A “Global Top 10” isn’t your Top Ten

Recently there’s been a bit of a kerfuffle over a LinkedIn article purporting to have done extensive analysis on accessibility across the web in an attempt to create a “Top 10 List” of priorities. There were many strong and negative reactions to the article and I took them to task on my own site for the alleged research approach used to create their claim. I also took them to task on the Top Ten list they suggested. But in all of this discussion there’s another thing that hasn’t been touched on: A “Global Top 10” isn’t your Top Ten

It doesn’t really matter what Top Ten list you choose – be it one from Sitemorse or the Top Ten issues I found in my own research, both lists are completely irrelevant for your site. This is because your site is a distinct set of pages. Your site was likely made and managed by the same group of people. Your organization – executives, managers, designers, and developers – chose the design patterns, front-end and back-end technologies, colors, features, and interactions of your site. Your staff have their own development techniques and own level of knowledge. All of these things contribute to your site’s level of accessibility and specific accessibility characteristics. Furthermore, your site’s Top Ten might consist of many things that cannot be detected accurately by an automated tool. While there might be significant crossover between the global data and your own site, it is important not to put too much value in data that’s not driven by review of your own specific systems. Use these Top Ten lists if you wish, but remember that such information is too generalized to fully inform what should be handled at a much more finite scale – specifically, the information from your own site.

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