May 7

Accessibility: Designing for Universality

By: Joe Ortenzi

The Stamford Accessibility Crew (self-titled, the a11ies) were super-excited when a contact at the Australian Government’s Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) sent us a link to this amazing video. So excited, in fact, that I had to share it with everyone, as it begins with a statement we believe in passionately, that web accessibility is not just about disability, but about universality.

We’ve been working with FaHCSIA across several projects helping them foster an accessible culture. They took it to heart so completely that they produced the following fast-paced, engaging, polished video, which demonstrates how universal design is both important and easy to achieve. Packed into three and a half minutes, the video explains why accessible content is valuable, how FaHCSIA created tools and workflows to make it easier to achieve, and, most importantly, that it is everyone’s responsibility. FaHCSIA have also supplied a text transcript and audio version.

A significant hurdle in getting an organisation to understand the importance of inclusiveness is the cultural change required to advance it. Everyone has a part to play, from senior management and budget controllers, through to content creators and development teams.

If you work in Government, accessibility is a legal requirement under the National Transition Strategy, if you don’t work in government its still important, because your site’s lack of accessibility may be a barrier to a significant number of people reaching your content. Can you really afford to be a barrier to a significant proportion of your audience?