My 12 year old son recently came to me for assistance with adding a caption to a picture in a PowerPoint he was creating for a school assignment. He asked me, “is that what the Alt tag is for?”
I then explained to him the purpose of the alt tag and it’s necessity to include in all capacities. We also went over adding captions to answer his original question. He has committed to updating the ALT tag for all images in his digital media which will provide contextual information for those who may not be able to see the images.
Then the thought occurred to me.
If we begin teaching accessibility and it’s principals to children who are just being exposed to creating documents for others, we could create a foundation of accessibility for the future.
If kids are taught and exposed to accessibility options and understand them early, they may be more inclined to use them each time they create something. This doesn’t apply only to web development, or software development, but all produced media could benefit from accessibility in one way or another.
My son was exposed to Microsoft Office products in First Grade. He began typing up assignments and writings, before eventually progressing to adding images and other content to his work over the last few years. If we started teaching to add accessibility elements to this content from the very beginning, it would create an accessibility conscious future.
If you have the power to educate the youth, consider a few small lessons on accessibility to at least bring awareness to the tools and capabilities to ensure everyone can benefit from the content.
The sooner we all begin to understand and apply accessibility focused digital content, the sooner we can make an impact that will last generations.