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Browsing the web as a developer

I've been maintaining or building websites since September of 1999. At the time of this writing, that's almost 20 years.

One of my main focuses as a web developer is usability/accessibility—making the sites I build intuitive, easy to understand and operate, and accessible to all users, including those with disabilities, as much as possible.

Those things are super important to me. But why? Part of it, I suppose, is altruism. But part is also this: the fact that I'm a web developer doesn't make poorly-designed websites with usability issues easier for me to understand and use.

Yes, I've been using the internet for going on 30 years, and building websites for 20. But I'm still stumped, confused, or unable to use features of certain websites from time to time. I still poke away at things that look like they should do something, but don't.

When I run across something that's poorly designed or badly implemented or unclear, all my experience doesn't magically make that go away. I am still a website user, just like anyone else. I still have expectations that sites will behave in certain ways, or that certain UI elements mean or don't mean particular things. When web conventions are broken, they're broken for me just as much as everyone else.

The only difference is maybe I have a better understanding of why those things are problematic than many others, and I may have more knowledge about possible workarounds.

I don't have a terribly profound conclusion, other than this: truly, implementing accessibility and usability makes the web work for everyone. If your site stumps a web developer with 20 years' experience, it's definitely going to stump someone with, say, cognitive disabilities. So let's make the web as accessible as we can, knowing that way it's going to work for the very widest possible number and variety of people.

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