The Web and Media Accessibility Group AMA πŸŽ‰

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Bolaji Ayodeji's photo

Accessibility has become widely know and sort-for topic with a lot of developers and organizations advocating for the need to focus more on it towards building for the Next Billion Users. Lately, I've been trying to learn more about auditing accessibility and testing accessibility on the web.

What do you think about testing the accessibility of your project until it complies with all the accessibility standards and guidelines?

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Tatiana Mac's photo

I think that using testing software, accessibility standards and guidelines is an excellent place to start! Setting accessibility criteria as part of our acceptance criteria is critical to ensuring our design intent makes it all the way to the finish line and has positive impact on how accessible our product is.

However, I caution us to not use the metrics those platforms provide as our end-all-be-all.

For example, a lot of folks will chase 100 percent on Lighthouse and be done. Manuel Matuzovic wrote an article on making a site with 100 score that was inaccessible.

Accessibility should be thought of something that we're constantly trying to improve; so setting an end threshold is dangerous.

On the flip side, I think that it means we can constantly make consistent, incremental change to improve our accessibility with each snippet and sprint.

Broadly I think that thinking of the next billion users, we should focus our attention on the people that will be the most harmed by automation, global climate crisis, and the digitisation of basic needs. A core part of accessibility is...access. As we approach 5G, we will start to build for 5G, but most of the world isn't on 5G. We have to be mindful of how going cashless and prioritising tap payment or using only digital means to vote is going to exclude people who systematically don't have bank accounts or must use cash for various reasons.

That, to me, is the guiding light of access that we must always prioritise: The billions of people who are least benefitted from the tech we build and most harmed by it.

Segun Ola's photo

Bolaji Ayodeji

Start by making sure you're using Semantic HTML. Automated tools can often flag errors here. Things get tricky when you have complex widgets e.g tabbed UIs, autocomplete combo boxes. For such widgets, follow the WCAG prescription for expected behaviour, ARIA-attributes and keyboard interaction. Following the guidelines should be enough to provide the proper signals to assistive technologies. These tools know how to interact with these standard widgets.

What should you test?

  • See this chat for some testing considerations.
  • Learn how to use a screen-reader and test your application with one.
  • Tab around to see how much you can do with the keyboard. Switch users often benefit from a site that's designed to be keyboard-friendly.