Idea night: Voluntary data sacrifice

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Accessibility is a hot topic in the last few years. Nearly any web-conference has at least one talk, that is dedicated to this theme.

These talks contain quite convincing arguments. One of the best persuasive and at the same explanatory rich visualization of the accessibility problem was done a while ago in the “Inclusive. A Microsoft Design Toolkit”permanent temporary situational accessibility

It is not uncommon also to see other arguments. For example, “Accessibility is about human rights”Accessibility is about human rights. Brian Holt. React Rally

Or this one from the Fronteers conference – “Not being disabled is temporary”

One night I was thinking – why we need to every time convince everyone that accessibility is essential, is there a better way? I have heard so often an argument that if the site is inaccessible, its owner is losing money because not all folks can do actions that will lead to the desired results in these websites, especially people with disabilities. And here was an enlightenment moment for me – how the site owner would know, that they are losing money, or that folks can’t perform actions, that site owner would want them to do?

If the site owner looks in their site analytics, currently, there is no way for them to understand that for some group of users, their site is not as efficient is it could be. My idea for how to solve this problem is voluntary data sacrifice. I am proposing that folks that consider themselves as disabled would explicitly indicate themselves as users with disabilities, so their actions can be groped in the separate category in the analytics. This is in some way quite a radical idea, as all personal data trends are currently going in the opposite direction – when we allow web-site owners to know as much data about us as possible.

Another problem to solve with this solution is how to make this data sacrifice. As far as I was able to think, currently the only company, that posses both website analytics software, and some way of the ability to share user data between different website is Google. So my imaginary solution would be, that user will indicate themselves as one with the specific type of disabilities in their Chrome browser, and based on this indication website owners would be able to see how the user paths of this users differ from other user paths, and what points can be improved.

Alternatively, there can be a way to indicate folks themselves when they are using websites by specific modal, popover, etc.

Saying this, I am aware that many more folks have the situation disabilities, and it is sometimes even hard for them to think about themselves in this way.

I have created this specific rubric “Idea night” to do at least something with too many problem-solving types of ideas that are coming into my head. I hope that some of them will inspire others to see solutions that they haven’t thought about before.

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Olena Sovyn
Staff Software Engineer (London, UK). I ❤ React, Redux, lodash, React Storybook, and functional programming overall. Always open to learning something new

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