What we don’t see are better accessible websites. That’s bad.
Responsive web design lead the way to a much broader reach of basic accessibility principles all over the place. People think now content & mobile first, which leads to simpler pages from the beginning. There’s more concentration on the important stuff on the page. Visitors of those sites will undoubtedly have a cleaner, less complex, site. That will benefit people with disabilities to a great extend.
It is our duty as web developers to do the best for the open web. This means getting basic accessibility stuff right, not skipping over the basics. It means that it’s hard and not easy to be a professional web developer. That’s cool with me.
We change how people interact, we change how people access information, we change how people’s life develops, we change how kids are raised, gifts are bought, news are covered and thoughts are remembered. It is on our fingertips. If all those data is interchangeable, accessible, and useable, we succeed. We change the world, website by website. “With great power comes great responsibility.” – We all can be Spiderman.
For me, it is an honor to be in this industry. Sir Tim Berners-Lee envisioned the web as open and accessible for everyone, no matter where they comes from, what speed their connection is, how capable their browsers are or how good their eyes or hands or both work. I feel proud every day to make that vision reality, and it is the job of web developers to make it a reality.1
I expect everyone in this industry to do their best and honor the basic principles of the web. To be proud of what we can accomplish. To feel pride when we work on projects and choosing the best possible solution. And we should work together, as a community, to improve solutions, to file issues and complaints if there is something that’s not best practice. To educate and to be educated.
We have lost quite a large part of the Web, rebuilding it will be a huge task to tackle. Closed walled-garden social networks like Facebook and – more and more – Twitter don’t help. But with everything on the internet, the open web will succeed. We’ve seen My_space, Orkut and even the mother of all walled gardens AOL vanish. But the decentralized blogs and services can be sustainable without the need to attract many people, they can act in the niche and can then be used as APIs to get an open plug and play web. It’s no surprise that Twitter actually grew as a very good citizen of the web (and the release of a twitter archive seems to be a move to get a better citizen again).
1 I wrote those two sentences in a Github comment a few weeks ago.