled people in first and put anyone who uses assistive technology to access content on a waitlist.
Accessibility isn’t something you add later when you have more time or whatever bullshit excuse you come up with. Disabled users want to join your platform too!
The thing about so many people yelling about accessibility when it comes to web and app development is that we’re not asking developers to know everything immediately or all at once. We don’t expect people to be all-knowing, at least I don’t. I’m certainly not all-knowing when it comes to my own job as a social media strategist.
What we are asking is that you consider lived experiences other than your own and go from there.
Ask questions about how other people are going to engage (or not engage) with the thing you want to build. If there are gaps in your knowledge, either educate yourself or add people to your team who fill the gaps. Most importantly, talk to people who have a different perspective than you.
Then start building. It may not be easy or quick or cheap, but at least it will be done right.
Stop creating for monoliths. You are excluding whole communities of people, and it’s fucking exhausting.
A version of this newsletter originally appeared on my Medium profile.