We've had a number of accessibility concerns/complaints lately:

Who at the company is responsible for ensuring that Stack Exchange sites are and remain accessible to persons with disabilities, and how do they perform this function? More specifically, is there someone who has primary responsibility for accessibility (e.g. a manager of accessibility), or are all staff collectively responsible for working together to ensure accessibility?

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    I've been complaining about accessibility for years: meta.stackexchange.com/q/320262/294691 meta.stackexchange.com/q/318866/294691 meta.stackexchange.com/q/320404/294691 meta.stackexchange.com/q/320122/294691 It was Megan Risdan and Brian Nickel who addressed some accessibility posts in the past, IIRC. – Mithical Jan 23 '20 at 13:37
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    Stack Exchange is hiring a Product Manager. Maybe that will be their job – Machavity Jan 23 '20 at 13:41
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    Heh, somebody from within the community should try and apply. – Script47 Jan 23 '20 at 14:19
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    @anonymous The 0.17% (or whatever the number is) is blacklisted? /s – Script47 Jan 23 '20 at 15:20
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    @Script47 do you really think anyone who fits the high profile they require from here would take that chance now? Especially now, where the prevalent sentiment is one of looming dread? – magisch Jan 23 '20 at 15:20
  • @Magisch It was said in jest/mock of SE. I was actually going add an edit saying "actually, don't, considering how the last CMs who were booted out were treated/described" – Script47 Jan 23 '20 at 15:22
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    Thank you for collating these issues, to maybe help them see that this is a pattern of issues, not a one-off. (Ideally accessibility should be part of the entire design process, not an afterthought. At my job, I can tell which programming teams consider it holistically, and who just threw on some alt-text tags at the end and thought it was more than enough.) It's not just for Big Disabilities, but aging populations and those who process info differently appreciate landmarks and multiple ways to access the information. – April Salutes Monica C. Jan 23 '20 at 17:18
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    FWIW, some mods had started collating this stuff and there are (unfortunately) way more unaddressed issues than just those listed here. – curious Jan 24 '20 at 2:33
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    And, to be clear here, these aren't just minor things. This could mean legal trouble, as per the U.S. Americans with Disabilities Act. – Sonic the Anonymous Hedgehog Jan 24 '20 at 3:44
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    Autism is not a get out of jail free card. Respecting people's pronouns is not really the same issue as lack of transcriptions for images or podcasts, or low contrast issues, or keyboard accessibility. Let's not list those together. – karatechop Jan 25 '20 at 22:44
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    In 2016, there was nobody and they've fired people since then not hired so....unlikely? Also, nice but not even close to the full list (I know I gave feedback on the survey & a dark theme requesting answer for the then new top nav) if you search the accessibility tag on any SE site's meta its usually disheartening – LinkBerest May 26 '20 at 18:55

At the moment, there is not one person in charge of accessibility. It is a collective responsibility. A goal of our Design System, Stacks, is to approach accessibility issues systematically to better support the work done by our individual product teams. Product teams are responsible for their respective product area (Public Q&A, Teams, Jobs, etc.) in collaboration with the Design Systems team. There has been some work done on this front but we know we’ve barely scratched the surface. Aaron talks a bit about how the effort with Dark Mode was a step in the right direction with improvements to accessibility in mind.

So while we are actively thinking about how to improve more holistically, we will continue to chip away where we can.

I’ve flagged this post internally as well to nudge respective teams for a response where needed.

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    Achieving accessibility on a website is not like an activity of "chipping away". For those who rely on these features, hearing "chipping away" may sound un-reassuring. Sure, you might meant: "chipping away at the shortcomings". But that's an attitude that perpetuates these issues. Rather, for a better approach: achieveing accessibility happens by "putting the thought and effort in"; and / or by "designing and building with accessibility in mind". Instead of being an afterthought, it needs to be in people's heads as soon as they set out to produce something. Internal trainings could help. – Levente Jun 16 at 22:11

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