Ever since Readability was released nearly two years ago, we’ve gotten countless emails from people telling us they can read again on the web. Everyone from the elderly to those with severe vision problems to teachers who help kids with cognitive difficulties has reached out to us. It’s one of the most gratifying aspects of what we do.
The topic of “accessibility” rarely gets to bask in the spotlight. It’s often relegated to being a “requirement” on a web or app project. If we step away from technology for a moment, we’d realize that accessibility is about people. For us, accessibility is defined by the stories Readability users have shared with us.
On occasion on this blog, we plan to share some of these stories with you. Below is an email we received recently. At the request of the sender, their identity has been concealed:
I want to thank you, 1000 times over, for creating the Readability plugin. I use the plugin myself every day, but that’s not the main reason I’m writing.
My 77-year-old father is a complete newshound and spends hours each day devouring news online. Over the past year his eyesight has worsened due to a combination of macular degeneration and other problems– to the point where he could no longer go online. He was spending his days poring over the Boise Statesman newspaper with a lighted magnifying glass. (If you’ve ever read the Boise Statesman, you know how punishing that can be.)
While visiting him recently I re-configured his Mac — using a combination of the Universal Access features and the Readability plugin-\ – so he could access his favorite sites (Washington Post, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, MSNBC, ESPN, etc. etc.) After spending a few minutes reading a story on WaPo, he started to cry. He was so relieved to emerge from a period of “news darkness” that he cried tears of joy.
Again, I can’t thank you enough for making this possible. I just wanted to let you know what a difference you made in one person’s life. (Actually, you probably improved my mom’s life too since my dad is focused on his news and has stopped bugging her!)