Creating truly accessible experiences for our users requires us to get past the dogma and take a more holistic approach to accessibility.
As part of the recent Barclaycard redesign when I was at Conchango, we were given the dual challenge of creating the most innovative credit card site in the financial services space while at the same time making it the most accessible. Working with John from AbilityNet (a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to making technology more accessible for those with disabilities) we learned some valuable lessons which changed my perspective on accessibility:
• Accessibility is not about checklists and validators
• Visual impairment is important but often gets a disproportionate amount of airtime at the expense of cognitive impairment
• Scenario-based testing is far more effective for judging accessibility than any kind of code-level semantic checking methods