Our first poll was a simple fill-in-the-blank: “Accessibility is…” What does accessibility mean to you? How do you define it for yourself?

Bus on busy street

When we redesigned our site, it was essential to include a way for you–our community–to add your voice. So, we made a poll. The idea was to put a new question out regularly, gather the responses, and post our findings. We wanted to talk with you, not at you. We wanted our site to be an ongoing conversation about web accessibility.

Our first poll was a simple fill-in-the-blank: “Accessibility is…” What does accessibility mean to you? How do you define it for yourself? We got a ton of responses. (Thanks, y’all!) Some were technical. Some were poetic. Some were political.

Here are the greatest hits:

“Accessibility means a digital world for everyone, regardless of where, when, why, and how you consume the content that is being communicated. It’s communication that’s non-discriminatory in every way.”

“It’s not accessible unless it’s also usable.”

“Universal design.”

“To care for every user.”

“Conscious simplicity.”

“Accessibility is a design principle that benefits all users.”

“Accessibility means providing data in a manner that computers and people of all types can understand, ‘mash-up’, and use in ways that its developers never predicted.”

“Freedom.”

“Accessibility is empathy.”

Inspiring, right? Looks like our job here is done. Just kidding. In fact, the responses to our poll, while amazing, point to a problem we’re itching to tackle. Only one response expressed any kind of frustration or confusion.

“Accessibility is…headache.”

I bet a ton of people–and companies, and teams–can relate to that.

Empty bus

We knew our fellow believers were out there waving the flag high–and this poll confirms it–but we didn’t seem to hear from a lot of folks who are struggling to understand accessibility. Saying “I don’t know” is hard.

It’s up to us to make it easier.

Simply Accessible’s mission is a digital world that belongs to everyone. And we mean everyone. So, from here out, we’re going to work a little harder to encourage the voices of those who are still baffled by web accessibility and don’t know where to start. The folks who know it’s important, but are frustrated by the rules, or nervous about how much it’s going to cost.

The people we all were when we started.

Our polls are also going to recruit those of you who are already accessibility savvy. Why? Because you are leaders in our field. And as leaders we’re responsible for making accessibility…accessible.

It’s our job to create a space for those who are less skilled or versed in accessibility. It’s on us to make it simple to start an accessibility journey, for developers and clients alike. It’s our job to make sure best practices win out over quick fixes, and people come before compliance.

Full bus

Whether we acknowledge it or not, we’re all on the same team: a bunch of die-hard pros, and shiny new recruits, who truly believe that the web should be usable by anyone. Accessibility is an all-hands-on-deck situation. Consider this a call to arms. To every web professional reading this right now: it’s time to collaborate and genuinely make the web a better place.

Accessibility is…up to us.