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Engineering approach to accessibility

December 11, 2018
Engineering approach to accessibility

Accessibility does not result from running scripts against your software after it’s finished. It is born in the code and must be there at the beginning. Write your code with accessibility in mind. For web applications, it starts with HTML.

Write semantic HTML

The document itself should be enough to understand what’s going on on your page. Many users don’t have the luxury of seeing your website as a whole with all its styles.

Provide context

Use descriptive markup and ARIA tags to provide context for users who see only single elements at a time. For example, a checkbox whose immediate

Use your keyboard more

Get in the habit of navigating your site with a keyboard even when not using a screenreader. Oftentimes this simple habit will find more usability bugs than anything else.

Automate. Get help from a computer.

Since it’s impossible to think of every accessibility angle on your own, it’s a good idea to use tools. Use accessibility checkers and even integrate them into your automated tests. See our list of preferred tools here.

Educate yourself

As you are building interfaces, it helps to have in mind specific obstacles your users may face. Do some research into common disabilities and the challenges they pose. This not only engenders empathy but also puts accessibility best-practices in perspective and helps you devise more inclusive solutions.

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