I understand the need for arguing the business side of accessibility, I do. But I wish the need wasn't there.
I know every decision must acknowledge the business side of things. Accessibility is no exception, and I'm glad there's a strong business argument in favor of it. I've led with the business case many times and it's worked well in persuading others to focus on it more. It's been an important, almost vital, argument when discussing accessibility with others.
Still, I wish we lived in a system where the business case wasn't needed. I wish the moral case for being inclusive was reason enough to make a product is accessible. Even if it didn't help the bottom line.
I wish anything without a business case but a strong ethical case wasn't shot down right away. I wish a company's concern didn't stop at the threat of legal action or bad press.
I wish there wasn't pushback against accessibility until someone mentions the legal case. I wish people didn't need threats of a lawsuit to care more about other people. I wish this same tactic wasn't used by grifters to scare people into ineffective accessibility tools.
Alright. I'm going to make the time today, hold my drink. @AccessiBe is literally PREYING on your organization's decision makers, and framing disabled folks and their CIVIL RIGHTS as the enemy. A thread inspired by this trash comic #a11y #accessibility #civilrights pic.twitter.com/4irPqFz9Qe— Alex Tait (@AT_Fresh_Dev) May 13, 2021
Worst of all, I wish companies didn't pretend they care about the moral case.
I wish these companies also didn't say "we care" while offering excuses of "we'll add it later" or "they can just call us." I wish they didn't say "we're working on it" while still having fundamental accessibility issues with no plans to fix them. I wish they didn't keep pushing these changes back to get one more (inaccessible) product out the door.
I wish they'd at least be honest about how unaware or indifferent they are. I wish users that need these features didn't need to pull them into court over and over again. I wish we didn't have to slog through the endless lip service and legal jargon to get accountability.
I wish this world had more people that believed in the ethics of web accessibility, not only the business of it. I wish people listened before we bring up how it helps user retention or increased audience share. I wish doing what was right and fair for others is enough. I wish this showed any signs of changing soon. But I'm realistic enough to know it's unlikely at best, and it remains a wish.
Until it does, I know I'll have to keep leading with web accessibility's business over its ethics. Even as I wish a small part of me didn't hate every moment of it.