Accessibility: Where to start?

Presented by: Scott O'Hara

First, who am I?

drawing of scott
  • I work at The Paciello Group as an accessibility engineer
  • Professional pixel pusher & DOM organizer hybrid since 2003
  • Specializing in:
    • HTML, CSS / Sass, JS + the DOM
    • The UX of things
    • Being that opinionated guy

Let's jump right into it

I've been asked:

"How do I get started in accessibility (a11y)?

"How do I get my team to care about a11y?"

"How do we make sure we're doing it right?"

C'mon we're talking
about accessibility!

"It [always] depends™"
<cite>- everyone ever </cite>

No but really

broken image
Fig:1 - Not pictured, "easy button"
(primarily due to copyright concerns...)

Since we have to
start somewhere

Let's go to the heart of those initial questions...

Revised questions/topics:

  1. Who is in charge of a11y at your company?
  2. Getting your team to care about a11y
  3. Resources & tips for how to implement

#1 Who's in charge?

To start...

Some standard teams include...

  • Project / Product Manager(s)
  • Designer(s) - UX/UI
  • Developer(s) - back/front (full-stack unicorns being optimal)
  • Content writer(s) (if you work somewhere fancy)
  • QA Engineer(s) (somewhere fancy indeed)
  • Finally: Client(s) / Stakeholder(s) / USERS

OK, but who's in charge of accessibility?


Accessibility can't just be the task
of a single person

Not even if there's an accessibility lead

Hypothetical scenario

Would you say to your Director of Development:

"Well, you 'know the most about development'. So, 'you' can fix the bugs, right?"

No one person should be expected to do or know everything

Sharing knowledge and intent is key

Early and frequent communication will be the key to understanding intent and appropriate a11y

Are these buttons or links
(or, gasp, neither?!)
Button or link?
Button or link?

Read: Links vs. Buttons in Modern Web Applications
^ definitely a link

It bears (bares?) repeating
not just a designer / developer dynamic

So accessibility is everyone's job...

And now you're all thinking of the additional
bits-n-bobs to keep track of and work to do...

#2 How to get my team to care about it?

People only care about the things they care about

And people only care about the things they know they should care about.

the deep thoughts are deep...

Working on Soft skills

You're going to have to make nice and listen :)

Empathy is effective

It can be hard for some to empathize, if they are unaware of what they should be empathizing about.

So make them aware.

Inclusive Design Principals

Empathy Prompts

If it wasn't clear...

Not all users are the same

Tie it all back to the work

to help promote baking accessibility practices in from the start

#3 Tips & Resources

Best ways to learn are by doing

Start at the beginning

Really understand what it is you're creating

Devs: Learn your HTML

Not just the obvious, but really understand the semantics and when to use what

Understand the role CSS plays

For the most part, CSS is for styling only... but...

User delight and UX

They're not always the same thing

Try thinking about the bits that aren't "exciting"

  • Error messages
  • Empty states
  • Trimming down content & action items

Embrace Progressive Enhancement

A core principal to accessible and inclusive user experiences is to ensure they're always accessible.

And there's always
the standard checks:

  • Appropriate alt for images
  • Logical <h1> - <h6> order
  • Links go places, buttons do things
  • Content is keyboard accessible!
  • Is state properly conveyed?

Starting from Scratch?

Lean on accessible resources

Have to work with what you have?

Become familiar with auditing

Guidance by people, not specs

Wrapping up

Most important thing to do to get started in accessibility?

Just get started


My info again so you can yell at me