Adding an accessibility statement

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With the latest deployment of this website, you should be able to see a link labeled “Accessibility” in the footer. This will take you to my accessibility statement. This is important to me for a few reasons:

  • I tried to make all the features and content on my site as accessible as I know how to do. I want my users to know I care about them.
  • I want people who work with me to understand the importance of digital accessibility and my commitment to ongoing learning and social responsibility.
  • If there are errors or accessibility issues on my site, I need to know about them so I can go about fixing them as quickly as possible.

It’s far more common to see accessibility statements where they may be legally required, such as large corporations, governments, and education websites. I have noticed a few people I look up to include statements on their personal sites, and I’ve linked to them on my own page. I hope this is a trend that continues!

When I set out to redesign my site in December 2020, providing an accessible experience was top of mind. With every new feature and page I add to my website, I consider accessibility and do my best to address it.

Often times this looks like running a URL through an automated accessibility checker. I personally love browser-based tools, and my longtime favorites are WAVE and Tenon. These tools are good, and it’s fun or challenging to get a “score”. But they’re only capable of catching 30-50% of accessibility issues on a page, so it’s important to do some manual checks.

I fixed an issue recently on my Library page, when I discovered redundant alt text on linked images. In this case, I had both a book cover image and book title linked and going to the same destination, and I was using the book title as the image’s alt attribute. I was trained to always use alt text on a linked image, but in this case if there is text in the link describing the link destination, it is OK to use an empty alt="". Pope Tech has a great blog post on this, using an image card component as an example.

An accessibility statement is not going to prevent me from running into issues like this, but it does communicate my dedication to fixing these things as I discover them. I also included two ways my audience can report accessibility issues or barriers to me. Finally, I thought it was important to state that I am always learning new things about digital accessibility and will share what I learn.

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