This is a repost of a Twitter thread from August 2022. Slightly edited in format and for clarity.
Accessibility must work within the constraints of an ableist world to improve things. I hope it can help to make the world a tiny bit less unjust every day.
I have seen accessibility people say “this is a hill I’m willing to die on” and then they died on that proverbial hill.
Some clients just don’t care, and you have no power to make them care. You can make them aware, you can put procedures in place, you can point at laws. But you can’t change their attitude.
And yes, that might mean that the products of the process are… mediocre at best.
That is disappointing for the accessibility professionals involved, who did their best in the circumstances, and still fail many disabled people.
I think it’s still important to do this work:
Awareness is important, and when more people are aware that accessibility is a thing, more people will be willing to invest in it. This is a slow process, but I have seen it in real life: Companies that have an audit done for compliance and then want to get better.
And sometimes you inspire people to get into accessibility and they might be having an impact for a long time.
Is any of this optimal? No.
Do I wish I had a magic wand that made disability justice a reality and everyone care? You bet!
But I don’t, and so I need to have my practice grounded in the reality of the world as it is, as it otherwise becomes burnout inducing.
And if we cannot afford one thing, that’s people quitting accessibility because they are burned out. Because they feel that they are ineffective and their work is worthless. I feel like that all the time.
That said, the WebAIM Million study shows that between 2019 and 2022 the average error per page has decreased and the most common issues have also decreased. The web is slowly getting better.
I strongly believe that we must change the systems to make web accessibility easier, especially aligning what’s right with what’s easy. Currently a lot of accessibility practices on the web are hidden or require additional knowledge. That is an ableist barrier itself.
I wrote about changing the system on my blog.
I also recorded a talk about the topic.