The term ‘accessibility’ is commonly used to describe the ability of a website to be utilized by people with disabilities. While this is an important piece of the accessibility puzzle, it is not the only piece. I believe a commonly overlooked piece of the accessibility puzzle is that the content of a website is largely inaccessible to some based on internet speeds and the capability of the devices available. This problem has commonly been referred to by the development community as the ‘Wealthy Western Web.’
So, What Can We Do?
Reduce Network Traffic
Use the Platform
What if my Audience is on Fast Internet?
Well, if your audience is on Fast Internet, then you don’t have to worry as much about the size of your assets. However, you need to remember that mobile networks are often unreliable and slow. Additionally, you should consider that your reach could expand if it becomes accessible to more people. Who knows? Maybe your next emerging market is halfway around the world. Being able to deliver a good experience on a slow internet connection with a slow device could be the differentiator between you and your competitor.
I think that keeping your assets around 500KB is a good way to keep the application accessible to most of the world. However, if you are building a heavier web application, remember to be sure that the reason the application is heavier is because it needs to be.
The internet was created to be a common communication platform that people could share a wealth of information on – it’s called the World Wide Web for a reason. The internet is meant to be accessible to anyone who can connect to it, so why contribute to the Wealthy Western Web?