Increase or maintain accessibility?

In which I add my useless $0.02 to a growing debate on accessibility on the web.

Over at Digital Web yesterday, Christian Heilmann wrote a very insightful article on why clients don’t care about accessibility on the web. The article does a great job being rather pessimistic (in a good way) about explaining why our job as developers is a tough one.

I’ve been called an idealist – and am proud of it – when it comes to various ideas. One of these is innovation and technology. Web standards and accessibility are something you HAVE to think about. It makes things better. Get out of your comfort zone and jump on board now. It will make the rest of your career so much easier.

What gets me in his article is something he points out in his short list of bullet points on what we can do:

Make sure you’ve got your facts straight before releasing another “accessibility” article or blog entry (rounded corners in CSS do not increase accessibility, really, they don’t!)

I personally try not to write terribly technical articles here. One, because I don’t really have an audience for it. And two, because I typically don’t really care about the techniques as much as I do the theory behind the techniques.

However, to respond to the comment regarding round corners increasing accessibility, I’m not sure if I’ve ever read an article that said such techniques increase accessibility as much as they maintain accessibility. We all know there are solutions out there that actually make certain problems worse. Most of the techniques to incorporate rounded corners into a css-based design do so with ridiculous amounts of extra markup and do lessen accessibility as such. However, that does not mean that other techniques increase acessiblity, but they may maintain it.