I honestly don’t remember when I first learned about web accessibility. It was probably in an article on A List Apart, either that, or something else by Joe Clark. I do remember that I was already into web standards & accessibility when I got his book, which was pretty much as soon as it came out. I read it cover to cover, and loaned it to any number of people at my old job. (It was required reading for my assistants over the years.) I’ve been a Joe Clark fangirl for quite a while. 😉 Oh, that reminds me: I need to do the micropatronage thing.
The practice of accessibility is intertwined indelibly for me with the whole explosion in learning that I experienced in 2001. Discovering CSS in late 2000, giving up tables entirely, learning about XHTML, learning PHP, and getting into blogging. All wound up in this big ball of webby knowledge.
And for me it’s also always been about doing “it” (this whole web thing) “right” — which is something that I can get obsessive-compulsive about. I care deeply about the nubby details.
All of which is about me and my ego, psychic needs, etc. ::sigh::
I will say that like Pat, I believe that web accessibility is part of truth, justice and the American way. (Paraphrasing) And like Ralph, I was affected by someone in my life: in this case, my kid sister.
Elizabeth has one of those disabilities that’s hard to quantify in web accessibility, a learning disability. She was in the 4th grade before anyone really realized that she didn’t know how to read, and had all of her textbooks on audio for many years. Her weird experiences with her particular disability have given me lots of food for thought over the years; in terms of web accessibility, I remember asking her, some years back, what she felt like she needed, and her affection for Google’s spelling correction. (Elizabeth’s spelling remains, if I may say so, a little…idiosyncratic.) Thanks, kiddo. 😉