No one wakes up in the morning and says “You know what? I think it would be great if a very large subset of the web-using public couldn’t use my website”. Or web application. Pick your poison for the last word in that sentence. Nonetheless, accessibility often is last in line when it comes to project priorities. The Section 508 Refresh is right around the corner and with it, the expectation to make all government web properties compliant to WCAG 2.0 AA. For most organizations, this is nothing short of a nightmare. But does it really need to be? Accessibility requirements challenge development practices and jeopardize a project’s profitability. As accessibility affects every contributor, it is not advisable to base its liability on a single person’s shoulders. Sharing responsibilities between different specialists is the key to making accessibility happen. What if the only things an organization needed were a blueprint, a strategy and the right mindset? The slides below, delivered by Denis Boudreau at this year’s Accessibility Camp Terronto demonstrate the piitfalls of allowing accessibility to be the responsibility of one person, and also how to make the job of compliance easier for businesses.
Since I live in WordPress, I’ve heard about Easy Digital Downloads by Pippin Williamson a lot. He’s a prolific plugin author who contributes in a huge way to the WordPress community with both his plugins and the tutorials he writes, both for free and cost.
I’ve been pondering the idea of putting together some guides for WordPress that focus on performing tasks with accessibility in mind. I will still publish free tutorials on this site, but would also like to write more in-depth material.
So I took Easy Digital Downloads for a spin yesterday. I wrote a plugin that I thought would be useful and put up a post about it. As part of the work for that post, I tested Easy Digital Downloads.
The documentation promises that it’s easy. It is indeed that. But what pleasantly surprised me is that along with the ease comes accessibility. I was able to configure every option using a screen reader for the plugin, and I didn’t have to perform any crazy maneuvers to get it working. Given everything the plugin can do, I was a little worried that accessibility would have been compromised. I’m glad that I found that not to be the case.
If you’re a blind businessperson selling products that are digital, like music or ebooks, and you’re also running WordPress, give Easy Digital Downloads a spin.
Thanks Pippin. This is how you do accessible user experience. I’ll be buying extensions.
You can find the tutorial here, and of course add it to your bookmarks if you want to consume it.