Accessibility matters #
I think about “accessibility” as the design of products, devices, services, or environments for people who experience disabilities. However, according to the Oxford Dictionaries, the terms accessibility has a broader meaning :
- the quality of being able to be reached or entered.
- the quality of being easy to obtain or use.
- the quality of being easily understood or appreciated.
Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to rest importance to the design of products for people who experience disabilities. It is extremely important to be empathic and ensure that when we create something, it can also be enjoyed by people who experience disabilities.
I was recently reading the book Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari and he argues that what enabled humans to conquer the world wasn’t a unique possession of consciousness because animals have that too in varying degrees. What was unique was our ability to cooperate in very large numbers.
Side Note: If you find this idea interesting, you will probably enjoy reading Homo Deus or watching the TED talk “Why humans run the world” .
It is also important to reflect on the fact that this is a lesson that can be applied to many different kinds of organizations. Open source projects, startups, research collectives, and governments are just some of them.
Focusing on accessibility #
At this point, our main question should be: How can we focus on accessibility?
My first suggestion is to practice wishful programming. Wishful programming  is a very powerful programming practice that can help us to create accessible APIs. However, many programmers are unaware of it:
Write some code that uses a component before we implement the component. This helps to discover what functions and data we need, and following this discovery will lead us to more simple and useful APIs.
When we practice wishful programming, we focus our efforts on the creation of simple and useful APIs. We can achieve this by asking ourselves what is the easier and minimal way to allow someone to try, install, use, understand, extend something before we implement it.
My second suggestion is to try to ensure that our community is also accessible, as opposed to just our product. We can achieve this by promoting diversity and inclusiveness.
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