As developers, we have the power to shape experiences with code. We learn about data structures, algorithms, databases, testing, security.... yet accessibility isn't something that's seen as core to engineering. More often than not, a lot of us — including myself — make assumptions about our users and write code based on those assumptions.
Recently, I decided to deep-dive into best web accessibility practices. I've discovered that there are tons of amazing resources and tools out there!
Here are some that I've found extremely helpful in aiding my learning!
Two from Max Antonucci on DEV. I HIGHLY recommend his writing:
- The Web Accessibility Introduction I wish I had
- Comebacks for Five (Wrong) Arguments Against Accessibility
- A11y cast series on Google Chrome developers channel - Short, easy to digest videos around different web accessibility practices.
- How Blind People Use Computers - A blind person demos how he navigates Reddit using a screen reader. Extremely insightful since if you aren't familiar with screen readers.
Throughline Episode: ADA Now! - Not specific to the web but extremely valuable. Discusses history of A.D.A, how disability has come to be seen as a civil rights issue.
CodeNewbies Episode: How to think about accessibility and empowerment - how tech can empower people of different backgrounds, how BBC integrates accessibility
CodeNewbies Episode: Accessibility - Issues of accessibility and how we can remove invisible barriers
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines - Guidelines to follow
If you know of any other websites known to do accessibility well, let me know!
- Google Lighthouse Test: if you use Google chrome, this should be available in your Developer tools tab. You can run this on any web page and generate a report on accessibility which tells you what can be improved.
- Axe Chrome Extension: Somewhat similar to Lighthouse, but more light-weight.
The idea that anyone should be able to access the web is fundamental to inception of the web.
In fact, here's a quote from Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the world wide web:
The power of the web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect.
By not taking time to learn or even think about accessibility, we as developers are likely creating invisible barriers with code. There's an abundance of tools and resources out there to help create a universally accessible experience on the web. It's never too late to start learning.
Thanks for reading! Are there any resources you've found helpful or tools you've enjoyed using? Please share down below!