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Accessibility’s costs are lower than you think

In my previous post, I argued that the accessibility discussion often glosses over costs (in terms of planning, implementation, and testing), and that a more successful case for accessibility would acknowledge those costs. After hearing other perspectives via comments on the post, digging further into WCAG guidelines, and participating in internal discussions/workshops, I want to amend part of that argument.

I still think the better case for accessibility is one that talks about costs, because cost is a key part of most businesses' decision-making.

But the best case for accessibility would lead with this revelation: Actually, for many websites — and certainly for many agency projects — the costs are trivial to implement and test common, high-impact accessibility items.

And if that's the case, we don't need to reframe accessibility at all. I mean, we can — but kind of who cares? If more businesses and people knew they could do the right thing and make accessible sites with little additional cost, I think most would do the right thing.

That means the key is not only to encourage more people in our industry to be well-educated about accessibility. It's to understand that an important part of that education is non-judgmentally addressing concerns — including concerns about costs — and ignorance.

And speaking of ignorance: Just because I'm an accessibility newb doesn't mean Viget is an accessibility newb. We've incorporated accessibility into many of our projects, and Jeremy, Jason, and Megan are leading internal efforts to standardize accessibility training and implementation. Viget is investing in those efforts — and in efforts like my posts — so we can do the right thing as much as possible.

What #TheDress Reminded Me About Web Design

As the dust settles on #TheDress debate and the naysayers start to see that the dress is obviously blue and black, I've realized that there is an underlying lesson to be learned from this internet sensation:

People see things differently based on their circumstances.


This is an important reminder. As professionals in the web design world, it's something we need to constantly keep in mind. Whether it's due to screen brightness, environmental lighting, time of day, or some other external factor, there's inevitably going to be a number of considerations to take into account when designing for the web.

Sifting through the hundreds of articles on #TheDress, you'll find that some postulate that it might be your emotional state that's causing you to see blue and black vs. white and gold. Could this be the real reason? I can't answer that, but what I do know is that it's yet another factor to take into consideration.

The Next Rocky Mountain Digital Project Manager Presentation: Atomic20

On Thursday, February 26, Rocky Mountain Digital Project Managers will get together for another great presentation from local digital leaders.

This month, we’re back in Boulder and are excited to have Atomic20 as our host. By coming to the event, you’ll get a chance to see their space and hear more about their process! Atomic20 is a marketing agency and shared creative workspace dedicated to free agents and curating teams who solve design challenges. How Atomic20 fields teams is different than many agencies and it will be interesting to dive into the details with them.

Atomic20 will also be providing pizza and beverages!

Using GitHub on Multidisciplinary Teams

We use GitHub for file versioning and code reviews on almost every project here at Viget. With less frequency, we use GitHub Issues to assign tasks and address bugs. With even less frequency, we use Milestones and Wikis for setting deadlines and documenting projects, respectively. In most cases, we lean heavily on GitHub’s primary offering while ignoring the power of its myriad other features.

What if we used more of GitHub’s features? What if we involved more members of a project team outside of developers? What would that look like?

I’ve got a couple of ideas. Now, I haven’t been able to put all of these ideas into practice, so they may or may not be feasible. In this post, I’ll trade out some of these ideas, attempting to wring even more value out of an already indisposable tool.

An Uncomfortable Missing Part of the Accessibility Discussion

We're making an internal push at Viget, led by Jeremy Fields, to better incorporate accessibility into more of our projects. But when we talk about accessibility internally, it often feels like the conversation ends up in an awkward place.

I had the same awkward feeling when reading Anne Gibson's "Reframing Accessibility for the Web" article on A List Apart and other recent articles about accessibility. They feel awkward because they largely avoid an important but obvious piece of the discussion. 

It's an uncomfortable missing piece, to be sure. But unless we address this uncomfortable truth head-on, I don't think the accessibility argument will ultimately succeed.