Shop accessibility

We’re taking a break for the holidays and we’ll meetup again in January. In the meantime, I wanted to share some of what I’ve been learning about accessibility and also a promotion for coworking at MELD.


MELD Coworking (https://meldcoworking.com) hosts our meetups and some of our memebers work there as well. It’s a great spot to get work done, it’s centrally located, has fast wifi, meeting rooms, coffee and snacks… all the coworking amenities. But I like it because it’s friendly, and because it’s classic Austin scale — more KUTX than the Austonian. It’s not wework-y or cbd-scooter-crypto-disrupt-ipo-y; it’s totally chill and comfy.

If you’re looking for a desk or office out of the house, with the energy of other nice and creative people, book a tour (https://meldcoworking.com/book-a-tour) and mention the promo “Shopify” for 20% off.


Recent lawsuits (like the one with Domino's) applying the ADA to websites have renewed interest in website accessibility. The laws haven't changed. The ADA isn't new, nor is applying it to the web. But recent case law has made it easier to sue online merchants with inaccessible sites (like, really easy). So, obviously, we all need to fix our sites and our clients’ sites. But not just to avoid lawsuits.

Accessible sites are easier for everyone to use. Visitors who are permanently disabled (blind), temporarily disabled (cataracts), situationally disabled (distracted driver) *all* benefit from sites designed and built for accessibility. And it's also typically better for SEO, development troubleshooting, and users on older browsers or with certain features turned off. Henry Neves-Charge has a great Medium article explaining how inclusive design serves all site users.

Molly Burke's YouTube videos are a blessing for merchants and developers who want to understand how blind customers are using their sites. I'd start with How I Shop Online Blind *Live Footage* (Custom Converse Fail) (YouTube). And her overall explanations of how she uses technology really bring accessibility out of ARIA labels and into real life: How I Use Technology As A Blind Person, Pt 2 (YouTube).

Kris Rivenburgh is a Texas attorney and website accessibility consultant. He has a lot of good Medium articles. I'd start with The 2019 Guide to Website Accessibility (for Lawsuit and Demand Letter Prevention (Medium).

And for developers, Sara Soueidan gave an amazing primer/overview/starter on Applied Accessibility at SmashingConf NYC 2019 (Vimeo).

And, adjacent to website accessibility:

I hope these examples serve as inspiration for the experiences we can create and the environments we can promote as merchants, designers, and developers. It’s unthinkable today to make non-mobile responsive sites. We should have that same attitude when it comes to accessibility.

Beyond prudence and profitability, beyond kindness and doing the right thing, designing for accessibility can just be wonderful. Let’s talk more about it at future meetups.

Thanks!

-Zak