This site is being remade and I won't be updating this for a while. Expect a lot of broken links, design and functionality. If all goes well, things should be stable by the end of 2022. Thank you for understanding.


Why a11y Isn't Ironically Inaccessible

Republished Originally Published

a11y is the numeronym for accessibiliy. the 11 signifies the 11 letters between a and y.

Some find it ironic how a11y seems to be inaccessible but what what if I told you that was the point? Heck, here’s one such reasoning.

The irony of this abbreviation is that a11y isn’t accessible. Using jargon in this way can be a fail for WCAG guideline 3.1.3. Some people with disabilities such as autism can struggle to understand non-literal language. Dyslexia can make some characters difficult to distinguish, and mixing letters and numbers in this way can exacerbate this. Screen readers often won’t understand how to pronounce non-common words and abbreviations, so the pronunciation of a11y can vary. When writing we should generally avoid domain-specific jargon where possible, especially where there there is a common alternative like accessibility.

I’m here to share why a11y is plenty accessible actually.

For one, as I said it’s a numeronym, which aren’t anything new (moreso for web development), so it’s . After all there’s:

  • W3C for the World Wide Web Consortium,
  • i18l for internationalization,
  • WWII for World War Two,
  • K9 for Canine,
  • and others.

In short, a11y is for web accessibility.

Note the quote I added up there? It’s from a post titled a11y is not accessible published on…! You say a11y isn’t accessible and yet your website is named after it? Gotcha.