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Thinking about accessibility as an industry + WCAG 2.2 released!

(CW: Death in the third section of this newsletter. You can safely bail out after the WCAG 2.2 section without missing substantial information.)

If you follow me on Mastodon (Opens in a new window) or LinkedIn (Opens in a new window), you might have noticed that my posts are now often about the professionalization and opportunity in the “accessibility industry”.

From my (heatedly discussed) mild wonder about the efficiency of accessibility certificates (Opens in a new window) to my personal discussion to not join IAAP events until there is a clear commitment to expel overlay vendors (Opens in a new window); to the thought that most accessibility opportunities are available for seniors, but there is not enough training for junior people to even get these opportunities (Opens in a new window).

I want accessibility to be better and stronger. I think it’s very well reflected by my blog posts this year, too:

Seven blog posts in 9 months is pretty good for me, I’m really happy, and it would not be possible without the support of you subscribers, especially the ones who have signed up for a paid membership (Opens in a new window).

I hope to condense my thoughts about education and apprenticeships into a blog post soon, too. It looks like a lot of people see accessibility in academics, where it certainly needs to be engrained into various computer science courses. TeachAccess (Opens in a new window) is tirelessly working on that. The question is if the job of a dedicated accessibility tester is not better suited for a practical, hands-on training instead.

Waiting for WCAG 2.2 no more!

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.2 (Opens in a new window) was finally published as a Recommendation, which is the W3C term for “web standard”. As much as I understand it, internationalization concerns over parts of WCAG 2.2 that have been in effect since WCAG 2.0 caused the final delay. In the meantime, the Working Group updated WCAG 2.1 (Opens in a new window) with text that designates Success Criterion 4.1.1 Parsing as passed when HTML and XML is used (Opens in a new window). This is a sensible update, considering that the success criterion is now also removed from WCAG 2.2. The reason for the removal is the frequent misunderstandings what and how should be tested. Also, the low impact of issues in the source code after HTML5 parsers apply their fixes. I do expect the same note to be added to WCAG 2.0, too.

For more on how to categorize common issues that we would have assigned to SC 4.1.1, see Adrian Roselli’s “The 411 on 4.1.1 (Opens in a new window)”.

Thanks to all involved in WCAG 2.2 for the work and the dedication to make this version of WCAG reality.

Molly Holzschlag (1963–2023)

I think Molly’s impact on the positive sides of the web and how it works can only be underestimated. As a fighter for web standards and accessibility, she constantly fought for a better, more just web.

And while our paths never crossed face-to-face, her enthusiasm and strength fighting for the web had a long-lasting impact on me. (We almost met after her talk at Fronteers Conference 2009, but it wasn’t meant to be. That she considered meeting up at all is still an honor to me.)

She never disguised her dissatisfaction with how some aspects of the web have turned out. I respect her for speaking out, and I’m sure that some aspects would have turned out differently if she had been around with her full strength.

I’ll miss her voice.

Eric Meyer wrote about his memories of Molly. (Opens in a new window)

What’s next?

It’s shaping up to be an autumn that is packed with work. Large clients, small clients, exciting clients. I still hope to be able to write a few more blog posts. Maybe I even send out another newsletter! Wouldn’t that be a neat thing?

👋 Eric

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