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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Why This Kolaveri?

One of the most innovative discovery of 20th Century is the world wide web and by the starting of 21st century, means in the era we are living, it has become life line of most of the business and non business activities. Statistics says that number of internet users  in 2012 has increased by more than 500% from the users in year 2000. If I take my example, I was not using internet in 2000 but now, most of the time, I am connected to internet. There are multiple things which I do regularly on web:

  • Earning - My job is totally dependent on Internet.
  • Mails/Chat – All business and personal communications
  • Connecting with friends through different Social Networking
  • News
  • Entertainment – Music, Movies, Games
  • Study and blogging
  • Shopping
  • Travel planning and bookings
  • Bank Transactions
  • etc.

The list is long and I am sure most of you are also using the web for same or different purposes. So, We live in a world which runs over cloud. Imagine a day when you wake up in the morning to find out that you can’t use the web and the reason is neither technical nor electric but physical and you can’t do anything to fix this. What will you do?

I have a story before coming to the main point.

Once Upon a time: Thousands year ago, there was a blind king named Dhritarashtra who is father of Kauravas, his hundred sons. Then, the famous war of Mahabharata between Pandavas and Kauravas started at Kurukshetra. As the king was blind he couldn’t go to war but being a father and a king he wanted to get every news from the war field. Dhritrarashtra had an advisor and charioteer named Sanjaya, who had the gift of seeing events at a distance granted by the sage Vyasa, he narrated to Dhritarshtra the action in the climactic battle of Kurukshetra. So, with the help of Sanjaya, Dhritarshtra could get update of every single second of war field.

That was a different time but need of Sanjaya is still there. Looking at the dependency on web, it could be quite difficult to survive without Sanjaya but having Sanjaya as assistant could be quite costly so we need an alternative in form of web accessibility.

Web Accessibility: For me, Web accessibility is about making the web possible for everybody – people with all abilities and disabilities. There are multiple kinds of disabilities which Web accessibility should address:

  • Visual
  • Motor/Mobility
  • Auditory
  • Cognitive/Intellectual
  • Seizures

So, we have an option to survive provided web accessibility but unfortunately, most of the websites and web software available have accessibility barriers which make it difficult or impossible for people with special abilities or disabilities to use the Web.

Why This Kolaveri? – Developing an accessible website is not a rocket science; the only reason which has built up this barrier is Ignorance. Most business people claim that their sites aren't used by people with disabilities, so they don't need to pay attention to web accessibility but this is most ridiculous claim ever made and there is no basis of this claim. When constitution of our country gives the right of equality then who are me, you and anyone else to take that away.

The other crucial reason is lack of awareness, the same reason which prompted me to write this blog post.

Here is few statistics data which I collected from various websites. This data should be an eye opener for all those business people who only trust numbers. Below are the numbers of incidence of disabilities recorded by government agencies in different countries

  1. New Zealand, 20% of the population (Statistics New Zealand, 2001)
  2. United States, 19.3% of the population (US Census Bureau, 2000)
  3. United Kingdom, 18% of the population (National Statistics, 2001)
  4. Australia, 17% of the population (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2003)
  5. Canada, 12.1% of the population (Statistics Canada, 2001)
  6. European Union, across the 15 EU countries in 2001, 19.3% of the population was hampered by physical or mental health problem, illness or disability, with 9.3% severely hampered. (Eurostat, 2003)
  7. One in every two Americans of 65 and above has a disability.
  8. Nearly 30% of all families in the U.S. are affected by a member who has a disability.
  9. People with disabilities boast a population of 54 million and have a discretionary income of more than $175 billion – that’s nearly twice the buying power of the teen market

Why Stop This Kolaveri?: If the statistics data provided could not change your mind, I have other reasons for you to stop this Kolaveri.

  • Social Responsibility: Humanity is one of the qualities which keep us human above anyone else. As a human being we should make sure to provide a better and independent life to those who need it. For web users, we can do it by providing the accessibility on our website.
  • Grow your Business: More users mean more business and providing web accessibility can bring more users on your website.
  • Save your Ass: If above two reasons are not good enough; that only means you are one of the tough nuts to crack and we have one fool proof reason for you: Most of the countries has some standards to regulate the web accessibility. If you are working from such country – better go for web accessibility rather than getting screwed your ass someday.

A single blog post is not sufficient for this topic so I will be publishing some more blog posts on accessibility testing in coming days. Please let me know your feedback and suggestions on the same by yours valuable comments. Don’t forget to share if you liked it.

Come, Let’s make web a place accessible to all.

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1 comments:

Unknown said...

Hi Mohit, This is one of the best article I read in recent times. Hope many good articles like this from you. Thanks&Regards,SreedharK.