Don’t Make Accessibility a Thing

Published: Aug 05, 2017

Here are some examples awkward accessibility being a thing:

You’re at a hotel that has a lift to get you from one sub-floor to another, but the lift can only be unlocked and operated by one specific person that the hotel now has to go find. Sure, they’ve made the entrance to the sub-floor is accessible, but now it’s a thing.

The buses are wheelchair accessible but the driver has to stop the bus, take 30 seconds to lower the goddamn ramp, move passengers out of their seats, hook up the straps and then secure you in the bus. Sure, they’ve made the buses accessible, but now it’s a thing.

The restaurant has an accessible entrance, but it’s past the trash room and through the kitchen. Sure, the restaurant is accessible, but now it’s an insulting thing.

Here are some great examples of accessibility not being a thing:

The train to the airport pulls up flush with the platform. I board with everyone else and sit wherever the fuck I want. Riding the train is accessible and not a thing.

In Portland, I press a button the side of the streetcar and a ramp automatically extends at the same time the door opens. I board in the same amount of time as everyone else. This is not a thing.

I get that it is difficult to design for wheelchair accessibility, but folks need to start considering the overall quality of the experience versus just thinking about meeting the minimum requirements.