Hear the full conversation
We had a lovely conversation with Graham an accessibility expert who gave us some wonderful insights on how to test our contrast levels, why accessibility matters and how to fix common mistakes. Let's see some of the main points covered in the conversation.
Accessibility is not only important for people with disabilities, we all see and experience the benefits.
There’s this enormous field of software development that people do not know much about. That is accessibility.
How can we make low-code non-code contributions more accessible?
From an accessibility point, structure your headings correctly, they shouldn’t be nested on each other. There should always be one Heading 1 per page. Do not use them because they’re pretty, use them for their intended purpose. This is important for people using screen readers.
Use labels on forms. Do not replace them with placeholders. This is an issue for people in general. For example, someone anxious might fill out the form but wants to double check the form and starts questioning which field is which, so they can only delete the information and see the placeholder text and see if they filled it out right. This is pretty inconvenient.
The second point is alt text on images. Try describing the picture as if you were talking to someone on the phone. And last thing, if there are pictures of code snippets you should fix that and turn it into actual code snippets, for both accessibility and speed for people to copy your code. Ex.
Some code you can copy
Why is accessibility important?
- Accessibility not only improves your code or life, but improves other people’s as well.
- 97.4% of websites overall have accessibility errors bad enough to stop someone with a disability from using that website.
- 1 in 10 people have a disability and 1 in every 10 people have a disability that affects how they interact with web pages.
But we can approach this from two angles. How does this affect me as a developer?
Well, it makes you use best practices, makes you use semantic HTML, it will save you time, ex: with the button tag. And makes your code easier to read and understand for future checks and reviews.
The other perspective is the business one. There’s a billion people in the world who care about accessibility because they have family or they themselves are disabled, so when you cater to those audiences, you can outperform your competition and have a bigger market.
Another reason why you should care is that the things you do for those with disabilities can help those without disabilities.
Tips to make your projects more accessible
You need to know how to identify problems. There are tools that help with this issue, like Accessibility Insights. It’ll pick up color contrast issues, if you used the wrong HTML element, the focus order on the page, among some other useful features.
Read about accessibility, learn about semantic HTML and best practices. Consume content that can help you improve the structure of your code and make sure to run it through accessibility checkers or make sure to apply Accessibility Guidelines specifications.