Accessibility is a Solved Problem (Almost) (8th March 2008)
The infrastructure is already in place:
- Formats with meaningful structures.
- Software implements accessibility APIs at the OS level, such as:
- web browsers;
- e-mail clients;
- chat programs;
- desktop publishing suites;
- and so on.
- Assistive technologies adapt this information on to users in whatever way is most usable for them.
- Specialised peripherals allow input from anyone.
- Free or low-cost courses and support help users get to grip with ATs they need.
The big stuff has been figured out. Some details still need work:
- Authors to make better use of structured formats.
- Software to implement accessibility APIs fully in all applications.
- Usability to be improved in assistive technologies.
- Affordability of accessibility to be improved for users, authors and implementors.
There is an ever-diminishing place for:
- New formats which don’t have accessibility built-in from the start
- Developers who treat accessibility as a low priority enhancement request.
- Selling widgets to create accessible ghettos instead of widespread accessibility.
- Creating multiple versions.
This is the big picture for accessibility, as I see it.