Some people, for example those with dyslexia, will be challenged in accessing most websites, however, if web pages are designed to include them they can make valuable contributions. For example Steve Jobs, Leonardo da Vinci and Nikola Tesla were dyslexic, and Stephen Hawking has ALS.

In addition to dyslexic people, we also have to factor in elderly people, autistic people, and the blind. They could be facing various difficulties that we need to be sensitive to, such as overstimulation, navigation difficulties, and visual impediments.

How is Stack Exchange working to make their platform more disability friendly?

  • 2
    It's only one small thing that probably comes standard, but image insertion includes space for descriptive text, for low-vision users.
    – Nij
    Commented Jan 7, 2018 at 7:26
  • Image insertion is a great step if it has been implemented, however simple things like having an accessibility guide could really improve the accessibility of this platform. Differently abled people can be very talented what can we do to include and accommodate them more on the platform?
    – Seth Simba
    Commented Jan 7, 2018 at 7:35
  • 1
    I'm dyslexic. This is fine in a non burning room sense. Commented Jan 7, 2018 at 11:59
  • Sometimes the community helps out to create userscripts that improve accessibility: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/265889/…
    – rene
    Commented Jan 7, 2018 at 21:40
  • They're working on some features to help people with OCD
    – user1228
    Commented Jan 9, 2018 at 16:59

3 Answers 3


I want to expand on something that Journeyman Geek said in this answer. (I'm the user he referred to.)

I have some vision problems (root cause, aphakia) that affect acuity (thus bigger fonts and fixed focal distance), light sensitivity, and (some) color perception. I'm used to having to make browser-side adjustments when using the web (not just SE). Sometimes sites make design choices that impede or prevent those adjustments, and that's very frustrating.

For the most part, SE works ok for me with scripting and CSS-override assists. But sometimes SE design decisions play badly with my vision problems. When that happens I'm usually able to get help, and fairly often other people benefit too. For example, a userscript that ArtOfCode wrote for me to solve an accessibility problem in the moderator tools is also used by other moderators.

Users helping users is a key feature of Stack Exchange, but sometimes you really need help from somebody at SE specifically. When the new top bar first rolled out, it was very hard for me to use because of my vision problems. First I vented my frustration (elsewhere); when I calmed down I wrote this detailed description of the problem, with specific requests. I made sure to describe the problem rather than just saying "please do X", and to be clear about needs versus wants. And -- this is important -- even though I was upset, I wrote a calm, descriptive, detailed post, not a rant.

I was contacted by the product manager working on the top bar. We had a meeting during which I shared my screen and showed him the kinds of adjustments I make already and how the new design was causing me problems. It was a really helpful and productive meeting, and they updated the top bar to address both the problems I brought up in that post and some other things I pointed out along the way. The team was really responsive there. (I blogged about the experience, in case you want to know more.)

SE doesn't get everything right, accessibility-wise. Nobody does; it's a hard problem and everybody's still learning. So, as Journeyman Geek said in his answer, when you run into something you can't fix yourself, ask for help here on Meta. Sometimes you'll make a request ("how do I do X when I need font zoom?"), sometimes you might start a , and sometimes you'll make a . Lay out the problem, describe your constraints, offer any suggestions you have about how to address the problem, and be professional and polite. I've gotten a lot of help from the SE community when I've done this.

When I made that post I expected it to get a few sympathy votes, a few drive-by downvotes, and not much attention otherwise. It's currently my top-scoring answer on Meta.SE. I'm guessing that most of those voters don't share my problems, but they supported my feature request anyway.


I'm dyslexic. And while universal accessibility sounds like a nice thing, it makes a lot more sense for basic rather than universal accessibility rather than working towards it. Personally I've found a mix of spellcheck, a few minor tweaks to my browser's default fonts and just generally having a large screen helps, as does folks actually helping me edit a few of my more common mistakes. I'd note, I personally think "dyslexic friendly fonts" are actually pretty ugly, and go for more standard fonts with dyslexic friendly features.

If there's a specific issue - bring it up and it might get fixed. I can't find the exact post but the QA/DAG Product manager got in touch with a user who had brought up very specific, detailed accessibility issues and adjusted the design for the new top bar on it.

There's also userscripts and "soft" things - encouraging people to fill in alt text which helps the community help each other.

I'm not exactly sure how to help Mr Hawking, but if you have a specific feature request or even help with something on the site, ask, and someone will likely at least try to help you, officially or unofficially.

  • @journeneyman its great to hear that the product manager at least is doing something to make the site more accessible.
    – Seth Simba
    Commented Jan 26, 2018 at 11:40
  • 1
    "I can't find the exact post" -- that was me. Commented Jan 26, 2018 at 17:45

I care deeply about creating accessible software. As the TeamDAG product manager at Stack Overflow, I want to see us make improvements for a range of users with differing abilities. My perspective is that improvements to users with specific needs can lead to improvements for everyone.*

We are piloting a collaboration with the University of Washington AccessComputing initiative to identify improvements that bring our sites closer to conformance with the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 Level AA. We are also interested in hearing additional recommendations from users who encounter barriers that WCAG AA doesn't address. This work is connected to our efforts to improve overall information architecture of the site and make our design responsive. If all goes well on this pilot we hope to continue this collaboration and make improvements to the site over time. Your encouragement and patience is appreciated

* Previously I worked at Microsoft on the Inclusive Design team where we built on the work of others in the industry to popularize this approach. Check out the Inclusive Design site for more info

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