Favouriting a tweet by Eric Bailey

Sebastian Greger


Let's do a quick #a11y review of the first website for each voting category for @AWWWARDS' best of 2020.
— Eric Bailey

This Twitter thread by Eric Bailey points at an issue that the inclusive design community is well aware of, but that is ignored at large by the audiences of these “Best Websites of …” competitions and top-lists:

A lot of (I’d go as far as to say: the majority of) websites celebrated by design agencies and decorated with “design awards” are lacking even the most basic consideration of accessibility. Eric is not doing thorough a11y audits, just some quick and improvised testing of keyboard accessibility (focus styles), colour contrast etc. – these are issues even a junior web developer could notice within a few minutes.

It’s important, though, to take note of Eric’s motives:

This isn’t a call out of the websites featured, in that I’m just grabbing them off the top of the stack. It is, however, a condemnation of best-of lists that don’t take accessibility into account.

We are looking at a systemic issue here; the creators of sites called out in the thread being trapped within. How can it be acceptable – or, actually: award-worthy – to churn out shiny and flashy websites that do not care the least bit about inclusive design, about users beyond the demographic sitting in those agencies in front of their fancy Macs?

In my opinion, no website that isn’t at least showing the effort to pass a WCAG audit for accessibility should ever be featured on a “design award” list anywhere.

I'm Sebastian, Sociologist and Interaction Designer. This journal is mostly about bringing toge­ther social science and design for inclusive, privacy-focused, and sustainable "human-first" digital strategies. I also tend to a "digital garden" with carefully curated resources.

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