Accessibility Myths


Accessibility only affects a small group of users

Not that small. Around 15% of the world's population, or estimated 1 billion people, live with disabilities, they are the world's largest minority. The number of people with disability is dramatically increasing.

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Disabled users don't use my website

How can you be so sure? Many people with disabilities like color blindness, limited motor skills, etc. use websites just like other users. Also, many assistive technologies are not detectable in any way.

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Making a website accessible is costly and time-consuming

It may not be the case if accessibility is considered from the beginning of the project and a development team has proper skills. When accessibility has become a habit, the development time doesn't change or changes a little.

We can quickly add accessibility before the release

Won't work. Maybe easy things such as alternative text or form labeling may be added at the end, but some complex UX should be planned to be accessible. In some cases, making features accessible at the end of development process may require the full refactoring.

Accessibility is only about adding alternative text to images

In fact, missing alternative text for images is one of the biggest accessibility issues. But besides this, there are many things to be considered while making accessible website - headline structure, functional controls, color contrast and much more.

Web accessibility is just a developer's responsibility

It's a team effort. Designers create accessible UIs, developers build it, QA engineers do the accessibility testing, PMs make sure that accessibility is included in the team processes, legal team checks if a product is risk free from an accessibility perspective, content managers adjust content to be compliant.

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Accessibility only helps people with disabilities

Fortunately it helps everyone. It's a known fact that applying accessibility principles improves overall user experience and makes a website more convenient to use.

Making websites accessible doesn't bring any additional benefits

To list just a few of them - more users, more revenue, better reputation, less risks to be sued, better competence of development teams and many more. At the end doing a good thing doesn't always have to require a profitable reason.

Accessibility can be fixed by the accessibility overlay

Absolutely no. There is an initiative signed by hundreds of professionals which advocates the removal of the web accessibility overlay.

Using automated tools is all I need to do to make my website accessible

That would be easy, but no. Usually automated accessibility testing can only find 30-50% of all accessibility issues. In fact, some websites can be built in a way that automated tests will pass even though the website is totally inaccessible.

Accessibility is only for blind users

Certainly, accessibility affects the experience of blind users, but it also users with other visual disabilities such as color blindness. And of course, it also benefits people with other forms of disability, related to hearing, mobility, speech or cognition. It also works for elderly users. In short, for all users. It is essential for some but useful for all.

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Accessibility is optional

Until your company got sued. Learn about the Netflix and Domino cases to understand that the price for not being accessible may be too high. There are many laws that may require a website to be accessible.

Accessibility is only about preventing lawsuits

Accessibility is about your users. Of course, preventing lawsuits is important for any company, but user satisfaction and company reputation bring a lot of value as well.

Accessibility is only about following the WCAG

Usually it starts from WCAG, but in real life a compliant website may still not be fully accessible. Accessibility is about understanding the need of all users as well as about empathy and awareness.

Accessibility can be achieved by only adding ARIA attributes

Of course, ARIA is an important part of accessibility, but the golden rule of ARIA is "Don't Use ARIA". Many ARIA attributes may not be necessary if semantic HTML tags are used.

We don't need to be compliant

Maybe you need. There are a number of laws and regulations which may require a website to follow accessibility principles. It's definitely worth checking them.

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Only accessibility experts can implement accessibility fixes

Luckily no. Everyone with some accessibility skills can implement and test websites for accessibility. In fact, it's not only easy to learn, but sometimes it's quite a fun process. It doesn't require a specific experience to run the easy checks.

Accessibility is like a feature - you do it once and then you have it

Accessibility is a practice, not a feature. It means that one should take care of it regularly, both when working on features or doing maintenance work. The knowledge about accessibility should be passed on when a new team member joins or when requirement changes.

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Accessibility can be fixed by providing a separate website version for disabled people

That was the wrong assumption back then. Since that time, many development teams have learned the hard way that maintaining several versions of the website and keeping all the content up to date costs much more than creating the only one fully accessible website.

People with disabilities don't use the web

That's wrong. In fact, in some cases internet is the only way how disabled people can communicate to the world. Also, where "abled people" use their natural feelings such as sight and hearing, people with disabilities must rely on technologies.

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Blind people don't watch movies

They definitely do. With the help of audio descriptions they can watch and listen to any media content as all other people do.

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Accessibility can only be tested by disabled people

Well, usually disabled people are the best testers - they use assistive technologies full time. However, everyone can learn how to test websites for accessibility.

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