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Access all Areas

I attended Cordellia Yokum's Usability for everyone: Are you excluding some users from accessing your website? workshop at CAST 2022

As I can't do justice to a packed and interactive five-hour session in a short post like this, I'm going to simply drop bullet lists and links from the notes I took here.

Accessibility
  • Not just about disability
  • Auditory, cognitive, neurological, physical, visual
  • US: one in four have some disability
  • Small screens, elderly users, slow internet, poor lighting conditions, etc
  • SEO benefits from being able to access content
  • Accessibility is not a project. Like Quality, improve it incrementally and continually
Assistive technologies
  • Screen magnifiers (e.g. web browser zoom)
  • Text readers (e.g. blind and partially-sighted, ADHD, dyslexia sufferers)
  • Speech recognition software 
  • Head pointers, motion tracking (often for paraplegic users)
  • Single switch entry (e.g. sip and puff mouth operation; keyboards with "quick buttons")

POUR

  • Perceivable
  • Operable
  • Understandable
  • Robust
  • Quick (and interactive) reference 
  • Filter aggressively for your immediate need
  • Covers test ideas, success criteria, fail criteria
  • Baseline AA, cherry pick from AAA (for most contexts)
  • Some judgement calls may still need to be made
Perceivable
  • Text alternatives for non-text content (e.g. text button, alt, captions)
  • Content that can be presented in different ways without losing meaning
  • Make it easy for users to see and hear content (e.g. use landmarks for navigation)
Operable
  • Navigation of components; make all functionality available from the keyboard
  • Time to read and use content - "you have three minutes to finish your purchase"
  • Don't make people sick or ill when using your page (e.g.seizure inducing images)
  • Don't let people get trapped in the content (e.g. can tab across all fields)
  • HTML5 with Semantic Elements gives much of this already
  • Subverting the intent of HTML (e.g. Div as button) causes problems.
Understandable
  • Text is readable
  • Content appears consistent and predictable
  • Often about form inputs and labels
  • Behaviour that is flagged
  • Errors that make sense
Robust
  • HTML code is valid
  • Don't abuse JS and DOM updates because you can
  • Use HTML5's semantic elements and get benefits out of the box
  • Linters can help, but dynamic content won't usually be checked by them
Oracles
Colour
  • Contrast has strict pass/fail rules
  • ... but they are still contextual (e.g. gradient, font size, interactivity, opacity etc)
  • Use pure hex numbers don't lighten with CSS
  • Sometimes perception is not the same as the standards
  • Remember colourblindness
  • Remember different states of page elements (Dev tools can force states)
  • Get the designers to use tools e.g. Figma plugin 
  • CSS prefers-color-scheme (respects Dark mode)
  • Avoid large blocks of pure red (because seizures)
Motion
  • Migraine sufferers, users with ADHD can be affected
  • Need to give people the ability to reduce motion
  • CSS prefers-reduced-motion respects preference settable in OS (e.g. Mac "Reduce Motion") 
  • Limit any flashes to max 3 (because seizures)
Alternative Text
  • Provides value for screen reader, SEO, and slow connection
  • Different rules for different elements (decision tree
  • Empty alt attribute stops screen readers verbalising the URL (!)
  • Link to deeper description when you have a complex image (e.g. chart)
  • Audio and video: consider transcripts 
Zoom and Reflow
  • Keeping the website responsive in zooming or magnification
  • Simple heuristic step up to +400% zoom, inspecting at each increment
  • Avoid horizontal scrolling: hard to navigate; context is lost
  • Images should be resized for the page 
  • Page elements moving to be in the viewport is fine
Keyboard navigation
  • Web Accessibility in Mind guidelines
  • For vision (including focus) and mobility-impaired users 
  • Also power users
  • Safari - has some weird preferences on keyboard navigation
  • Interesting conversation around defaulting keyboard focus 
  • ... into search box in modal dialog vs new page vs results)
Forms
  • Using for=id allows label text to link to the page element with name
  • Group by role to aid navigation
  • Remember the difference between submit button and a link
  • Disabling a button until fields are filled blocks readers
  • Attribute aria-disabled (ref) allows focus but still notes it as disabled on the page
  • Clickable div element might look like a button (!) but screen readers don't see it
Error Handling
  • Colour should not be the only indicator of a failure or required
  • Use aria-live to announce issues
  • Announce issues at the top and on the specific elements
  • ... with jump links from the top to the issue
  • Be explicit about how to fix them
Autocomplete
  • very helpful to those who have to type with mouth etc
  • reduces mistakes generally

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