The Importance of User Feedback
Many people have a misconception about accessibility: that it’s an “optional extra”—as if people with disabilities were not in the same crowd as the average user or learner.
An accessible product doesn’t have to be extra; it could just be accessible for all from the very beginning. Universal design means a product is designed to be usable for all people instead of separate technologies for people with different disabilities. It is usually easier and cheaper to design a product and make it accessible from the very beginning, rather than add the accessible aspects retroactively. For example, a door that is originally wide enough for a wheelchair to enter has a much lower cost and installation time compared to widening the door after installation.
Many campuses and vendors are beginning to get the message about universal design, but we still have work to do. A lot can be accomplished by providing user feedback for inaccessible products. The more people who speak up, the more developers and vendors will hear, listen, and learn. Feedback can help developers make changes, fix bugs, and design their next product.
The default behavior shouldn’t be to turn your back on a technology if a developer doesn’t create a product correctly. It should be to help that developer create a better product.
The next time you experience accessibility problems with a website or web application, let your voice be heard. Be a part of the solution. Contact the responsible department or webmaster and let them know about the accessibility problems you are facing and volunteer to help them if they need it. It is also important that you follow up with them to ensure that they have fixed the issues. If you are still experiencing the same issues, you need to be persistent and politely complain again. It is equally important to let them know that the fixes they have been done have improved the accessibility of their site.