Skip to main content

Accessibility, expectations, and a nebulous teaser


It looks like the cold and uncomfortable months are over here in the Northern Hemisphere. I’m excited about more hiking and getting around in the coming weeks.

Accessibility-wise, it felt like there was still a lot going on this month, and I assume that we are up for a very, very exhausting 2024. As a recap from the last newsletter (Opens in a new window), Level Access bought an overlay company and there almost had been a conference panel that platformed overlays in the name of IAAP which turned out to be unsanctioned and later cancelled.

A short time after the last newsletter, we learned that Mike Paciello joined another overlay vendor. And while I cannot speculate about the personal motivation of individuals joining companies or publishing articles, it really feels like many are just searching for a quick way to profit from the “AI” hype around accessibility.

I blogged about being disappointed with many parts of the community giving up or changing their principles quickly in a blog post that I called It’s the hope that kills you (Opens in a new window) (in a reference to Ted Lasso, of course). I wrote about hoping that my work had a higher impact, but also the realization that there is only so much you can do. Even if you are the most hard-working, extending yourself over the limits, burning out accessibility person, you won’t be perfect.

The good thing: You do not need to be perfect or create perfect results.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give your best with the resources you have. But be aware that there are limits to what you can do and the impact possible. One of the reasons is that accessibility is almost infinite, there’s always something that somehow could be done better. It’s inherent to the work in this field.

We need to make sure that we distribute the work on more shoulders to give everyone a well-earned rest from time to time. And of course, tool help.

My accessibility testing has transformed recently by using a few new tools recently, and I really love that. (I plan to detail some things in the coming weeks on the blog and in the coming months in the newsletter.) New stuff is always great. I use a grammar and typo checking tool to write this newsletter, and I transcribe client calls and some trainings with a local LLM. That those calls were often only available as an audio/video recording irked me for a long time. I think for these use cases, LLMs can be very useful.

BTW: Thanks to everyone who had reached out to me after the blog post, it was really heartwarming.

A little teaser

I’ve been thinking for a long time of writing some longer form content. But, let’s face it: That’s not me.

And there are already lots of good books around! (That reminds me that I should port my book listing (Opens in a new window) from my microblog to the real website soon.)

What I have seen cropping up a lot in the last few months is misinterpretations and misunderstandings of WCAG, and I think I can make a little difference there. I have a very specific resource I want to create, which hopefully helps with it.

One example: I regularly see people being confused by “decorative image”, a phrase that did exist before, but we put it into the WAI tutorials (Opens in a new window) in 2017-ish. There, we used it as a nicer way to describe the WCAG concept of “pure decoration”. And the last note on the page clarifies that any image that adds more than “improve the look of the page” is informative. Nobody thought that the change of wording here would introduce a problem. (W3C resources are usually very thoroughly checked, and I assure you, we had so many revisions of these tutorials.)

But what happened is that instead of asking “Is this image or graphic pure decoration?” practitioners started asking “Is this image or graphic decorative?”

And I think you can understand how many more images/graphics fall under “decorative” than fall under “pure decoration”.

Anyway… The goal of the resource is to help with the nuance and why WCAG is written as it is. Understanding these nuances not only makes it easier to make pass/fail decisions in audits but also gives a better starting point for best practices.

I’ll have to plan this a bit more, I need to modify the website, and I consider rolling individual articles out for Member supporters first or as in-work preview. But that depends on how well this all integrates with my publishing workflow. (As always, I consider my content a donation to the community, so it will be freely available.)

Let me know what you think. 📧 (Opens in a new window) If you have any ideas, or questions about WCAG. This is a resource for you all, after all.

Parting Words

This newsletter has been going on for far too long. Maybe I should blog more!

Thanks again to everyone who has subscribed to this newsletter, you rock! Thanks also to the members who directly support my activities financially.

I hope y’all have a good and uneventful March. Take care.

👋 Eric


My primary social media/Fediverse/Mastodon handle is still (Opens in a new window), and you can also find me on LinkedIn (Opens in a new window) (where I wear a tie (Narrator: Eric has never worn a tie.)) and Bluesky (Opens in a new window) (why am I there?).

Topic Newsletter


Would you like to be the first to write a comment?
Become a member of Eric Eggert — Web Accessibility Expert and start the conversation.
Become a member