The power of the personal story

Recently, the state of Minnesota rejected a constitutional amendment referendum that attempted to make same-sex marriage unconstitutional in the state of Minnesota. Much of the reason that this amendment was defeated has to do with societal change — but there was also a change in how the issue was discussed that is believed to have had a beneficial impact on the vote.

That change was a move from focusing on civil rights as a method to convince people to vote against the amendment to focusing on stories of the loving relationship of same-sex couples. The personal story: hardships faced due to an inability to marry and the very real emotional bond within a couple helped provide a personal connection to the issue that civil rights did not.

Like same-sex marriage, web accessibility advocates have long used business case arguments and civil rights as the major arguments for web accessibility — but is this really the way to convince people?

There’s no question that arguments for civil rights and the business advantages of an accessible web site are relevant: but if you want to convince people, an empathetic response is even more valuable. I’ve recently been involved in more than one conversation trying to convince people of the value of web accessibility where the argument hinged on “show me personal stories of the impact of web accessibility, and I’ll be convinced” — but I didn’t have any.

I don’t have a stock of personal stories about web accessibility – how inaccessible web sites have stifled the success of users with disabilities or how an accessible web site has made somebody’s day — but I would like to collect these.

To that end, I’ve created a page on my site dedicated to collecting your web accessibility stories: any story, however small, will be greatly appreciated.

I don’t have a plan right now for sharing these stores, but I do intend to make them publicly available — you can provide a name and email with your submission if you wish, but it’s by no means required. Names will be shared with their stories; email will always be kept private.

Go now – Share your Story

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1 Comment to “The power of the personal story”

  1. I think your goal is really amazing. You should really pursue it and I am sure that you will make a big difference.

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