1.1 Why should we care about accessibility?

"The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect." —Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web

Universal access provides greater than expected benefits

Consider closed captioned video. A viewer with hearing loss certainly can benefit from closed captioned video. A person who has difficulties understanding speech in noisy environments can also benefit. Now consider the video content itself. What if the presenter has an accent or is speaking in technical terms? Captions can provide clarity. Captions can also support poorly recorded video, such as when content is recorded in a noisy environment or if the sound becomes muffled. This wide range of benefits is very typical when you use universal access best practices.

On the flip side, dozens of colleges and universities across the United States are facing legal action over inaccessible technology and online resources. Having accessible content from the point of creation can save extensive time and effort spent on accessibility remediation (and potentially save legal costs as well).

We're librarians!

"We provide the highest level of service to all library users through appropriate and usefully organized resources; equitable service policies; equitable access; and accurate, unbiased, and courteous responses to all requests." — from ALA Code of Ethics (emphasis for illustration)

Providing universal access certainly makes sense from these perspectives, yet more importantly it helps us fulfill our ethical mission. As such, we should be at the front lines fighting for our patrons and students access to everything. We're librarians! Access is our middle name.

Fear not, the basics are easy

While implementing advanced web accessibility can require development experience, making the basic content we all create accessible can be accomplished by us all.


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