Whenever you come across a new CSS technique or feature, you probably ask yourself does this work in IE? It's a normal question for web developers, and the answer is often no. But how often do you ask yourself: "Is this accessible?" If you're not, you're actually excluding more of your audience than you realize.
Browser support can be a fickle thing. As web developers, we get so caught up in supporting as much of our potential audience as we can that we'll go to seemingly ridiculous lengths to make sure things work in Internet Explorer. But when was the last time you looked at browser usage stats?
Looking at the numbers
As of December, 2017, IE and Edge hold an 8% market share. Of that percentage, only 3.14% of the market is using IE 11. That's not a lot. Yet we bend over backwards to make sure our features work in IE. How's that compare to accessibility statistics? You'd be surprised.
Color blindness affects 8% of males, and just shy of 1% of females. While the math isn't exact, that's 4.5% of your potential audience. Another way to look at it is your potential customer is more likely to be colorblind than use IE 11. Still think you should be so worried about supporting it?
The reality is that both matter. But what needs to change is the importance and sincerity with which developers pay attention to color contrast and other accessibility features. Disabilities like color blindness have no cure, and no real "fix" on the web. They aren't going away. IE 11 will. Plus, disabilities are a cross-browser issue. And that's why accessibility gets the priority.
Another reason that there's no excuse for not supporting accessibility issues like color blindness is the plethora of tools that are at your disposal as a developer. There are several color contrast ratio checkers online, but soon you won't even need an external tool. Chrome 65 is adding a contrast ratio checker to DevTools. The new WordPress editor, codenamed Gutenberg, has a similar feature. There's no reason you can't make sure your site is color blind friendly.
The next time someone asks you support IE 11, don't hesitate. Support it. But also remind them that you support accessibility first.
Special thanks to Orlando-based developer Brandon Mitchell for his tweet today that inspired this article.