A workshop to experience first hand why accessibility is necessary and important.
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README.md

Accessibility: A Walk in Someone Else’s Shoes

A workshop to experience first hand why accessibility is necessary and important.

Abstract

Everyone talks about accessibility - or a11y - but how often is accessibility a primary thought during your development pipeline? How often is accessibility taken for granted? It’s easy to push it aside and say you’ll do it later or to forget entirely. It’s easy to drop a couple WIA-ARIA tags into your HTML and move on, but this doesn’t address many accessibility needs. When was the last time you used your website with your eyes closed?

Let’s do just that. Let’s try to navigate a website with a blindfold on. Let’s try to use a website without a mouse. Let’s try navigating a website with a visual impairment. And then let’s fix the problems encountered.

We will focus on experiencing website with two types of impairments:

  • Visual impairments, such as color blindness, low visual acuity, and a complete lack of vision
  • Mobility impairments, preventing users from using a mouse for input

These impairments are quite common and are simple to simulate using a combination of browser extensions and existing tools in your operating system. For each impairment, we will look at how the markup (both the semantic structure and the attributes), the colors and contrast, tab order, and focus affect the experience. And for each issue we encounter, we will look at specific ways that experience can be improved.

Last, we will look at testing strategies to audit your code for potential accessibility issues, using extensions such as Google’s Lighthouse, Deque’s axe-engine, and others.

Requirements

  • This repository
  • Node, with NPM or Yarn
  • NodeJS, with packages in repository installed (npm install or yarn)
  • Google Chrome (latest)
  • ChromeLens extension
  • A screen reader that works with Chrome, like ChromeVox

Optional

Slide Deck

The slide deck is built using mdx-deck. If you want to run the slides from this talk:

  • Run npm install or yarn to install the dependencies
  • Run npm run slides or yarn run slides to launch the deck
  • Run npm run build or yarn run build to build a PDF of the slides

Exercises

Each exercise is atomic, you can do each exercise on its own or in any order. In order to use many Chrome extensions, including ChromeLens, you must be opening pages off a web server. A simple Node/Express static file server is provided to do the exercises. First, you must start the server by running npm start or yarn start then opening http://localhost:3000 in your browser. You should see an extremely simple landing page with links to the exercises.

Exercise 01: No Vision

Requirements
  • A blindfold
  • Headphones
  • A screen reader that works with Chrome, like ChromeVox
Steps
  1. Open Exercise 01: No Vision in your browser, and try not to look at the page
  2. Turn on your screen reader
  3. Cover your eyes with the blindfold, or otherwise obstruct the screen
  4. Attempt to navigate the page
Questions
  • Were you able to identify all the form elements, in a meaningful way?
  • Were you able to identify what each link and button element was for?
  • Did the page move around logically?

Exercise 02: Low Vision

Requirements
Steps
  1. Open Exercise 02: Low Vision in your browser, and try not to look at the page
  2. Open the Chrome Dev Tools
  3. Open the "ChromeLens" dev tool tab
  4. Check the box for "Enable Lens"
  5. Start with "Partial Blindness (medium)"
  6. Attempt to navigate the page
  7. Repeat with different vision impairments, such as "Protanopia (red-blind)" and "Tritanopia (blue-blind)"
Questions
  • Were you able to identify what elements has focus?
  • Were you able to distinguish between the elements on the graph?
  • Were you able to identify at a glance whether the alert above the form was informational or an error?

Exercise 03: Mobility Impairment

Requirements
  • If you have an external mouse, disconnect it!
  • If you are using a trackpad ... pretend it's not there!
Steps
  1. Open Exercise 03: Mobility Impairment in your browser, and try not to look at the page
  2. Attempt to navigate the page without using your mouse/trackpad
Questions
  • Were you able to identify what elements has focus?
  • Did the page move around logically?
  • Were there significant differences in navigating the page with your eyes open and no mouse compared to Exercise 01: No Vision?