When I began working with the IBM Accessibility team a few years ago, I asked a smart IBMer what the team needed to do to help IBMers to create more accessible products. His response was that we needed to stop telling people that creating inaccessible products would get them sued. Instead, we needed to get them to take the matter to heart. They should be empathic, or even better – excited, about making their product better for everyone.
So, we took a positive approach. Last year we released our IBM Equal Access Toolkit and introduced the idea of levels for accessibility. Start here. Get a little better. Finish with an excellent product. Our Accessibility checker provides folks a dashboard with a little jolt of support with the percentage of their code that is accessible. Fix the issues and your score gets better.
Since last year’s release our website at ibm.com/able receives an average of a thousand visitors a day. They have downloaded our checker from the Chrome and Firefox stores over 8000 times. They have used the continuous integration version of the checker over 670,000 times.
Positivity changes hearts and minds and culture. We still have a long way to go. But as we celebrate the 31st anniversary of the American with Disabilities Act, I wanted to step back and celebrate how far we’ve come.
I’m asking you to take a step forward, though, and use the Toolkit with your team. Have your developers validate their code with our free Accessibility Checker.