I work on a team that has been building out a design system for a proprietary application. We often have discussions around the best way to build new functionality. Recently, one conversation was about Drag & Drop, Bulk Select/Actions, and what degree of accessibility would be appropriate for this functionality, such as screen readers and keyboards.

Generally speaking I'm an advocate for building out accessibility, especially when it involves access to information. However how far is too far, or is there really no limit?

To a degree I understand that it will differ from application to application, but is there a standard for "good" accessibility in regards to power features like bulk select and bulk actions, where the availability of key actions and information is not hindered? How would one know when the conversation is beyond useful for the product?

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    I think you're mistaking accessibility for desirability. "Power features" don't make your tool more accessible for a blind person they make it more desirable for people to use. Big difference. If those features are the ONLY WAY to solve a problem, you need to make them accessible. Once ALL the basic functionality is accessible you can go back and solve any of the nice to haves or alternate processes. Oct 26, 2018 at 16:06

3 Answers 3


how far is too far [for accessibility]

That depends on how many users you want to prevent from using your app. That's kind of a tongue-in-cheek answer but it's also accurate. If you think of accessibility as trying to add on features for some users, then you're going about it the wrong way. The accessibility guidelines are there to help you create an app that can be accessed by the greatest number of people. If you think it's ok to exclude a group of people, for example those that can't use a mouse because of hand tremors or an amputee or some other mobility issue, then you can limit how well the keyboard works with your app. However, most designers and developers (myself included), want our code to be used by as many people as possible. We like writing code and we like for it to be useful for everyone.


Accessibility is something that you want to have as much of as possible (in general), so the question should probably be what the "minimal" amount of accessibility should be. But we already have the WCAG 2.0 for assessing it so we don't need to cover it here.

I think the concern that you have for the time and effort required to implement the features (and how much return on investment you get) needs to be assessed on a case-by-case basis because you may want to add or remove certain accessibility features based on how many users use the feature and the cost required to maintain the feature.

However, having a reputation for providing accessible software will also help improve the brand of your company or product, so the benefit can't be measured purely in terms of existing cost and benefit, but also long term benefits as well.


All the previous answers make me happy :) - I didn't think there would be so many advocates for accessibility. I just need to add one comment.

It is inherent in a product that it must solve the right problem, and in a way that meets human needs and capabilities. Inclusive design ensures accessibility: The full and equal enjoyment of a product by all.

Accessibility is not a nice-to-have feature. It's an obligation: https://www.w3.org/WAI/policies/

Seldom do people link accessibility to dignity or think of the consequences of technology use with regard to quality of life: Many types of limitations and disabilities exist. Stamina, mobility and dexterity limitations are common to everyone. In 2016, about 25% of persons aged 16 and over in Europe declared an activity limitation.

Of course, accessibility guidelines can't be followed in a vacuum. With competition, costs and tight schedules compromises must be made. But these compromises are directly related to human dignity and autonomy.

So, accessibility is really a matter of professional deontology: https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007/0-387-23120-X_9.pdf

This is how a professional should approach this matter.

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