Accessibility is one of the areas which is very important yet ignored by the developers, designers, and copywriters.
Everyone assumes that Accessibility is 'only' developer thing and there are many such myths around Accessibility. Today I am going to burst such myths.
Accessibility (a11y), is not only the devs job. It is a team effort starting from the project manager, designers, devs, copywriters and testers. The manager needs to make sure the team is aligned for a11y implementation and its scope. Designers need to create the designs which are accessible, devs need to write the accessible code and following guidelines, copywriters need to provide the accessible content. At last, the testing team needs to test the app for accessibility.
No, accessible designs are not ugly. The UX teams need to understand that a11y guidelines provided the color contrast for low vision. The designer just needs to make sure that the colors are passing the contrast and the same goes with the font-sizes. Even if your site is animation, videos, etc. heavy just make sure that you are also providing the control to slow down the animations, caption for the videos, and the content is still accessible even when the screen readers are reading the carousel content.
No, if the team is taking care of the accessibility from the start of the project you don't need to spend extra time on the implementation of the accessibility. If designers created the designs which are following color contrast, font-sizes, and other guidelines. If the developer is writing the semantic code, labels with the forms elements, taking care of ARIA then there is no extra time or money you are investing. As well as, web by default is accessible. We are breaking it while writing the wrong code.
For testers, there are many free testing tools that are also available such as - Lighthouse extensions, Axe extensions, voice over on Mac, etc. Again you are not spending anything on these.
No one is going to ask for 'accessible-site' because this is not an add-on feature. By default the web is accessible. The 1st ever site is still accessible but now while using the latest UI frameworks and attempt to create a jazzy website we are breaking the accessibility. This is the responsibility of the team to deliver the accessible site. This is the basic right, not a 'requirement'.
Hence, next time don't even bother to ask the client -"Are you looking for an accessible site?".
Well, the cost will depend on the tools and license but there are a few free tools that anyone can use to test the accessibility such as LightHouse extension, Axe extension, etc. For voiceover mac and Chromebook have the free tools available.
Also, not to forget nothing can beat the actual user testing. So, throw the mouse away and start testing by keyboard (which is FREE again).
This is one of the biggest myths that devs and PMs have. The good news is this is just a myth. This is the time when people are using more apps as compared to desktop websites and apps. It is very necessary to have the apps also accessible because every smartphone has accessiblilty navigation support. Next time while building an app keep accessibility on the front seat.
Well, accessibility is beyond just focus, alt, the title tag. But if you are taking care of all these 3 things it is very good to start now think beyond these too. Such as, is your forms are accessible, videos are accessible, content is accessible or not? Are the animations are too fast or slow? Is the scrolling of the site is not at all controllable? etc.
There are 3 types of levels - A, AA, AAA. If you are following only AA it is good but you can also push yourself to see if you can achieve AAA. Also, it is not necessary that you have to follow all the AA and AAA. You can mix them as per your testing and project scope.
Remember it is good to go by the book but nothing can beat real-time user testing.
This blog is also published on my personal blog : nehasharma.dev