When you build a UI for a product (app, website, anything else), it is intended to be used by people. People come in all shapes, sizes and abilities. I used to think that making an UI accessible is something you should aim for. It was morally the right thing to do.
Recently I started out to become better at making my work better accessible by doing research into people that use assistive technology. You can follow along with my research here (in Dutch for now). In the first interview, it became clear to me.
We have the power to influence other peoples lives
When building a product, we allow people to do their jobs. We build the interface through which others do their work.
We can add a feature that makes someone perform a task more efficiently. The less time it takes to use our UI, the more effective that person can be in their job.
But the other way around is equally true. If we make it harder for someone to use our product, we make them less effective.
Accessibility is not a nice to have, it is your responsibility
Making your UI accessible, is allowing someone who relies on assistive technology to work at all.
By not taking care of accessibility, a team takes away the self-sustainability of a person. It prevents them from having a job.
We as designers/developers have the power to make, or break, someones career. Thats a lot of power, and an equal amount of responsibility.