There’s no substitute…
- …for the taste of real Coca-Cola.
- …for the feel of beach sand between your toes.
- …for that feeling of meeting your child for the first time.
- …for exercising regularly.
- …for spending quality time with those you love.
- …for a full night’s sleep.
- …for a quality cup of coffee.
- …for planning properly for retirement.
- …for shaking hands.
I feel the same way about accessibility for the web. There are plenty of tools that help us do the work. They’re great tools and they provide a huge amount of valuable guidance.
But they’re just that: tools. They can’t emphasize with human beings who may be disabled in any number of ways, whether it be the things we commonly think about, like blindness and deafness, or whether it be less obvious things like, say two broken arms.
While I am by no means an expert on accessibility, I do know that my site meets accessibility standards, as measured by tools. What I don’t know is how accessible my site is, as measured by a human being. That takes relational expertise. It takes qualitative feedback.
Tools are no substitute for empathy.