In response to all the billing and cooing over Automattic’s announcement/release of Calypso and the general excitement of WordPress’s upcoming REST API, Andry “Rarst” Savchenko wrote an article decrying the lack of progressive enhancement being discussed or used in many of the examples.
Here is my contribution to the discussion (I originally started it as a comment on Rarst’s site, but it outgrew that):
However, that does not apply to the rest of the web.
People not numbers
But the problem with those small numbers is that they are small percentages of very large numbers. So 1% of all web users is 30 million. And those users are people, not numbers.
Just from the RNIB figures in this 2014 report (PDF) there are 2 million people in the UK living with sight loss. If only half of them want to use the Web, then that 2.4% is really 12000 people you just excluded from the web.
Don’t forget: for many people with sight loss the internet is a lifeline helping them feel less isolated.
Blind users are not the only ones
And of course, visual difficulties are not the only reason people need accessible web sites. Those with motor difficulties, who can only use keyboards or special devices like braille readers, head wands, sip and puff controllers, etc. or simply those with unsteady hands that find a mouse difficult to use like the ever-increasing aged population, all need to be able to use the web too.
Time for honesty
These are real people you may walk past in the street this weekend. Be honest, do you really want to join Facebook, Netflix, American Express, and yes, Automattic and boldly say to them “I don’t care that you can’t access all of the internet”?