3 December 2021
Danielle Sheffler

International Day of Persons with Disabilities and Blue Beanie Day

To recognise International Day of Persons with Disabilities ( which is today), we’d like to share the presentation Danielle Sheffler created for Blue Beanie Day on 30 November — “Accessibility is not a feature.”

International Day of Persons with Disabilities has a goal of advocating for the rights of people with disabilities in all aspects of their lives, whereas Blue Beanie Day raises awareness for web standards, especially around accessibility. Incorporating web standards into a site is a  requirement to help ensure a site or application is accessible for all.

Accessibility is not a feature

Danielle’s presentation looked at how accessibility is sometimes treated as a checkbox or a “one-and-done” implementation as opposed to an ongoing process. This unintentionally promotes ableism and discrimination. With this thought process, accessibility becomes more about compliance and the law, rather than about people and their needs.  To further instill the point that different users need different experiences, Danielle showed a video called “Everyone is Different.

Danielle also shared some key points on accessibility that are important to keep in mind:

  • Not everyone who needs assistive technology is a screen reader user

  • Some users may have multiple disabilities

  • Accessibility does not add that much cost if incorporated from the very beginning

  • There really is no such thing as an accessible site or an accessible document. The end result isn’t the end result without accessibility

  • Accessibility isn’t just about development

  • Automated testing isn’t enough to account for everyone’s experience.  We most likely wouldn’t do automated QA testing without manual testing and launch a site. We should give people with disabilities the same respect.

  • Without accessibility, we could be creating a site without a working user interface

  • Accessibility helps everyone. It improves user experience and makes a website easier and more convenient

  • There are benefits outside of inclusivity — more users, more revenue/better access to services, better reputation

  • A WCAG-compliant site might not be fully accessible, so it’s important to not solely think in terms of compliance

  • We should use HTML5 before adding ARIA attributes

  • You don’t have to be an accessibility expert to work on accessibility

  • You don’t have to be disabled to test for accessibility

Danielle also gave us ideas of how we could help push accessibility forward at Salsa as part of our own education. She also provided resources for inclusive language, Microsoft's inclusive design toolkit, DrupalSouth presentations on Incorporating Accessibility into Your Project Lifecycle, Content Accessibility in Drupal, Salsa insights about accessibility, and information on how blind people use computers and accessibility myths

Danielle’s Blue Beanie Day presentation is below.

See video transcript

Free accessibility resources

You may also be interested in our free accessibility resources, such as our free accessibility assessment of your homepage using 10 manual WCAG 2.0 AA testing standards, Salsa’s scoring sheet and testing checklist, accessibility audit template and accessibility starter kit.

Get our free accessibility resources