As part of the Design Thinking workshop, I bring up the importance of thinking about what is at stake for people with disabilities who can’t use our applications.
This doesn’t only apply to things like online banking or medical sites. No matter what type of content your site includes, interaction and content issues need to be addressed. It might be through development or design, or even at the broader product level. It’s important to test and review your work objectively.
You can also apply this approach to websites you didn’t build– especially when they belong to organizations or products you love.
The website for Seattle-based nonprofit radio station KEXP is one example I used in a live workshop.
I love music and consider KEXP to be an international treasure, but their site has some pretty rough accessibility issues.
As part of a live workshop, I did an accessibility review of kexp.org with some of the same manual testing and DevTools inspection techniques I use all the time in my work. While I inspected the site, I kept a running commentary on both of the technical and human sides of the accessibility equation.
I’ve uploaded the 9 minute long video to testingaccessibility.com and it’s available to watch now with captions and a full transcript.
Like other sites, I’ve submitted issues I found to KEXP in the past but they haven’t been fixed yet. When providing feedback I gave suggestions on how to fix the problems their importance for disabled listeners. I know they have limited resources… but it’s still a shame.
Sometimes there’s a tendency for people to make excuses for an organization because “they’re a nonprofit” or “it’s just a music website” but the reality is these types of issues are present in all kinds of websites all across the internet. Inaccessibility really gets old when you’re trying to browse the web and take part in a cultured society along with everyone else.
The steps I take in the video are a great starting point for manual accessibility testing. I encourage you to follow my lead and go test one of your favorite sites. Reach out to them with what you find. Who knows–with encouragement, maybe they’ll take steps toward a more accessible web. (I’ve seen it happen before, and I will again!)