Tags: 50

978

sparkline

Wednesday, January 19th, 2022

Replying to

You called it…

You called it…

Saturday, December 25th, 2021

I don’t know who’s more excited: my four year old niece waiting for Santa to visit or me waiting for the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope.

🎅 🚀 🔭

Friday, December 24th, 2021

Portrait of a good dog.

Portrait of a good dog.

Friday, December 17th, 2021

Checked in at Grand Hyatt DFW Airport. Overnight stopover in Dallas on the way to Tucson — with Jessica map

Checked in at Grand Hyatt DFW Airport. Overnight stopover in Dallas on the way to Tucson — with Jessica

Wednesday, December 15th, 2021

All I want for Christmas is for the James Webb Space Telescope to make it to L2 okay.

Sunday, November 28th, 2021

Replying to

I don’t have an answer, but I have a hunch that the appeal of The Beatles is less like other musical artists, and more like the appeal of books like The Great Gatsby or Sherlock Holmes—something evocative of its time and yet timeless.

Thursday, November 4th, 2021

Replying to

Thank you so much!

Thursday, October 28th, 2021

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Ah, Galway! That was the last place I went before Covid shut everything down:

https://adactio.com/journal/16518

Friday, October 22nd, 2021

In London.

In London.

Wednesday, October 20th, 2021

Replying to

Yes!!!

JavaScript should only do what only JavaScript can do.

https://adactio.com/journal/15559

Tuesday, October 19th, 2021

Replying to

I’m writing a whole bunch about responsive design at the moment so that’s where my head is at right now. Happy to chat over video anytime.

(if you’d like to chat, my email is jeremy at clearleft dot com)

Friday, October 15th, 2021

Goodnight, Lisbon!

Goodnight, Lisbon!

Thursday, October 14th, 2021

Going to Lisbon. brb

Monday, October 11th, 2021

Checked in at Fox On the Downs. Session!☘️🎶 — with Jessica map

Checked in at Fox On the Downs. Session!☘️🎶 — with Jessica

Tuesday, October 5th, 2021

The Russian actor is on her way to the space station.

I feel like this should’ve been a David Bowie song.

Thursday, September 30th, 2021

Going to London. brb

Friday, September 24th, 2021

Picture 1 Picture 2 Picture 3
map

Checked in at Dimsum & Duck. Dim sum! — with Jessica

Tuesday, September 14th, 2021

Accessibility testing

I was doing some accessibility work with a client a little while back. It was mostly giving their site the once-over, highlighting any issues that we could then discuss. It was an audit of sorts.

While I was doing this I started to realise that not all accessibility issues are created equal. I don’t just mean in their severity. I mean that some issues can—and should—be caught early on, while other issues can only be found later.

Take colour contrast. This is something that should be checked before a line of code is written. When designs are being sketched out and then refined in a graphical editor like Figma, that’s the time to check the ratio between background and foreground colours to make sure there’s enough contrast between them. You can catch this kind of thing later on, but by then it’s likely to come with a higher cost—you might have to literally go back to the drawing board. It’s better to find the issue when you’re at the drawing board the first time.

Then there’s the HTML. Most accessibility issues here can be caught before the site goes live. Usually they’re issues of ommission: form fields that don’t have an explicitly associated label element (using the for and id attributes); images that don’t have alt text; pages that don’t have sensible heading levels or landmark regions like main and nav. None of these are particularly onerous to fix and they come with the biggest bang for your buck. If you’ve got sensible forms, sensible headings, alt text on images, and a solid document structure, you’ve already covered the vast majority of accessibility issues with very little overhead. Some of these checks can also be automated: alt text for images; labels for inputs.

Then there’s interactive stuff. If you only use native HTML elements you’re probably in the clear, but chances are you’ve got some bespoke interactivity on your site: a carousel; a mega dropdown for navigation; a tabbed interface. HTML doesn’t give you any of those out of the box so you’d need to make your own using a combination of HTML, CSS, JavaScript and ARIA. There’s plenty of testing you can do before launching—I always ask myself “What would Heydon do?”—but these components really benefit from being tested by real screen reader users.

So if you commission an accessibility audit, you should hope to get feedback that’s mostly in that third category—interactive widgets.

If you get feedback on document structure and other semantic issues with the HTML, you should fix those issues, sure, but you should also see what you can do to stop those issues going live again in the future. Perhaps you can add some steps in the build process. Or maybe it’s more about making sure the devs are aware of these low-hanging fruit. Or perhaps there’s a framework or content management system that’s stopping you from improving your HTML. Then you need to execute a plan for ditching that software.

If you get feedback about colour contrast issues, just fixing the immediate problem isn’t going to address the underlying issue. There’s a process problem, or perhaps a communication issue. In that case, don’t look for a technical solution. A design system, for example, will not magically fix a workflow issue or route around the problem of designers and developers not talking to each other.

When you commission an accessibility audit, you want to make sure you’re getting the most out of it. Don’t squander it on issues that you can catch and fix yourself. Make sure that the bulk of the audit is being spent on the specific issues that are unique to your site.

Saturday, September 11th, 2021

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Friday, September 10th, 2021

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