Today is Global Accessibility Awareness Day. If you are reading this post, chances are you knew that, or at least you have some idea what it might be about. And if you’re reading this post, chances are you know me and know I’ve been on a bit of a roll with accessibility and inclusivity lately. I’ve been working with it a lot with my clients, we’ve been tackling the issue with the team at the ethical move and I’ve been attending digital events to strengthen my knowledge of the subject.
But when it comes to the global awareness day, I have to admit, I had been a bit cynical for a while. I sometimes get all caught up in the excitement of awareness days and awareness months, and do all the posting and all the challenges and hope it makes a difference. Other times I see all the excitement about the day and all the noise that gets made about things that matter, and I see it come and go and no one makes any changes. I sometimes worry that putting on a rainbow or zebra stripes or pink ribbons for a day or a month gives us the feeling of having done something without really having made much of an effort.
This time around something happened that made me rethink all that cynicism. A few weeks ago, I was looking for alternatives to google forms to conduct a survey, I was looking at all the usual services and those that I’d used in the past, but I couldn’t find one that worked for what I needed and didn’t feel icky to use. So I started looking around for something new and BlockSurvey came up in my search.
I immediately loved their stance on privacy, data and encryption and couldn’t wait to take it out for a spin. I got in there and everything looked simple and crisp and the interface was so easy to understand. I was elated, until I tried to navigate the survey by tabbing into it. I was saddened to realize that the very first accessibility check I could do, the platform wasn’t equipped to handle.
Looking around the site I saw they had a Discord server set up for their users, so I decided to join and bring up the issue, I’ve made a point of mentioning accessibility to platforms I have to use or would love to use but they are not accessible. The developers replied to me seeing they would implement it soon, I had heard that line before, accessibility is always in the roadmap but it’s never a priority.
But lo and behold, a few weeks later their newsletter went out and I was surprised to see they had already started putting in the work to make their entire product accessible. I also got a lovely message from Wilson from BlockSurvey, thanking me for highlighting accessibility to them, explaining that they weren’t really aware of the issue but that now they absolutely understand the importance and are going to be implementing it fully.
I had never been happier to be proven wrong, I’m incredibly excited to think that this already great product is going to be even better and serve a broader audience thanks to the tiniest of efforts to raise awareness. As it turns out, awareness matters and it can make a difference.