Why aren’t we better at accessibility?
In Don’t Use Slack, Christian Heilmann raises some critical questions about why accessibility doesn’t happen more in modern-day apps and startups, highlighting some issues he observed when a former colleague who’s blind needed to use Slack. He also touched on why Slack is a fantastic tool, and has some on-point conclusions about the nature of open source and proprietary development, and the advantages of each:
… [O]pen and accessible doesn’t beat usable and intelligent.
Diving deeper into the real problem, Hint – it’s not that Slack’s app has some accessibility issues:
As the people who love open, free, available and accessible we have to ask ourselves a few questions: why is it much easier to create an inaccessible interface than an accessible one? How come this is the status quo? How come that in 2016 we still have to keep repeating basic things like semantic HTML, alternative text and not having low contrast interfaces? When did this not become a simple delivery step in any project description? It has been 20 years and we still complain more than we guide.
Heilmann says that we (Slack’s users) should just talk to them. Communicate. It makes sense. Accessibility is hard because it’s everywhere when you think about a web product’s lifecycle: planning, research, user experience, design, code, delivery, maintenance, etc. Everyone has to be involved, and everyone shouldn’t be afraid to talk about accessibility. It’s a people problem above all else, and most people don’t realize they already have the skills to make what they work on accessible.
This post originally appeared on my blog.
- Marco Zehe’s (Heilmann’s former co-worker) response to Heilmann’s post
- Marco Zehe’s Status of the accessibility of Slack
News and links
Nine U.S. Senators urge Obama administration to issue Title III website regulations: The senators requested the administration “complete its review” of the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) “Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking” (ANPRM) for public accommodations websites, online systems, and other information and communication technologies (ICT).” Related: A petition to the White House, urging the same action.
Accessibility conferences in 2016: John Foliot has created a master list of upcoming conferences.
Guidelines to help make user agents more accessible released: From the post: “User agents cover a broad range of tools used to access the Internet including browsers (both desktop and mobile), plugins for browsers, media players and any authoring tool that renders any content that is published online (including web development tools and software such as Microsoft Word).”
SVG title element bug fixed in Chromium: The
<title> is now exposed as an accessible name to accessibility APIs.
Resources, tools and tutorials
- How to design for Dyslexia (blog post)
- The trouble with the Flexbox “don’t do that” accessibility solution (mailing list)
- Simple inline error message pattern (blog post)
- Avoid the hamburger menu for desktop layouts (blog post)
- I’m an accessibility consultant. Stop hiring me (blog post)
- Five ways to improve your e-commerce design for colorblind users (blog post)
- Progressive web apps (resource)
- Mabel (tool)
- Simple standalone toggletip widget pattern (blog post)
New to A11y
Carlin Scuderi put together a short list of free accessibility tools.
The staff at Viget shared the first in series about how to create more accessible content, all about copywriting.
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