Why Accessibility Matters
Accessibility is a human right—just as resources such as water, healthcare, and housing are human rights. Because we live in an ableist, capitalist society, people often overlook or outright refuse accessibility because society devalues disabled people and their needs. The only worthwhile pursuits under capitalism are those that drive profit, often through exploitation and the depletion of resources and land.
The solution is not to redefine accessibility to be profitable. Instead, we must value accessibility as a radical act of community care driven by a belief that people inherently deserve access. Especially because ableism disproportionally affects Black and Indigenous people of color, trans and queer people, and migrant and refugee communities, creating an accessible digital environment is an act of solidarity with all marginalized people.
This philosophy behind accessibility has been shaped by the incredible leadership and guidance of Sins Invalid (founders of the Disability Justice movement), Annie Segarra, Liz Jackson, Sky Cubacub (founder of Rebirth Garments), Alison Kopit, Carrie Kaufman, Mia Mingus (leader in Transformative Justice), Alice Wong (founder of the Disability Visibility Project), Professor Aimi Hamraie, Professor Bess Williams, and many more.
About Access Guide
Access Guide is a friendly introduction to digital accessibility based on WCAG 2.1 (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines). It recognizes the need for people to reference documentation that feels fun and exciting, and not daunting, confusing, or like a chore.
Access Guide is organized into cards with actionable names and descriptive illustrations. The cards are tagged by their WCAG compliance level (A, AA, AAA), the type of disability they serve (cognitive, hearing, physical, visual), and the type of work required (design, code, content, etc). This helps organize and focus the tasks ahead by theme.
Within each card is an explanation for why this type of accessibility is needed, how to implement it, and how to test for it. They often reference other resources created and shared online (we are stronger together!). All of this content is open to feedback and contribution (to learn more, visit the Contribution page).
Please note that Access Guide is meant to be an introduction to WCAG and digital accessibility rather than a comprehensive manual. My hope is that this resource helps you build a strong foundation of knowledge that can propel you forward to further learning. It's also important to think beyond compliance to what works for people in the real world. There may be times where WCAG doesn't account for something, or certain access needs might conflict with each other. Rather than follow the criteria word for word, learn about how people with different disabilities use technology.
Access Guide is a side hustle created and managed by a real person. Donations are very welcome and would help cover costs of the domain name and web hosting, design research and content creation, and support the thought leadership of disability advocates.
To make a donation, head over to Alex's Ko-Fi.
Access Guide strives to use language that the disabled community prefers to honor their lived experience.
When referring to people, Access Guide uses the following terms:
- Blind, visually impaired
- Deaf, hard of hearing
- Disabled people, people with disabilities
- Wheelchair user
Access Guide does not use the following terms because the disabled community considers them to be patronizing, to center able-bodied people's comfort first, and/or is the medical industrial complex's term rather than the community's term.
- Differently abled
- Special needs
- People of all abilities
- Hearing impaired
Digital Land Acknowledgment
The .io domain is the country code domain assigned to the British Indian Ocean Territory, which are the stolen homelands of the Chagos Islanders. The UK's forcible removal of the islanders is an ongoing dispute and breach of human rights. Read more about how to support the Chagos Islanders.
This digital land acknowledgment was driven by the advocacy of Kara Carrell.