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[Ranting 1/n] Why the developers are not focusing on Accessibility?

Neha Sharma
UI Engineer ,I love Web,JavaScript, Design System, A11Y, HTML5, CSS3 ,React; Community Advocate and enjoy giving talks and codelabs at the Meetups and conference. I am self-taught calligrapher too.
・2 min read

In the tech community, there is low awareness of accessibility. There are many reasons behind this:

  1. Most of the online tech resources don't talk about accessibility. kudos to MDN for maintaining the accessibility section.

  2. Bootcamps and tutorials doesn't teach accessibility

  3. Accessibility is not part of any CS degree.

Today I will rant about one of the biggest issues I have seen in the developers: 'Wrong code reviews'.

Whenever I see the code-reviews at work/open-source/boot-camps most of the comments are around:

  1. JavaScript syntax

  2. Using fancy syntax or tags

Developers just brag about their JS frameworks/libs skills and skip the importance of semantic code.

Developers who are putting JavaScript over semantic code are harming the skills and products they are building.

Senior developers not at all reviewing the code around:

  1. Semantic code

  2. DRY

  3. Where to draw the line between HTML, CSS, and JS

  4. SOLID principles

Junior or peer developers are not asking the questions to their senior developers at all during code reviews.

Eg: I have seen a code of a Bootcamp dev where the senior developer asked the junior developer to move the whole Navigation to javascript.

Reason: Sr Dev comment was - you are breaking DRY as navcode is repeating at every HTML page.

The whole app was HTML pages, not SPA.

There were no comments on:

  1. Tag of nav is wrong. It was div.

  2. The code used for creating navigation was not semantic at all. Instead of <ul> it was span.

  3. If the code will move to JavaScript how the content will be handled by Screen readers or translations.

  4. How the keyboard 'focus' will work if the nav will move to JavaScript.

If the code-review will start pointing out:

  1. Correct HTML tags

  2. Cost of moving content and View to JavaScript

  3. If Content and View required to be in JavaScript then how the accessibility will be taken care

Everyone in the team will get aware of the accessibility as well as from next time onwards developers will write 'correct' code not just code that 'works'.

As a Jr Developer: Ask questions. Do not just accept the code review.

As a senior developer: Do the right code review of everything, not just JS.

Happy Learning!!

Follow me at twitter.

I write on accessibility at a11ytips.dev

Discussion (5)

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inhuofficial profile image
InHuOfficial • Edited

You expect so much of people Neha. Taking the time to learn HTML...as a web developer...who would suggest such a thing? 🤣

This rant was far too polite by the way, I need to be able to picture you turning red with steam coming out of your ears if you want to take over doing the accessibility rants 😋

Only kidding, I enjoyed the post and I couldn't agree more!

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rajdeepctech profile image
Rajdeep Chandra

According to me what happens that most of the tech companies are using a framework or a library bundled with a component library.. which can be react-bootstrap, Material Bootstrap etc etc.

Here most of the Accessibility part is handled and if you are not doing major customizations you won't get a chance to get a good hands on the tip and tricks of making your web page accessible.

But every developer irrespective of their experience should audit their code to make sure it is accessible always.

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danidavid profile image
danidavid

This is a great issue you highlighted.

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jsnanigans profile image
Brendan Mullins

One issue I face a lot is "let's do it later"

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hellonehha profile image
Neha Sharma Author

True, this lead to many bad code at production