The intersection of technology, research, financial aid and student access in higher education

Academic Writing Accessibility

Added on by Scott Cline.

Marco Arment spent a good quarter of his last podcast (Build and Analyize Ep. 95) talking about iOS accessibility and the difference between developers who care and those that do not care. Stephen van Egmond also wrote about the same in The Blind Shooting The Blind. I agree with both of them.[1] Egmond wrote,

Here, then, lies the answer to how to tell whether some developer you’ve just met (or are interviewing) is serious about their craft in five seconds flat: borrow their device, and triple-click the home button. If you don’t hear “VoiceOver on”, or get prompted about VoiceOver, consider that −3 points on the Steve Test.

This applies to much more then accessibility for the visually imparied, but to doing the work (and in this case esay work) needed to make the things that we do accessible to the largest number of people possible. Academic writing, tied up in formal, expensive journals, ladden with insider language often are not built for the largest number of people possible as well.

I know this not a new point nor an argumenet that has not been debated a few (many) times, but I think we should always keep it in mind as we write for our formal, expensive journals, ladden with insider language.

  1. Via Marco’s podcast and his follow up on his website lead me to the original article by Stephen van Egmond.  ↩