A ubiquitous issue for people involved in moving the web forward is that there is always too much to do. Identifiying and prioritising tasks is critical. Identifying is fairly easy, prioritising not so. Priorities depend on both internal and external factors often beyond our control.
I have a tendency to be critical of huge, profit making, corporations that are involved in moving the web forward
who de-prioritise accessibility [who appear to de-prioritise accessibility]. It’s not always a useful trait, but it’s who I am. I am also aware that many of the people who I interact with, while working for these corporations, are doing their best to make accessibility a priority despite the internal and external factors beyond their control.
A current example is Microsoft, what we know is that Windows 10 will be with us at the end of the month along with a new much improved standards based browser called Edge. What is known is that Microsoft is a huge corporation with a long history of accessibility support in its software and also a long history of broken sub-standard accessibility support for HTML in its browser (IE). IE has come along way in web standards support in the last few years, the same cannot be said for the accessibility branch of web standards.
There is the future promise that with Edge accessibility web standards support will be much improved, but as is often the case due to corporate prioritisation, and resulting provision of resources and expertise, Windows 10 will arrive with a brand new browser, with broken accessibility support and advice to continue to use the old IE browser whose support, while broken, is more robust because assistive technology have had a lot of time to hack around the brokeness.
It is instructive to understand that when an organization genuinely prioritises the needs of users with disabilities, anything is possible:
To all you Windows 10 enthusiastic screen reader users out there, it looks like Firefox will be there for you. It will be accessible. #a11y
— Marco Zehe (@MarcoInEnglish) July 6, 2015
It was unfair of me to imply that the current Microsoft browser team are #a11y slackers. They are doing all they can under difficult circumstances to bring a modern, robust accessibility implementation to Edge, something that unfortunately Microsoft failed to do in the history of IE.