U.S. General Services Administration
Accessibility: What’s in It
OCSIT Celebrates the UN’s International
Day of Persons with Disabilities
Angela M. Hooker
December 3, 2013
Accessibility Benefits—Just for You …
Photograph: A fortune cookie that says, “You are in for an enlightening experience.
You’ll broaden your skill set.
Since the web evolves, learning and using
principles of accessibility will help you continue
to expand your expertise.
Photograph: a fortune cookie that says “You are the master of every situation.
Your supervisor will value you more.
After all, you’re helping the
• Engage more citizens with
• Influence other agencies.
• Save money.
• Obey the law.
• Avoid lawsuits.
Photograph of a fortune cookie that says, “Your talents wil be recognized and suitably rewarded.”
You’ll use your creativity and expertise
to solve problems.
Not all accessibility problems have only a
single method to resolve them. You can
create new, more accessible solutions—
especially as the web continues to evolve.
Photograph: A fortune cookie that says, “You should be able to undertake and complete anything you desire”
You’re getting older and …
… you may need accessibility some day. If we set the expectation
for having accessible technology now, it will become a standard
that you and others will benefit from having in the future.
Photograph: A pile of coins with a fortune cookie that says, “You wil have many friends when you need them. Panda Express, Panda Inn”
Help Others and You’ll Reap Social
Photograph: A fortune cookie that says, “You wil be cal ed upon to help a friend in trouble.”
You’ll interact with, and befriend, people
whom you’d otherwise might not meet.
The W3C says: “Accessibility supports social inclusion for people with
disabilities as well as others, such as older people, people in rural areas, and
people in developing countries.”
So, imagine having an online encounter with Stephen Hawking, Stevie
Wonder, Stephen Fry, or any other “Steve” with a disability, who uses social
media! You might not interact with them without accessibility. Photograph: A fortune cookie that says, “Many new friends wil be attracted to your friendly and charming ways.”
You’ll help others have “ordinary,” fuller,
participatory, and independent lives.
Shawn Lawton Henry says, “[With accessibility] … people with disabilities can do
ordinary things: Children can learn, teenagers can flirt, adults can make a living,
seniors can manage their stock portfolios, and so on.”
We may take these activities for granted because they’re … ordinary, everyday
activities. Yet, without accessibility, people with disabilities aren’t always able to do
them.Photograph: A fortune cookie saying, “Your life wil be peaceful and fulfil ing.”
You’ll fight discrimination.
People with disabilities face discrimination in the forms of exclusion from the
general public; segregation—in school and workplaces; and unequal or inferior
services, benefits, or activities. Discrimination can lead to fear toward people
who are different in any way, and feelings of isolation and depression in people
You can help fight discrimination through using accessible and inclusionary
practices. Photograph of a fortune cookie that says, “About time I got out of that cookie.”
Above all else, it’s the
right thing to do.
We want people—even total strangers—to
treat us well. It’s sensible, then, to do the
same in our work. Photograph of a fortune cookie that says, “Ask not what your fortune cookie can do for you, but what you can do for your fort une cookie.
Contact me for more
information about accessibility,
disabilities, Section 508, and
Photograph of a fortune cookie paper atop a painting of a woman. The paper says, “Beware of cookies bearing fortunes.”
1. “Fortunes,” by MNicoleM
2. “Fortune Cookie Tells the Truth,” by karlnorling
3. “Talents,” by Jeni Rodger
4. “Cookie Exudes Confidence,” by twelve tens Jim
5. “A Fortune in Friends,” by Jeff Hester
6. “Fortune Cookie,” by ThatGirlPhotoTaker
7. “Friendly & Charming Ways,” by DrJoolz
8. “Day 324/365,” by pheaber
9. “Fortune Cookie,” by bwats2
10. “Ashley’s Fortune, Dec. 30, 2007,” by mdesive
11. “Fortune Cookie Today,” by zen
All photographs used in accordance with Creative Commons licensing, as of
December 2, 2013.