Accessibility is a common term now and you might have heard many definitions of accessibility. For me, accessibility is simply creating a better experience for everyone.
We all know what accessibility means in the physical world, because we see it, right? Handrails for stairs, wheelchair access to the building, dedicated wheelchair parking lots, signboard in a building. Let’s take the signboard as an example, is it helpful only for disabled people? Assume you are visiting a hospital for the first time, and you need to use the washroom. You will search for the washroom signboard, right? Or Take the handrails, it is helpful for fully-abled people as well. This is why I used the word everyone in the introduction paragraph. If we design something with accessibility in mind, it is going to be helpful for everyone including fully-abled people.
What you may or may not realize is that these accommodations also exist in today’s digital technology. In fact, many of them have been there for a while, but perhaps they’re less well known, hidden, or perhaps you’re using them without even knowing it. Some of the common accessibility tools used in the web world are Screen Readers, Screen magnifiers, Color Contrast Combinations, Keyboard and Mouse, Speech to text, Word Prediction, etc…
Have you ever considered if the application you have developed is compatible with the accessibility tools mentioned earlier? If you think you or your users never use such aids, then you need to realize that disability is highly related to the surroundings you are in. In simple words, it’s our situation that disables us rather than a medical impairment. All of us will find ourselves disabled at some time, and we will need an accessible application. For example, when your hands are dirty or busy, we all use voice assistants on our phones, right? Or assume you met with an accident and broke your arm, you may have used some accessible tech. After all, we all are getting aged and our vision, auditory, and mobility sensories may become weak and we will definitely rely on bigger fonts, high contrast screens, or even screenreaders. 🙂
I hope now you understand the importance of creating accessible applications. The trend now I observe in low-code applications like power platform is that citizen developers originally create an app for personal use, and it’s developed from the creator’s accessibility point of view and the accessibility issues are observed only when it is shared with multiple users. Now when you create an application, please keep in mind that if not today, tomorrow someone is gonna benefit from the accessibility features you have included in the application.