Hashtag a11y

Needs More Accessibility!


Hashtag a11y

Actions speak louder than words. Some say that a Hashtag is an action made up of words. Does that mean they speak louder still.


This article is about the Hashtag a11y however I want to explain something before I jump in.
I actually wrote a completely different article full of rage and cursing about this topic. But after doing a little research I decided to tone it down just a bit.
I will rage in a small way in a minute but first I want to talk about this Hashtag before I talk about why I don’t like it.

What is #a11y

For those who don’t know what I am talking about it is a Hashtag that means Accessibility. A than 11 letters than y.
It is used by people not just in the blind community but with all disabilities to talk about accessibility in different areas but mostly computers and programs.
It would be fair of you at this point to ask, Are you saying you have a problem with accessibility?
The answer to that would be no because if I can refer you to the title it is not the concept I have a problem with it is the Hashtag.

My issues

Now I could talk about how I dislike Hashtags but that wouldn’t really be fair because this isn’t the reason I don’t like them. I hate Hashtags because people over use them but my dislike for this specific Hashtag are deeper than that.
This Hashtag fails on 2 counts as far as I am concerned.

1 Being a Hashtag

Hannibal what are you on about?
Fair question. The fact is Hashtags are meant to group things together on social media and as far as it goes this Hashtag does that.
However the point is to be easily found or used to understand things.
Unless you know about #a11y you aren’t likely to find it by accident. And if you are meant to be bringing awareness to other people wouldn’t the best thing be a Hashtag that would be easily found.
Now you could argue but once people do know about it, People can find it easily enough.
This is true. However if you don’t know what that Hashtag means you could see it on a tweet or Facebook post have know idea what they are talking about and just move along. Again if we are trying to bring awareness this seems counter productive.
This is a Hashtag for People who already know what it means and that to me is the second problem.

#a11y is not Accessibility

In all areas of disability understanding is the key problem. People not knowing what is best to help so getting them to understand is step number 1!
So why are any of us getting onboard with this Hashtag that needs to be explained.
I see time and time again people wishing people with no disability would treat them better which often just breaks down to understanding best practices.
So here we have a call for accessibility in the worst way. Because it is a call to help explain those practices that needs to be explained.
The worst part is searching through twitter I often see tweets that use the word accessibility in the tweet and end with #a11y.
Even worse still are the tweets that have #a11y and #accessibility.

The Solution

Is there an easy fix? Yes use a different Hashtag. #accessibility, #access4all, something simple.
It might be a few more letters you have to type. But in the end we as a community won’t have to explain it!
We live in an age where people scroll through twitter for 2 hours a day but won’t take the time to go google #a11y. Some might but most won’t.
So lets make it easy. Make them understand the tweets and posts right away. Instead of having to explain that shit!

Final thoughts

This post was originally a rant about this. It is more of a cry for change and in the end it won’t make a difference!
Those who agree with me have probably never used #a11y before. The people who do use it probably won’t give a shit about this article!
But maybe some where some one will just say fuck it and use #accessibility next time.
And maybe in a few years #a11y will die off and we can finally forget about this.
Or maybe by than everyone will know what it means and I will have been proved wrong.
Either way fuck #a11y!


Do you agree or disagree with me. Let me know below!
Maybe you have other suggestions for Hashtags we could use.
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2 Replies to “Hashtag a11y

  1. If you’re not in accessibility circles, the word means something different. It just basically means readily usable. Also, we have i18n and l10n in programmer circles, internationalization and localization. So I don’t know how to feel about this, and to be honest, I really don’t see it changing soon. I sort of half-heartedly feel this concern but then again I don’t.

  2. I do agree with you, especially now that we’re out of the days of 140 chars. Then it had kinda an excuse, but with 280 now putting #accessibility is reasonable, especially if they use the word anyways. Or #access, or something like that. I’m not a hashtag genius, but I do wonder who started this practice. You know what’s worse? i18n, and l10n, which actually mean the same thing. Internationalization and localization, both practices of translating a program’s interface and messages into other languages. I hope to god #i18n isn’t used to complain to software companies.

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