We called 2018 “The Year of Accessibility” and We Were Right

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business meeting with team discussing the year of accessibility

It wasn’t until I was having lunch with a handful of millennials in the medical, banking, marketing, and digital media industries that I realized how far accessibility has come. When asked about my chosen industry, over a plate of salsa and chips, I said, “I work in the marketing department for an accessibility company”. That’s when an analyst at one of the top Big Four banks of the United States said, “Man, accessibility is such a big deal! Right now I’m programming ADA-approved features into one of our solutions for people with disabilities.” Funny enough, he didn’t know anything about this industry a year ago.

But he’s right. Access to information is a big deal.

Last year, Braille Works called 2018 the Year of Accessibility, and we were right. We’re hearing people talk about accessibility and they know their stuff. It excites us that there are so many informed developers, business owners, and decision-makers who are enhancing independence for the millions of people with visual, motor, auditory, speech, or cognitive disabilities.

How Did We Turn Up the Volume on Accessibility?

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a hand turning the volume on a recording studio mixing desk

First, we tackled the knowledge gap and many of the myths concerning accessibility. Let’s just say there were A LOT of preconceived notions. For one, there’s a myth that making a website accessible is always difficult and expensive. The truth is it doesn’t have to be, and it’s a lot less expensive than a lawsuit. Next, we combatted myths that accessibility was not for small businesses; i.e., mom and pop shops. A few months ago we ended up as part of the topic of a Reddit thread for accessible menus. We had a blast reading through the dialogue, hearing people with disabilities advocate for themselves, and watching restaurant owners of all sizes chime in to say, “Okay, I’m interested! Where can I get braille and large print menus?”.

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twitter post from @alyssaherrera33 that says “my sister has been in this world for 18 yrs and today is the first time she has been offered a menu at a restaurant”.
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From Novice to Knowledgeable

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man posting a blog on wordpress

Second, we wrote blogs and published a monthly newsletter chock-full of accessibility tips and compliance industry news. Our materials were also published on Medium.com where over 60 million of their unique monthly readers could learn more about accessibility. We did this because it’s important to better understand how communication barriers affect someone’s experience and what still needs to be done to create inclusive websites, apps, software, and spaces. We watched as accessibility moved from an afterthought to a key element of the design and implementation process. And, since the U.S. Access Board published a final rule updating accessibility requirements in January 2018, and the Department of Justice recently reaffirmed that Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act does apply to websites, we’ll continue to answer your time-sensitive questions and Google searches, because #AccessibilityMatters.

Lastly, we have a new team member. He’s Large, Loud, Lumpy and Legal! Meet Seymour.

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Braille Works team member Seymour the camel

But what does a camel have to do with accessibility? Well . . . He’s Large (for large print), He’s Loud (for audio), He’s Lumpy (for braille) and He’s Legal (for accessible PDF’s)

You might see him at your local library using a screen magnifier, ordering from a braille menu, or giving shout outs for companies that are accessible. Seymour will not only get you over your compliance humps, but he’ll lead the way! His goal is to help the world see more, hear more, feel more, and do more.

From all of us here at Braille Works, thank you for a memorable and accessible 2018. We may not know what to expect in 2019 but we know it will be a very good year for accessibility. We’ll even say that 2019 will be Large, Loud, Lumpy, and Legal!

Did you know?

  • Braille Works published 33 original blogs on accessibility in 2018?
  • Forbes covered 32 blogs on accessibility in 2018?
  • Even Medium has an extensive repertoire of blogs on accessibility!

To wrap up the year, we thought we’d share some facts on 2018’s accessibility accomplishments.

For more follow our hashtag, #AccessibilityMatters, on your favorite social media site.

BrailleWorks 2018:

  1. Why Web Accessibility Still Relies on Human Action
  2. The Braille Challenge is Back!
  3. Why We Champion the Odyssey of the Mind
  4. Supporting Easterseals to Take on Disabilities Together
  5. CSUN 2018: An Opportunity to Witness Significant Advances to Accessibility
  6. Don’t Lose Readers Because of Poor Website Accessibility
  7. What You Need to Know About the 508 Refresh & ICT
  8. Are Digital Marketing Agencies and Communication Managers Key Players in Accessibility?
  9. Saving Time, Saving Money: “Can we buy a braille printer and just do this in-house?”
  10. The 411 on Braille Business Cards
  11. Why the Rise in ADA Lawsuits
  12. Why You Can’t Stop at Braille Business Cards
  13. The Need For Accessible Documents Is On The Rise
  14. Why I Love WCAG (And You Should, Too!)
  15. Section 508, ADA, WCAG, 2.0, 2.1, AA, AAA, Compliance… What Does It All Mean?
  16. Reflecting on Life Before the Americans with Disabilities Act
  17. Why the Leader in Accessible Documents is Attending PRINT18
  18. Your Customers Can’t Read Your Documents
  19. Empowering People: More Than Just a ‘Feel Good’ Move
  20. A Crash Course in 2019 Medicare Options
  21. Stay Ahead of the Trends and Find A Niche in Marketing
  22. 10 Terms You’ll Need to Know to Understand Accessibility
  23. Happy World Sight Day
  24. It’s White Cane Safety Day!
  25. Voters with Visual Disabilities — Make Your Vote Count!
  26. Things To Know Before Making Your Documents Accessible
  27. Dyslexia: The Hidden Disability
  28. Plan Ahead for Accessibility: Consumer’s Responsibilities & Rights
  29. Disaster Preparedness for People with Visual Disabilities
  30. A President Remembered; George H.W. Bush (41)
  31. How the Video Game Community is Addressing Accessibility
  32. What Website Compliance Has to Do with Getting My Beauty Products
  33. The Recipe Calls For a Serving of Independence

Forbes 2018:

  • Designing For Accessibility Doesn’t Drive Costs; It Drives Opportunity
  • Enablement, Empowerment And Accessibility Using Education Technology
    Apple Proposes A New Line Of Accessibility Emoji
  • The Importance Of Web Accessibility And How Marketers Can Help
  • U.S. Firms Slowly Getting Better At Disability Inclusion
  • Progress Builds Tools For The Accessible Web
  • 5 Ways You Can Help Shoppers With Disabilities This Season
  • Winery Websites Must Comply With The Americans With Disability Act, But How?
  • 4 Ways To Respect The Needs Of Employees With Disabilities
  • How Design Students From Around The World Are Trying To Solve Problems You Didn’t Know Existed
  • Closing The Disability Inclusion Gap At Work: These 5 Research-Proven Ways Will Help You Start Today
  • What People With Disabilities Want More Store Employees To Know
  • Is Your Job Application Process Accessible And Inclusive?
  • Disability Accommodation On Campus: Some Unintended Consequences
  • Four Things You Should Do Before Even Thinking About Building A New Website
  • Is That Website Ethical? A Four-Part Test You Can Use
  • This New Controller Is One Of The Most Important Pieces Of Hardware Xbox Has Ever Made
  • People With Disabilities Want Paychecks Not Pity: Here’s How Businesses Are Helping
  • Marketing Has A Role In Achieving Diversity And Inclusion In The Workplace
  • An Online Store For Style-Conscious Shoppers With Disabilities
  • How Do We Design Workplaces For Inclusivity And Diversity
  • An ‘Onslaught’ Of Lawsuits From The Blind Is Happening; Blame Obama’s and Trump’s DOJ
  • How Disability-Friendly Is Your Workplace? 4 Ways To Put Your Business To The Test
  • Enablement, Empowerment And Accessibility Using Education Technology
  • Want To Provide A Better Website Experience? Fix These 11 Overlooked Pain Points
  • This Latina Is Using Her Own Experience With Blindness To Bring About Change In The Workforce
  • How This Woman Is Taking On Diversity In Tech
  • Stephen Hawking Overcame Challenges. Two Meteorologists With Disabilities Have Too
  • Five Ways To Create Positive Digital Experiences For Your Customers
  • Are You Solving Your Customers’ Real Problems? Here’s How To Find Out
  • Serial Suer Targets Broadway Theaters
  • Eight Ways To Make Sure Your Website Attracts — And Keeps — Your Ideal Client

This post was written by Clerise Phillip Samuel

Originally published at brailleworks.com on January 17, 2019.

Providing ADA compliant materials for your customers. Braille, Large Print, Audio & Accessible PDF Services. https://brailleworks.com/

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