[Explained] Accessibility - Enabling one enabling all
Updated: Jun 27, 2020
This articles talks about accessibility and the various tools provided by Microsoft for a more accessible world.
Let's first try to understand the word, Accessibility. In the most simple words, accessibility is enabling everyone and anyone to have access to something (say, a product or a service).
I recently completed a course on "Accessibility in Action" from Microsoft. In this article I will be sharing my learning from the course and few things we can incorporate in our everyday work culture, to ensure we are following accessibility.
More than a long list of standards and tools, it is an innate change that we need to bring to our thought process, and think of accessibility as a social responsibility and not as some legal requirement. When we build a more accessible world, we are in turn making it more inclusive, wherein everyone feels valued and is equally enabled to use any product/software/presentation etc.
Accessibility is not selective, it is not only the responsibility of a Manager to make sure they are building products which are accessible. Accessibility is needed at every level. From sending a smallest email to establishing guidelines for a new product release.
Another interesting thing I learnt in the course was about the kinds of disabilities. Most of us are cognizant of physical, visual and hearing disabilities, these are the ones which we can easily identify. However, not all disabilities are visible, what about the ones which we cannot see? Since we always cannot know whether a person has a disability or not, it is better to be open and respectful about everyone's choices.
Now that we have established our basic understanding on accessibility. Let's move to the second part of the article, wherein we will learn few tools which we can incorporate in our daily lives.
Accessibility Insights - It is a free and open source tool by Microsoft to help find accessibility issues before it reaches the customers. It is currently provided for Web, Windows and Android. For Web it comes as a Chrome/Edge extension whereas for Windows and Android it comes as a Desktop App. For more information, you can go through the full documentation here, https://accessibilityinsights.io/
Accessibility Checker - Accessibility checker in Microsoft Office analyzes your material and provides recommendations to your document, helping you create more accessible content by identifying the errors. In the Office Apps you can find the Check Accessibility option under the Reviews tab.
For e.g. I checked the accessibility of this article, and in a new tab it showed me all the warnings.
For more information: Head to Office Support to learn more about Accessibility Checker