Ashlee M Boyer

Dog mom to Trooper | Engineer of software | Lover of learning | Partner of Zach | She/her/hers | HOH 👂🏻

Me hands-on-hips, standing in front of a brick building, looking sassily at the word No painted in large yellow letters.

Things You Shouldn't Say to a Disabled Person About Why Your App Isn't Accessible

May 06, 20191 minute read

Not that I feel the need to explain myself, but I want to share that I'm hard-of-hearing. It's genetic and just about everyone on my family's maternal side suffers significant hearing loss. I've had hearing aids since I was 10 years old, and as I've grown up, it becomes more and more clear to me how little people understand about the importance of accessibility.

This post is a bit of a rant since all of the below have been said to me personally (all in one conversation, actually 🤦🏼‍♀️). These are all the things I wish I could've said at the time, but you don't always get to speak out when you're like me. It's exhausting, and I'm writing this post as an ask to please be more aware of the things you say and how you say them. You might mean well, but your words can still be incredibly hurtful.

"It's low priority."

That's pretty clear at this point, but why is that? What's your excuse? Is it too hard? Do you not want to spend the time learning about it? Are there not enough of us that exist for you to be concerned about our needs?

"We need to beat competitors to market."

Based on my experience in this industry, I wonder if they are even concerned about accessibility. Consumers value companies that value them. You should be trying to stand out beyond having a large number of software features.

"I get it, but..."

No, you obviously don't. If you did, you wouldn't be saying any of these things to my face. You either think you're super woke or you completely forgot that you're talking to a disabled person. I'm kind of afraid of how you talk about disabled people when you're away from us.

"There's no point if no one is using it."

So, when people start using it, how do you plan on figuring out how many of them need a more accessible tool if we can't actually use it to tell you? We don't have the time for you to play catch up. We'll just go somewhere else.


Image by DSB.