Website Accessibility Apps – Viability Questioned

website accessibility

A few years ago, this topic would be relegated to the Ambulance-Chasers seeking to profit from business owners.  You know, like domain squatters.  Yes, the internet is great, but it’s also created it’s share of pond-scum.  Some lawyers have successfully targeted business websites for not being ‘ADA’ compliant.  Thus, the race to develop industry-wide standards (and cheap solutions to protect website owners) has begun.

These days, I’m paying more attention to the topic of website accessibility.  My cancer treatments have triggered what’s termed as ‘young adult cataracts’ which are beginning to affect my vision – blurring it just enough to be annoying – especially in bright light or bright screens.  As my computer and screen are critical to my work, this is a problem for me.  So far, I’ve been able to mostly mitigate the effects by using dark themes for my browser and apps.  Others with real vision issues (or other disabilities) utilize special tools or browser extensions to successfully navigate websites.

Problems can occur when they visit websites that are incorrectly coded to comply with standards and instead employ the cheap website add-ons that attempt to re-code the website on the fly, as they often interfere with the users’ browsing tools.

Many accessibility practitioners have authored an open letter advocating web devs to abandon these add-ons to address the issues of impaired website visitors.

WPTavern published an informative post on the topic as well.

I’ve tested only one of these add-ons – UserWay.  It was very affordable at $10/mo and featured the iconic ‘Accessible’ icon which when clicked revealed several ‘tools’ one could select and use.  I found most of them very clunky and not very practical.  I’m thinking good coding is the better way to go here.

Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as that.  Since this concept – an accessible website – is so new – everyone and their brother is in a race to be the ultimate authority on the standards.  And they’ll change.  So it’ll be pretty challenging (and expensive) to maintain your status as ‘compliant’.  As if I needed something else to do.  😉

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