Midwest PHP Recap: Accessibility Standards For All


Jessica Schneider is a Web Developer, specializing in Drupal. She has been a Titan for almost two years.

I had the privilege this weekend to attend the Midwest PHP Conference, held in Minneapolis, MN.  This event is something that I look forward to every year, and is just one way that I get to learn about new features or different way to accomplish tasks.

This year’s line-up covered a wide range of technologies that fit well in the LAMP Stack environment.  Everything from Global Accessibility Awareness to System Administration to CMS to Linux Programming Languages to Changes in MySQL 5.7; was covered at the conference.  It really shows that working with PHP is more than dealing with just a programming language, but truly understanding how every aspect of the web interacts.

My favorite presentation this year was the Keynote Presentation: “ACCESSIBILITY: THE FORGOTTEN PIECE YOU NEED TO KNOW TO BECOME A COMPLETE DEVELOPER” by Joe Devon.  This topic is something that I am aware of, but never really put much thought into.  He did an excellent job of making me consider the end user that isn’t capable of using a website at face value.  Not only did we start thinking about people who had vision restrictions or were hearing impaired, but also those with lesser thought-of conditions such as color blindness or paralysis.  Seeing videos of the different tools that can assist with accessibility really put an emphasis on how important the code is behind that pretty screen. 

Ensuring that your site is Accessible benefits everyone.  Not only can the disabled then use your website (just imagine how frustrating it would be to not be able to use every website you encounter to its fullest potential), but Search Engine Optimization can be increased by 80%.  That is a huge number and something that nearly every client I work with is looking for.  Making sure your site is Accessible is really a huge win for everyone.  So let’s start making the effort to include all the users out there and test your site for those unique situations.

Learn more about Global Accessibility Awareness Day.