Ten years ago, back in the pre-iPhone days, many companies questioned the need for a mobile-friendly website. Last year, mobile internet traffic surpassed desktop traffic, and many of those same companies are still struggling to catch up.
What does this have to do with accessibility (“a11y” for short)? As the World Wide Web Consortium puts it, “Accessibility overlaps with other best practices such as mobile web design, device independence, multimodal interaction, usability, design for older users, and search engine optimization (SEO).” Further, "users of mobile devices and people with disabilities experience similar barriers when interacting with web content.”
What if you could increase your website’s SEO, improve your mobile web design, and get a head start on the coming conversational UI revolution through a renewed focus on accessibility? And what if you increased your user base (potentially as much as 10–20%) by making it more accessible to disabled users (1.1 billion people worldwide; 18% of the US population)? Scott Davis explains why accessibility should be just as important to you as a mobile design strategy was 10 years ago.
Scott Davis is a principal engineer with ThoughtWorks, where he focuses on the leading-edge, innovative, emerging, and nontraditional aspects of web development, such as serverless web apps, mobile web apps (responsive PWAs), HTML5-based smart TV apps, conversational UIs (like Siri and Alexa), and using web technologies to build IoT solutions. He is also the founder of ThirstyHead.com, a Denver-based training and software development consultancy. Scott has been writing about web development for over 10 years. His books include Getting Started with Grails, Groovy Recipes, GIS for Web Developers, The Google Maps API: Adding Where to Your Web Applications, and JBoss at Work. He is also the author of several popular article series at IBM developerWorks, including Mastering MEAN, Mastering Grails, and Practically Groovy. His videos include Architecture of the MEAN Stack, Responsive Mobile Architecture, and On the Road to Angular 2. Scott is also the cofounder of the Denver HTML5 User Group.
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