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Links for Supporting diversity with a new approach to software

Who needs it the most? People with disabilities

Who else benefits? People who prefer keyboard-first or audio-first interaction, older users, people who don’t like flashing and blinking or noisy experiences, software testers

High-level recommendations

  • design for people with disabilities from the beginning, which includes supporting screen readers and other assistive technologies, keyboard-only navigation, color vision impairment, limited vision or blindness, hard of hearing or deaf, seizure disorders.
  • include accessibility in test suites (and leverage accessibility functionality for test automation)
  • developers, testers, tech writers, product managers, and beta users regularly use the software in accessibility modes
  • all developers, testers, tech writers, and product managers have basic accessibility training and see themselves as responsible for the product’s accessibility

As with so many things in software, it’s a lot easier if you pay attention to it from the beginning; but very few teams do.

OS Bridge sessions

The Ability to Disable: Who Did You Forget When You Designed Your UI?, Rebecca Jennings, 2016

Accessible By Default, Kendra Skeene, 2016

Universal Web Design: How to create an awesome experience for *every* user, David Newton (2015)


The W3C’s Web Accessibility Initiative has an Introduction to Web Accessibility, tips on Designing, Writing, and Developing for web accessibility, a summary of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines as well as the full spec, Authoring Practices, and a lot more info.

The A11y project: a community-driven effort to make web accessibility easier. Digestible, up-to-date, and forgiving.

Web accessibility basics by Marco Zehe packs a lot of information into a 50-minute video.

The Teach Access Tutorial provides basic training for developers and designers on best practices for making accessible mobile and web apps. Teach Access is a collective of leading tech companies, academic institutions and advocacy organizations working together to embed accessibility into higher education and learning experiences for students of technology.

Making Awesome Things Accessible is a presentation by Heather Migliorisi from OSCON 2016. The accompaning Accessibility Resources has links to testing tools, development tools, articles, community, people, companies, and more.

Fringe Accessibility Techniques (That Probably Shouldn't Be), a presentation by Adrian Roselli for London Web Standards, has a lot of useful techniques.

Dreamwidth’s Accessibility Testing page gives an idea of the kinds of things that are needed in practice.

Accessibility according to actual people with disabilities, by Hampus Sethfors, is a summary of a Twitter thread kicked off by Safia Abdalla in June 2017 asking people with disabilities what their biggest issues are browsing the web.

Making the Firefox developer tools accessible discusses how to approach it when you haven’t thought about accessibility up front: “The majority of the tools are currently a very mouse-driven environment, and our goal is to make them equally accessible for keyboard users and those using assistive technologies such as screen readers.”

Color Design for the Color Vision Impaired discusses the most common forms of color vision impairment and techniques (including color combinations and alternative visual presentations) for creating graphics that work well for people with color vision impairment. Color Oracle is software that simulates several forms of color vision impairment.

Web Accessibility’s Best Practices page has a list of specific recommendations (for example “Ensure complex data table's implicit row header cells define scope or use th”)

CSUN’s annual International Technology and Persons With Disabilities conference has a wealth of material on all kinds of different topics. The Great Big List on Curb Cut has links to the various presentations.

David Clark’s Building an Open Source React Component describes building an accessible menu bar, following the W3C’s WAI Design Patterns recommendations. "try to build something sufficiently complex with JS interactivity, and (unless your experience is dramatically different from mine) your research will lead you into a baffling hodgepodge of incomplete, contradictory, insufficiently exemplified, inadequately verified, usually outdated material."

Building Accessibility Culture, David Peter, on Model View Culture

My Disability Matters: Designing with disability in mind, Jon Pincus, on A Change Is Coming; also available in a text-only version at Designing with disability in mind