Issue #10

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Managing focus

In today’s world of complex web apps full of toggles, modals, accordions and other custom design patterns, many developers forget to manage focus. What does that mean exactly?

Let’s use a modal window as an example – something we all encounter every day on the web. Our example has an email subscription form in it. Once that modal is triggered, we should shift focus programmatically with JavaScript either to the div containing the modal or the email form input itself. Some of this depends on the content in that modal. Once the user closes the modal, we should shift focus back to where they were before they opened the modal. The principles remain the same in most cases where a user’s visual focus needs to shift to a new element on the page. You’ll want to shift the focus for other users as well.

For further reading on the ins and outs of managing focus, check out Heydon Pickering’s Learning to Focus. Also, see his practical ARIA examples, many of which have code that demonstrates managing focus.

News and links

HTML5 spec on Github: From the announcment email: “We welcome all pull requests for outstanding issues, in particular to fix important interoperability bugs such as those affecting web developers working on production web sites.”

The high cost of digital discrimination: From the article: “For a growing number of companies, that inaccessibility comes at a cost. The US Department of Justice (DOJ), citing the Americans with Disabilities Act, has sued and negotiated millions of dollars in settlements with big brands such as Target, Disney and Netflix, for not designing their websites to accommodate the browsing needs of disabled customers.”

Microsoft announces new structure and leads for accessibility: From the post: “Today I’m pleased to announce additional details about our new organizational structure to guide these efforts, which included the creation of a centralized accessibility team as well as newly appointed technical leaders in the key engineering groups across the company.”

WordPress accessibility coding standards now in draft and seeking comments: These standards will become part of the developer’s handbook, referenced by the community working on WordPress.

Resources, tools and tutorials

New to A11y

M.E. Miller gives you 10 inclusive design lessons, and reminds you to approach accessibility like any other design challenge.

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