We've been a little over 2 years now with Covid in our lives, but there's still so much we don't know about it. One aspect of that is what the enduring effects of it are for some people, or Long-Covid as it is known. These effects vary in their symptoms and severity, but they can have an impact on our lives and can prevent us from doing all the things we are used to.
How Many People…
Picking the right HTML tag can be difficult sometimes, which is probably why most of us tend to fall back to the generic <div> and <span> tags. Over time, this practice leads to Divitis, which makes code harder to read on more complex pages and it makes the web page less semantic, making it more difficult to navigate with assistive technology like screen readers.
In-fact, ensuring we're…
Chrome has recently announced its intention to prevent cross-origin iframes from triggering the alert(), prompt(), and confirm() . These modals will still function for the top-level web page, and iframes within the same domain. Websites spanning multiple subdomains on the same domain will not allow these modals.
I was recently showing my eldest son some bedtime stories, and the ones he loves the most currently are the African folktales about Anansi the spider.
However, as I was watching with him, I was shocked at some of the captions accompanying the audio, it was full of profanity!
Who is Affected?
Is it Really a Problem for Content Creators to Solve?
The proposed changes to the Web Content Accessibility Group (WCAG) guidelines defined in the WCAG 2.2 working draft are aimed at improving the experience for people with cognitive disabilities and low vision, as well as improving the overall experience for those using mobile devices. This is meant to be an interim set of guidelines until WCAG 3.0 is completed.
There are 9 new guidelines that tie…
Since the initial blog post about my accessibility checklist tool, I've made further improvements which make the tool easier to use and more useful.
Navigating to Previous Steps
The first version was extremely linear, only allowing you to start from the beginning and progress to the next step. Now, you can move back to any previous step by using the link in the main steps outline.
Browsers today are very different beasts than they were a decade ago, and come with some amazing tools for developers to help them work more quickly and efficiently. I want to introduce you to the accessibility tools built into Firefox.
Detecting Issues Automatically
Simulating Colour Blindness
Accessibility testing can be hard and time consuming, especially if you are new to it. The mix of browsers, operating systems, and user-space tools is vast and ever-changing. The WCAG guidelines are the de facto standards for accessibility requirements across the world wide web, but they're not exactly light reading, and they can be difficult for newcomers to fully understand and take in.
If you have a lot of data that you need to convey to your audience you could use a table, but a graph or chart can help convey the same information much more simply and quickly to your readers. However, we need to be careful that the graphs that we create are still available to our whole audience. There are some simple ways that we can ensure this.
In the week following Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) the Accessiblity London group asked:
What are your most commonly encountered accessibility myths or misconceptions?— Accessibility London (@A11yLondon)
May 19, 2020
The question was asked in about half a dozen languages, and there were a lot of great answers, but the same few kept repeating. Many of them were things…
It's Global Accessibility Awareness Day today, and more of us than ever are relying on online services and resources due to the Covid19 pandemic. With a huge swathe of the world being forced to work from home, we're seeing a greater need to ensure our products, tools, and websites are accessible to everyone.
The WebAIM one million project paints a pretty bleak picture, as it looks like websites…
If you're developing for the front end, then it's important to understand how to test that what you produce is accessible. Testing across multiple browsers has been part of front end development since the beginning; browsers would always interpret your code in slightly different ways, both small and large. Accessibility testing is no different really, you're just approaching things from a slightly…
With more and more web usage being performed on mobile devices, increasing every year the, now common, hamburger menu is here to stay. One of the main problems that needs addressing is the usability and accessibility of the menu.
A Typical Example
Improving for the Screen Reader
Setting the Expanded State
I'm often asked for a list of "quick wins" to make websites more accessible. While I don't always agree with that mindset as it can lead to a lazy approach to accessibility that's tacked on as an afterthought, I do understand that there is a real need for simple solutions that can fix the majority of problems.
Imagine the situation (and I really do believe this is a typical scenario from my experience…
One of the basic rules of accessibility is to not convey information through colour alone. The WCAG lists use of colour as a Level A issue, specifically saying:
Color is not used as the only visual means of conveying information, indicating an action, prompting a response, or distinguishing a visual element.
This criterion is aimed at those people with visual disabilities, or problems that have…
My Twitter has been aflame this week with people Tweeting about a recent update from Apple which introduces a new feature called Accessibility Events in iOS 12.2. Their reason is to:
allow websites to customize their behavior for assistive technologies, like VoiceOver. Enabling Accessibility Events may reveal whether an assistive technology is active on your iPhone.
This might seem like a positive…
Screen readers are an essential tool for people who are unable to see, or who struggle to read. Sometimes though, a screen reader needs some extra help, as it can struggle with the right pronunciation of a word, name, or abbreviation. There are things we can do to help nudge screen readers in the right direction in a way that doesn't break the user experience for other people.
I was recently in a discussion with Adrian Roselli on Twitter regarding his tweaks to a technique to make emoji more accessible. His advice highlights some accessibility issues with the typical emoji usage that permeates our social media, our blog posts, and our instant messaging tools.
The Problems with Emoji
What Emoji Got Right for Accessibility
How Can Emoji be Accessible?
I was recently talking with a former colleague about testing for accessibility, and specifically being able to run an automated test over a website to reduce the time needed to test. My answer then was that there is no way to fully automate testing for accessibility; there's no test that exists which can rubber stamp your website and give it passing marks.
But it did give me an idea. Right now,…
The readability of your content is one of the most important accessibility issues you will encounter, but is often one of the least thought about. Readability affects everyone who browses the Web, and can mean the difference between retaining or scaring your site visitors.
What is Readability?
The readability of your content is how easily understood your content is. One of the most useful measures…
Modal dialogues are a part of the web whether we like them or not, and there's plenty of reason to not like them when they're implemented in a really intrusive way. They do serve a very useful purpose though; they allow extra content to be presented to the user in a way that temporarily breaks out of the normal flow of the page without altering the existing content flow.
Generally, when asked about web accessibility, peoples first thoughts tend to go towards visual impairments. One group of less obvious issues is that of learning difficulties, such as dyslexia. Dyslexia affects about 10% of the UK population according to the British Dyslexia Association. Being a hidden disability, it's often overlooked in any web accessibility checks.
What is Dyslexia
For many years, tables were the only tool available to lay out our websites as we wanted to achieve something that went beyond what you'd probably come to expect with your typical word-processed documents. Then for the last decade (or so) we were told that tables were evil, and using them was a sin that would earn us a spot in the 6th circle of IT hell. More recently we've learned that that anti-table…
In January there was a recent update to the WCAG that introduced some changes in what's expected of you as a developer to make your web content accessible. The majority of these are fairly obvious and straightforward, with some nice additions that enhance accessibility on smaller hand-held devices.
1.3.4 Identify Common Purpose
The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect.
When Tim Berners-Lee opened the WWW to the general public in 1991 (previously it was internal to the CERN network) he had a vision that it would be of use by all, and that tenet is as true today as it was nearly 3 decades ago.
Back in the 90's, we had little…
Since the inception of CSS, there's been one area of styling that has been a constant issue; forms. Simple elements, like <input type="text"> and <textarea> and buttons, have generally been ok, as borders, colours and fonts could all be set with standard styles that behaved as expected. Beyond that though, other elements were impossible to style consistently without either compromising…
When I first started learning about accessibility, I figured it was just enough to use alt attribute text on images, and use semantic tags. Like the Greek philosopher Socrates once said though:
The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing
My folly, shared by many developers, was to simply assume that accessibility was just something that applied to blind people, but don’t we all start…
This article was originally posted on the TMW Tech Blog on the 30th of Jan 2015 but I've amended the prose slightly here
I've recently rebuilt this website, mainly in order to move it off of the old CodeIgniter framework to Laravel, and take advantage of the modern features of PHP. The rebuild has given me a great opportunity to go through a lot of the content on the site and re-write it, and one…