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Intro to ARIA — A11ycasts #13

So, for instance, I’ve got this input here, wrapped in a label and that’s going to produce a visual UI like the one that you’re seeing here this radio button.

But that’s also going to create a spoken UI based on the built in semantics of those native HTML tags. Now, if you’re not quite sure how all of that happened, or why those semantics matter be sure to check out our previous episode on semantic. So I’ll include a link down in the show notes and we can also maybe drop in an annotation up here for you to click on. I just I have some background on how semantics work and why those are important in the first place now.

This is all good and everything, but there are instances where a simple layout in native HTML just aren’t going to cut it and so to handle these situations. We have the web accessibility initiative accessible, rich internet applications, spec, which is a bit of a mouthful. So you oftentimes see this referred to as wai-aria or maybe just Aria, so audio works by allowing you to specify attributes on elements which then modify the way.

Those elements are translated into the accessibility tree. So let’s take a look at a really basic example. Just to show how this works, so, if you create a a plain checkbox a screen reader is going to announce it. As you know, a checkbox it’ll tell you what its label, if it has one like we do in this case, where it says, receive promotional offers and it’ll also tell you the the state of the checkbox right, whether it’s checked or not, but let’s say you’re in A situation where, for whatever reason, you need to implement your own check box using something like like a div right, maybe you need to style it in a really special way.

So, in this case, we’ve got a div checkbox we’ve created here, and the screen reader is going to give the user really like no indication that this element is meant to be a checkbox. It might announce the the text inside of the div there, but it’s not going to tell you the role of the element. I can say it’s a checkbox. It’s also not going to tell you the state so excited you sure is going to be able to see these visual cues and they’ll be able to figure out that this is a checkbox.

But nothing is going to be announced to our screen reader users and that’s a really big problem. So using Aria, we can actually tell the screen reader about this extra information here up at the top, I’ve got some custom checkboxes just created using gives down at the bottom. I’ve got some checkboxes using the native input element so using voiceover. Let’s see how these are announced differently: voiceover, I’m chrome, custom checkboxes in custom check intense group with three items there and then slices group with two items: heading ten times check, check box and then slices uncheck, checkbox voiceover off.

So you see there that the the div elements just are announced as groups. It doesn’t indicate to the user in any way that these are checkboxes where it’s the native element. It indicates it’s a checkbox and it tells you the state whether it’s checked or not. So, let’s see if we can add some Aria to improve upon this so over in my dev tools, I will select these the checkbox elements and I’m going to start off by just giving them a role of checkbox and I’m also going to give them a state Of Aria, checked of either true or false, depending on you know the actual state of the element there.

So if a role checkboxes to the one Aria checked equals false and let’s try it again using the screen reader voiceover, I’m dropping custom. Checkboxes 10 pens check the checkbox and then slices contract checkbox always go over all. So adding that role and Aria checked attribute causes the middle Union accessibility tree to actually have the desired role and state without changing. You know anything else about the nodes, appearance or its behavior, which is pretty awesome right, we’re just adding in additional semantics using Aria.

So in terms of the accessibility tree, what ru does is it really allows you to subdue like tree surgery? So you take the accessibility tree as generated by plain HTML. You add Aria to that, and now you get a different accessibility tree and it may be subtly different or it could be radically different, depending on what attributes you use, however, keep in mind that this is really the only thing that ru changes.

It doesn’t change anything about how the element behaves on the page. For instance, it’s not going to suddenly make your element focusable, it’s not going to add keyboard event, listeners for you or anything like that, or you does not change behavior in any way. It really only is for adding in additional semantics. So if you, you know, if you’re making a custom control, it’s really on you to make sure you go back, and you also add in that keyboard support so you’re kind of like maintaining that that consistent experience for your users.

So now that you understand more about what ru is and kind of some of the basics of how it works, I want to cover some of the things that Aria will. Let us do in our application, as we saw in that check box example. Aria can add semantics to an element where no native semantics already exists. So, for instance, you take a div element, it has no built-in semantics, but we can use Aria to be able to role.

We can use already to give it a check State, for instance, build a custom check, box or radio button, or something like that, or you can also be used to modify existing element semantics. So, for instance, let’s say I’ve got a button element that I want to. Actually turn into more like a toggle button, so I can on/off switch type of control. I can give it a roll of switch. I’m give it an already check state of true or false, and now I’ve sort of modified the semantics of this control, and now it’s more of a even more specific kind of thing.

It’s like a toggle button right to switch button. It’s important to note here, though, that the switch rule is part of the newer aria 1.1 spec. So, as I’m recording this, you know there’s probably a number of assistive technologies which do not support this role. Just yet, just like all web standards. Aria is you know, constantly evolving and advancing to try and keep pace with new UI patterns, so that’s something important to realise as well right, if you, if you come across an aria rule, you also want to check for the support of that role in assistive technology To make sure it’s widely supported, and then you can use it another thing or you can do is it can express semantics and UI patterns which really like don’t already exist in HTML, and I think this is where Aria kind of comes into its own Aria.

Basically, will let you create accessible widgets, which are not possible using plain HTML. To give you an example. Here is like a tree: widget component, okay, we can take an unordered list and add all your rules of we tree item and group and add an already expanded attribute to a few those children and now we’re expressing the more rich semantics of this tree element and Again, there’s no tree tag in native HTML, so it’s something that you know we wouldn’t be able to build otherwise without aria, which is really important.

Another thing we can do and as we saw this in our previous episode on labeling or you can add extra labeling and descriptive text to an element right to give that element an accessible name. So, for example, if you have like an image only button which doesn’t use an actual image element, so you don’t have access to an alt attribute or anything like that to put alternative text on it. You can still use Aria.

You can use Aria label to give that element its own accessible name, and that way you can have it be announced properly by a screen reader to those users, or you can also express semantic relationships between elements which go beyond just like standard, dom parent-child sibling relationships. So, for example, a more complex relationship is something like this element controls that element over there.

Even if they’re not like you know, direct parent-child or anything. So in this case right here, I’ve got a button which controls whether a particular part of the page is visible or hidden, and it does this in the form of kind of a disclosure widget. You can see here where it shows advanced settings. We’ve specified using Aria controls – that’s actually controlling this group of elements down here for these Advanced Settings checkboxes.

So even though they’re not parent-child, they’re, actually sort of like siblings. We can create this new relationship indicating this element over here controls that elements over there, which is really cool and finally, Aria, can make parts of the page live, so they can inform assistive technology right away when something changes – and we saw this in our previous episode On building alerts, so we add role equals alert to some element.

We drop some new content into it and then it’s going to announce that immediately through assistive technology to the user. So are you giving you a lot of tools to make sure the experiences you build? Are semantically rich and can be easily understood by assistive technology? Now we’re definitely going to be diving into the subject more in the future, but that about covers it for today. So if you have any questions, you can always leave them for me down below in comments, or you can hit me up on a social network of your choosing.

As always thanks. So much for reading I’ll see you next time, hey. If you enjoyed this episode of Ally cash, you can always catch more over in our playlist or click. The little subscribe button and you’ll get an email notification whenever we launch new stuff on the blog. As always, thanks for reading


 

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Essential JavaScript SEO tips – JavaScript SEO

Let’s look at a few SEO techniques to help users find your content. All of your pages should have a descriptive and helpful title that describes what the page is about in very short terms, for example, on recipe pages avoid using a generic titles such as Barbara’s baking block.

Instead, each page should have the name of the recipe in the title, so it’s clear what the page is about. You also should provide a description of what the page will contain, specifically, for example, what makes this recipe special on what are its main characteristics? So people have something helping them identify the best page to fulfill the intended goal. Both of this can be done by adding a title and meta tags in your markup.

You can check your pages for those tags by using the right-click inspect and then search for double slash, title and double slash meta to find them. If you do not see all of your content in the markup, you are probably using javascript to render your page in the browser. This is called client-side rendering and is not a problem per se. Rendering is the process of populating templates with data from api’s or databases.

This can happen either on the server side or on the client side, when it does happen on the server crawlers, as well as your users get all the content as HTML markup immediately in single page apps. The server often sends the templates and Java scripts to the client and the JavaScript then fetches the data from the backend populating the templates as the data arrives, as explained in the first episode, the indexing for JavaScript sites happens in two waves content.

That requires JavaScript to be fed, we’ll only be indexed in the second wave, which might take some time in later episodes. We will cover how to overcome this and often also improve the user experience and loading performance by using techniques such as dynamic, rendering hybrid rendering or server-side rendering for single page apps. Another important detail is to allow Googlebot to crawl pages from your website by linking between your pages properly, make sure to include useful link anchor text and use the HTML anchor tag with the destination.

Url of the link in the href attribute do not rely on other HTML elements such as div or span or use javascript event. Handlers for this now only crawlers will have a trouble finding and following these pseudo links, they also cause issues with assistive technology. Links are an essential feature of the web and help search engines and users find and understand the relationship between pages, if you are using javascript to enhance the transition between individual pages use.

The history API, with normal URLs, instead of the hash based routing technique using hashes, also called fragment identifiers to distinguish between different pages, is a hack that crawlers to ignore using the JavaScript history. Api, on the other hand, with normal URLs, provides a clean solution for the same purpose. Remember to test your pages and server configuration when using javascript to do the routing on the client-side.

Googlebot will be visiting your pages individually, so neither a service worker nor the JavaScript using history. Api can be used to navigate between pages test. What a user would see by opening your l’s in a new incognito window, the page should load with an HTTP 200 status code and all the expected content should be visible. Using semantic HTML markup properly helps users better understand your content, as well as navigated, quicker assistive technologies like screen.

Readers and crawlers also rely on the semantics of your content, use headings, sections and paragraphs to outline the structure of your content, using HTML image and article tags with captions and alt text to add visuals. You have crawlers and assistive technology to find this content and surface it to your users. In contrast, if you use JavaScript to generate your marker, dynamically make sure you aren’t accidentally blocking Googlebot in your initial markup, as explained in the previous episode.

The first round of indexing does not execute JavaScript having markup such as a no index meta tag in the initial payload can prevent Googlebot from running the second stage with JavaScript. Following these steps will help Googlebot understand your content better and make your content more discoverable in Google search, hi Googlebot hi Googlebot. Did you see the new webmasters article serious? No, I did not what you missed out on so much stuff.

Really, yes, oh no. How could we have prevented that well subscribe and follow our articles?


 

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Web Fonts – The State of the Web

”, My guest is Dave. Crossland He’s the program manager For Google Fonts And today we’re Going to be talking about the state of web fonts –, what are they, how to use them? Effectively and what’s new, Let’s get started, [ MUSIC PLAYING ], So Dave. Thank you. For being here, My first question is: About why web fonts, What do they bring to a website? Beyond the standard fonts like Helvetica DAVE, CROSSLAND Well, Web fonts really express a certain kind of Feeling for organizations They express a brand And you can have a web Page without a article, but you can’t have a Web page without text You have to have fonts And so a brand at its core Would be like a logo, a color and a typeface or a font, And so web fonts bring The kind of rich design that we have in print Media to the web, RICK VISCOMI And according To the HTTP Archive nearly one third of Websites use a font from the Google Fonts API, So why are developers turning To the Google Fonts API DAVE CROSSLAND, I would say That Google Fonts is fast, easy and free And so on.

Our Analytics page we’ve clocked up over 22 trillion. Font views in total since the service Launched in 2010 – And I think that being on Google’s content, distribution networks, we benefit From cross-site caching, So when you visit the First website that uses a font like Roboto, it’s downloaded and you may see Some latency there, But then on all Subsequent websites, which use the font From Google Fonts, then it’s in a cache And loads instantly across the different websites, We also try and Make it really easy So the font’s API Abstracts, a lot of the complexities of web Font technology from you, So we serve different formats.

To different browsers, For example, with better Compression formats, like WOFF2, only the newer Browsers support those, And so we serve WOFF2 files. To those newer browsers And we serve other Formats to older browsers And then finally We make things free and we have a directory of Hundreds of choices which everybody can choose from Now, of course, if you Want a particular typeface, then it may not be Available in Google Fonts and you would go and license That font for your usage, But not everybody, has the Sophistication in design or the resources To license fonts And I think it’s important That everyone in the world is able to do typography, RICK VISCOMI, So I don’t Know if developers truly appreciate how complicated Web fonts are under the hood.

I got a taste of this when I Was at YouTube a few years ago, I helped change the Default font to Roboto, and it was not as easy as just Changing the font-family CSS style, There’s a lot you need to do to Make sure that it goes smoothly for the users and they Have a good experience, For example, like YouTube users, Are from all around the world, They have different languages. Different alphabets, What are some of the Things that developers need to be concerned about For an international audience, DAVE CROSSLAND International Users face a challenge because the file sizes Of fonts, for them can be larger than just For European languages Traditionally Google Fonts has done a kind of slicing of Fonts into language or writing system sets, So we might have, for example, Latin Latin Extended Cyrillic Cyrillic Extended Greek Greek, Extended and Vietnamese: That’s your current support for Roboto that’s used on YouTube.

We also support Other languages — Hebrew, Arabic, Thai, Many different Indian writing systems And the biggest Challenge has been for Chinese Japanese And Korean fonts, A typical font for Indian languages can maybe be two or three times Larger than a European font, But for East Asia it can Be a hundred times bigger And so we’ve been able to Use a number of technologies, for example WOFF2 Compression which is now a W3C standard this year, And also the @ font-face Css has a new aspect called unicode-range.

Unicode-Range allows us to Slice, the fonts into pieces, dynamically And the browser will Only download the pieces that it needs, So that means that We were able to slice a Chinese, Japanese or Korean Font into over a hundred slices And therefore the Latency of each slice is similar to your European font, This means that the experience Latency is much better And because the Slices are cached across different Domains then the font gets faster and faster To load over time, RICK VISCOMI Custom fonts have Also been used for icon fonts to show images And more recently, they’ve Been used for emoji as well, So we’re moving beyond just Text and on to these other ways that we’re using to communicate, But it’s not without its Own challenges, right, DAVE, CROSSLAND, That’s right! Font technologies are always Improving and evolving And the use of emoji as a kind Of special case of icon fonts is particularly interesting.

I think that there’s a Debate in the web development community about how To best approach this Using images for icons, whether That’s PNG or SVG vector images is –. There are some advantages there. One of the advantages To using icon fonts is that aligning icons with Text in labels is often is a common use case And getting the alignment Onto the baseline of text can be tricky when You’re dealing with two elements: — a text Element and a image element And so icon fonts can Play a good role there.

They also have good legacy. Support because obviously text systems work everywhere. Unfortunately, for Emoji and color fonts that’s a little bit. More complicated because there are Different color formats for different platforms, And so one font file needs To have a lot of data to support all of the Platforms at once And they can look different On different platforms, So yeah emoji as web fonts Is still I think, kind of — is a cutting-edge thing, But it can add.

Consistency – and I hope we see more developments – Of that in the future RICK VISCOMI And going Back to the Roboto at YouTube example: one Of the things I remembered that was kind of tricky Was when we would have font-weight bold in our styles, That would default to Weight 700 by the browser, But our designers decided that It looked best as weight 500, So we actually had to go back. And change all of our styles from font-weight, bold To font-weight 500 And it became kind Of a new way that we had to ingrain into Our style development, But there’s something new.

That’s Coming out called variable fonts, How would they help Address the situation, DAVE, CROSSLAND, Yeah Variable fonts can help a lot. It’s a very exciting. New technology, It’s part of the Opentype standard, which is the font format that that’s Widely supported in pretty much all platforms today And variations allows you To do runtime interpolation between different sort of styles, Or faces within a font family, So traditionally you would Have like a thin weight, a regular weight, a bold Weight and extra bold weight And in CSS you’ve only Had up to nine weights — 100 through 900 With variations, then you are Able to specify weight, 154 and dial in a very specific And dynamic weight You can animate these weight.

Changes using CSS animations And in CSS4 there’s more Direct support for this RICK VISCOMI So does that Mean that every font is now going to be able to be Completely customizable, Or are only a few fonts going To be eligible for this DAVE CROSSLAND Well, it is something that font developers Need to add to fonts, And so in that Way it breaks down the traditional wall between the Font maker and the font user And so variable Fonts create a kind of dialogue between the two, So as a font user, you Can customize the font, but only in ways which the Font maker has provided for, And so that means that you don’t Need to become a type designer yourself, but it means that you Have that flexibility that you didn’t have before And the variations are Not only for font weight, There’s, also font width, There’s slanting And there’s also optical size, And those are all part of The OpenType standard today Optical sizing, means that When you change your font size from 10 point to 70 Point then, the letter forms will actually react and Respond to that change, And so, as your font Size gets larger.

The letter forms will Become more elegant And as it gets smaller They can become more legible, more readable And there’s also all other kinds. Of variations, you can imagine, which aren’t part Of the standard and are specific to each font, Things like rounding and many creative options. Google Fonts is commissioned. To sort of experimental trial fonts from type designer David Berlow at Type Network.

The first is Decovar, which Has a lot of variations which are decorative so rounding Different kinds of serifs different kinds of Stroke patterns And this can be used as a Kind of graphical device, Because variations Can be animated, I think there’s a lot. Of potential there, The other typeface is Amstelvar And Amstelvar is A text typeface and it has a set Of parametric axes which go far beyond Just weight and width and into things like The ascender length descender length and A lot of variations which can be used together, To create more readable text, RICK VISCOMI, I’m Especially interested about variable fonts, We’re going to have to Have you back on the show once they’re a little Bit more established, Then we can talk about The state of them, But where could Developers go if they want to learn more about Any of these technologies DAVE CROSSLAND Microsoft Edge has on their developer site a Really good variable, fonts demo site That’s a great place to learn.

More about variable fonts, There’s also the Design.Google.Com/Fonts articles website, where the Google Fonts team publishes articles about type and Typography in collaboration with the Google Design team And then there’s Also material.Io, where you can get the Material Design, icons, font and learn more about Material Design guidelines, RICK VISCOMI, Well, there you go, The links are in The description so go check them out.

Share your web fonts stories. In the comments below Don’t forget to Like and subscribe so you can tune in For another episode of “, The State of the Web” Every other Wednesday, Thanks for reading and We’ll see you next time, [ MUSIC PLAYING ]


 

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Accessibility with Marcy Sutton – The State of the Web

”. My guest is Marcy Sutton Head of Learning at Gatsby and former Developer Advocate at Deque Systems and today we’re talking About web accessibility, Let’s get started: [ MUSIC PLAYING ], So Marcy thanks for being here. What exactly does Accessibility mean MARCY SUTTON To me. It Means building websites that include people With disabilities, both building for People with disabilities and with people With disabilities, including them as Stakeholders hiring them to work on our teams.

Paying them for their work to review things. For accessibility and give us feedback Along the way, RICK VISCOMI, So when a Website isn’t accessible. What’s at stake, MARCY SUTTON A lot! If you think about how many Services are moving online if accessibility isn’t Built in then, it could present Barriers for people with disabilities, where They can’t use the service They might give up and Leave or worse, it might cause harm to Them if they have something like a traumatic Brain injury or seizure risk So there’s actually Quite a bit at stake if the web isn’t accessible, RICK VISCOMI, So even with The Domino’s lawsuit recently that came out where They lost their appeal.

Do you think that Websites will actually have a push towards more Accessible websites, especially now that lawyers Realize the legal risk MARCY SUTTON In The United States legislation can certainly Help and people can lean on the Law in this country to enforce their civil rights, So having rulings like The Domino’s ruling could potentially Help since there has been an absence of rulings, In favor of including websites under the Americans, With Disabilities Act, but I think there will be More to read in that space I have seen and read and Heard about companies looking at competitors, That have been sued and sort of feeling like Oh, maybe we’re next, so there can be some Market pressure, if there are legal actions being taken And if that’s what it takes, To make something accessible, then I think that’s moving.

In the right direction, RICK VISCOMI, Where do The breakdowns typically happen when a website Becomes inaccessible, Are the managers just Not buying into it Are the developers unaware Of the importance of it, lack of developer Tools all of the above MARCY SUTTON, I think It’s mostly an education issue and awareness, So to sort of try and Solve this problem, I advocate building a Culture around accessibility, so that everyone at the company Is involved and invested From project managers to Designers and developers, we all have a part to play in Making the web more accessible – And it is true that A lot of people just aren’t aware of the Impact that they could have There’s also the misconceptions That accessibility is costly and maybe not worth it.

It’s too niche of an audience, But actually it can improve. Things for a lot of people, If you think of it in Terms of inclusive design, the benefits that we Put into our websites like keyword, support, improving Contrast and font size those can help a lot of people, So it’s definitely worth it. And it’s easier and less costly. If you do it from the beginning, RICK VISCOMI. Is it something –? 10 % of the population has Some form of disability, so it’s more than niche, It actually affects A lot of people, MARCY SUTTON – I think it’s More than that, actually one in five people – RICK VISCOMI, Oh wow, MARCY SUTTON And the range of Disabilities is pretty wide, so there’s all Kinds of scenarios that people can be Browsing your website and they might have situational Or temporary disabilities People are born With disabilities There’s a whole spectrum of How people use the web that’s really kind of beautiful And if we can Embrace that, like we did with responsive Design and letting go of some of that control.

Over pixel perfection and how the user actually Visits our website there’s some real opportunities. There to innovate and make things that are way more robust, RICK VISCOMI. What did you Mean by situational disability, MARCY SUTTON, If You break your arm if you have a baby in one arm. Or a cup of tea or coffee, you might hold your Phone in a different way or have to switch arms If you are born with Something like that, you might permanently not Be able to use your arms, And so you have to use other Input modalities like voice, or maybe you use a joystick With your mouth or something And so there’s new Devices and ways of navigating that don’t rely.

On the default of perfectly working limbs and the abilities That most people, think of So there are some Opportunities and people are pretty resilient. They figure out ways. To navigate the web And if we can Support them better, then that’s pretty awesome, RICK VISCOMI That Reminds me of Android Auto, where, if I’m driving My car, my phone, is not necessarily a thing. I’m putting Right directly, in my face So their way of Interfacing with devices changes entirely depending On your situation, MARCY SUTTON, Yes and a Lot of those technologies were developed for People with disabilities, so it’s worth Considering that, maybe some of the things that We appreciate, and we can use every day were invented.

For people who needed it, RICK VISCOMI, I want to go back. To something that you mentioned earlier about having Users with disabilities, or even people with Disabilities on your team, as part of the Development process, How can you implement Accessibility as part of the Process in a way that ensures that the website’s Going to be accessible, MARCY, SUTTON Well, Certainly including people on your teams to be Stakeholders and provide feedback in regular intervals.

That would be the best way. Is to have people embedded on your teams who Have disabilities mainly because they Have experiences and perspectives that, as Able-Bodied developers, we just can’t make that up. It’s not your lived experience. So having that feedback, all the Time would be truly valuable And people get to Work on your teams and you pay them for Their work and I think that’s a really good way to go: RICK VISCOMI, How about Part of the design process, If a website, for example, Is built to be entirely using Canvas or Flash or Something if people have a specific technology, In mind where it’s just never going to be accessible, How can you actually prevent that from happening Where, in the design Process, do you actually make those decisions? To be accessible, MARCY SUTTON, I think Having some requirements about how users should be able To navigate the site should definitely start in design, I mean hopefully you’re Not getting too locked down on a given technology, — RICK, VISCOMI Hopefully not Flash MARCY SUTTON — in The design phase Yeah Flash no way But Canvas –.

There have Been whole websites built with Canvas And accessibility Unfortunately, was an afterthought in A lot of those cases – And we do have some Standards for Canvas that are better than They were four years ago, but you still have To re-implement a lot of native Functionality that you would get for free if you used The DOM or the Document Object Model RICK VISCOMI. Are you referring To the Accessibility Object Model, MARCY SUTTON, No, So with Canvas.

If you Provide fallback content, there’s a method called Draw focus if needed, You can pass off some Of these interactions from the two-dimensional Canvas Which is essentially a bitmap to that fallback content. And try to create some sort of a Semantic experience, but that’s a lot of work And if you can use the Document Object Model which does feed into what’s. Called the accessibility tree –, which is a fancy Term for a structure with accessibility, information – –: you can do a lot and Communicate to users of assistive technology, What’s going on on the screen, RICK VISCOMI, What’s the Current state of accessibility in developer tools, Either in the browser or as part of testing MARCY SUTTON, Pretty Great actually From when I got started as a Front-End developer everything for accessibility in terms Of this accessibility tree that I mentioned all Of that information was sort of hidden Under the hood And you had to go, Crawl through the Dom and go look at what was on The page and sort of just know what was going on there And now we have developer tools.

Like in Chrome and in Firefox, and it’s amazing how much you Can learn about accessibility through those tools? It would be great to Have more but we’ve come a really long way. Both with built-in dev tools and browser extensions, And automated tools, so I think the future is pretty Bright in terms of tooling RICK VISCOMI, What was your Experience with axe-core and what did it do? Marcy SUTTON, axe-core Is an accessibility API written with JavaScript? It’s an open source library that I used to work on full-time And it’s used in both Lighthouse And Accessibility, Insights from Microsoft, so it’s sort of An engine and a common rule set for testing accessibility And its used a lot of places.

It’s pretty cool, There’s other APIs. As well like WAVE and some others that aren’t Coming to mind at the moment, but it’s nice to have a common Set of rules and the engine that people can Count on and they can use it in different ways: Such as in browser extensions and in automated tooling To use a common rule set so that some Testers on your team aren’t using a different set. Of rules than the developers, for example, Because then you’re working Off two different sets of requirements, and it can Be hard to meet in the middle RICK VISCOMI You had Mentioned that axe-core’s integrated with Lighthouse The HTTP Archive runs Lighthouse On 5 million websites, so we can get some Of that analysis from axe-core aggregated To the scale of the web, I actually have a few stats, So 22 % of web pages tested Passed the color contrast audit from axe-core 50 % of pages are passing the Lighthouse image alt attribute being present audit, So it’s kind of surprising To see how low accessibility adoption is in certain Areas of the web and having a tool like Axe-Core is just really great to be able to get That visibility, MARCY SUTTON, Sadly It’s actually better than I expected RICK VISCOMI That Is pretty sad, MARCY SUTTON? It is sad Yeah, it’s depressing.

There is a project from WebAIM Called The WebAIM Million, where they ran the WAVE automated tool. Against the top 1 million home pages – And that was also a Very sad set of results because, as an industry, We have a lot more work to do a lot of work to Do to make that better Tools are helpful. In highlighting some of these low-hanging fruit, Things that we need to fix. But if we look at It in aggregate the picture is not very Pretty at the moment, RICK VISCOMI You Co-Authored “ Smashing Book 6” with your chapter titled “ Accessibility in Times of Single-Page, Apps.

”. So in what ways do accessibility, And single-page apps not play well together: MARCY SUTTON, Quite A few, unfortunately, I mean all of the Basics of accessibility apply if you’re building A website that’s heavy, with JavaScript So things like image, alt text and color contrast, But when we have this Javascript layer, that’s taking over a lot of The interactions that would be happening, In a web browser, we have to do a bit more To support users who are navigating with Assistive technology and using the keyboard Things like focus management, making announcements Using unobtrusive motion, If we’re using a Lot of JavaScript to try and delight Users, we have to try not to cause Harm with those But I’d say, probably the Focus management piece is the biggest Thing that we have to handle because If the browser is not refreshing, the page When the page changes a user using a Keyboard might be stuck in the prior part of The screen, or they have no idea what happened – If they’re in a screen reader or something So we have to manage Their experience going through the Application and that can be pretty cool.

Actually, I think it’s another area, That we can innovate And I’m hoping that frameworks And potentially browsers could help make this easier, So that would be a good space. To try and move the needle a bit to support developers without Them all having to re-implement all of the same things: RICK VISCOMI, Even kind of More of an old-school UI component, like modal dialogs Has its own focus problems? Can you describe some of The accessibility issues with modal dialogs and What’s being done on the HTML standard side to fix that MARCY, SUTTON Sure yeah, So modal dialogs are An example of some of these same Things I was talking about with focus management, So you have a layer that Opens up over the screen, It probably has content Behind it, maybe a screen curtain to gray it out When that modal opens, you Have to send focus into it, so the keyboard user Or screen reader user is in the right.

Part of the page they’re not left behind The modal window, So that means that you Also need to disable any interactive content. Behind that modal window and that part can Get pretty tricky You have to do some DOM Walking potentially set aria-hidden and tabindex On interactive controls and most people are not Going to do that DOM walking It’s hard. It’s expensive performance, Wise and you have to do it –, you know every time the modal Opens walk it down and –.

It’s like you’re doing it. In inverse both directions, So what would be great Is in the standard space, if we could have Something like HTML inert. It’s an attribute that Was proposed a while back, I think it was at Risk of being removed – and nobody is convinced, That we really need it. This is me officially Saying yes, we need it because the alternative Is a lot of DOM walking that, frankly, very little People are going to do So.

What that would do for us Is make it a lot easier to set a Boolean attribute in Html to effectively disable whole subtrees of the HTML Dom And that way when we send focus into a Modal, we don’t have to do as much in the background. It helps to have Sibling elements, so maybe the modal and the Content behind it are siblings. That way, you can just turn Off all the other content, So that does take a bit Of work from the developer to structure their DOM that Way, but that attribute would solve a whole Lot of pain, as well as the dialog element in HTML, That’s another one.

That’s At risk of being removed, I think it’s Firefox At this point that we need to implement dialog That could give us some of this Behavior for free, like focus management having a Semantic HTML element that would tell users of Assistive technology that it is a dialogue, So there’s some Patterns here that — to have every Developer in the world have to re-implement the same Things over and over again, it seems like we should Have some more primitives for making that easier, RICK, VISCOMI Yeah That sounds super important MARCY SUTTON And complicated [ CHUCKLING ], RICK VISCOMI, You’ve advocated In the past, for something called an accessibility, Statement, What is that, and why is that? So good for accessibility, MARCY, SUTTON, Accessibility, Statements are great tools, no matter what kind of a website You’re making, whether it’s with heavy JavaScript or not So an accessibility, Statement is generally a page on your website.

That’s easy to find: maybe it’s linked. Your website footer, and it has things Like what you’re doing to improve accessibility, Maybe what level of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines? That you’re aiming for It’s nice to have that Goal and that target whether or not you’ve Actually met it, but you have to keep actively Working at that to improve You can also collect Any accessibility, tips or information about Keyboard shortcuts or ways to use your website For accessibility and ways for users To contact you, That’s one of the Most important pieces having an affirmative Statement that says: hey, we might not Be perfect at this, but we’d love your feedback.

And get in touch with us And if people do Act on that feedback, So it’s opening That conversation to bring people in and Make them feel included and give them a way To give you feedback, Because a lot of These websites that have glaring Accessibility issues: we have no way to contact them, So you might see some tweets Of people calling out companies because they can’t use the Website or the service, Maybe an update to the Website or application breaks, what used to work? So if you have That statement it gives people a way to contact You in an official blog so that you can act On that feedback, RICK VISCOMI, It must be really Reassuring to go to a website and see that they actually Care about accessibility, MARCY, SUTTON, Absolutely RICK, VISCOMI, So What resources would you recommend for Web developers, who want to learn more about Creating accessible websites, MARCY SUTTON, So many –, The A11Y Project, Is really great? There’s an accessibility, Course, from Alice Boxhall and Rob Dodson at Google, on Udacity, I have a page on my website.

It’s MarcySutton.Com, There’s a web accessibility. Resources guide there and I collect things like Books and tools and articles and things that I refer to a lot There’s quite a bit out there. From companies like WebAIM, They have really great articles Deque. My former employer has A thing called Deque University: They offer free Accessibility, training to people with disabilities; Which is really great So there’s definitely a wealth.

Of information out there Just getting it to the people, To solve this education problem is sort of the gap that We need to figure out RICK VISCOMI And how About No Mouse Mondays, or what do you call it? Marcy SUTTON? Yes, I released an npm Package this week to sort of put a tool in the Hands of developers to turn off the mouse cursor for everyone, It was sort of a Joke but it actually could be useful as a Dev tool so something to pull into your Project maybe one day a week to actually have a No mouse day of the week, RICK VISCOMI, That reminds me Of 2G Tuesdays or something to get the feel for Slow performance, MARCY, SUTTON, Yeah, RICK VISCOMI.

I think That’s a good idea: MARCY SUTTON Yeah, It’s sort of a Chaos Monkey Approach to things of you know, if you Unplug, your mouse or don’t have that capability. How resilient is your design? Can you actually use it And some of the most Glaring accessibility challenges I see are with color Contrast and a lack of keyboard access, So if we could Somehow, culturally, build in tools and processes. To get us thinking about that, that would help So the No-Mouse Mondays is the First experimental version, but I have plans for it: RICK VISCOMI, It’s a good idea, All right Marcy.

This has been great Thanks for coming on the show MARCY SUTTON. Thank you. So much for having me RICK VISCOMI, You Can check out links to everything we talked about? In the description below, Thanks for reading and We’ll see you next time, [ MUSIC PLAYING ]


 

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Learn How to Design — Designer vs. Developer #10

How did you manage to break through? So it’s not stopping you, but maybe enhancing the stuff that you actually do. I think one of the things that I always struggled with is that, from the visual standpoint like I’m, not a super talented visual designer I’ve seen some amazing visual designers that I’m just like. Oh, my goodness like that is really really slick, and I love that and that’s not like my strengths, and so I was a lot came back more from like the coding or a perspective being able to actually implement some stuff in code which they couldn’t.

But you know there was this kind of this deciding factor realizing. Am I more of a designer or more of a developer like you know, I’m not necessarily that great at graphics, but there’s still so many other ways of design that can kind of spread in so really like doing some research and finding about more about UX design And realizing that is really kind of wondered what I wanted to focus on, it’s kind of what led me to that.

So it’s definitely was this kind of process of navigating through it’s like. Where do I fit in my designer and my developer, were you know from the first projects that I started doing you know a lot of time? I did a lot of websites and when people come to you, they go hey. We need a website built, they don’t necessarily say hey. We need some front-end developer to come and come do this, especially if you’re working with smaller businesses and clients.

So you do take on the designer and developer hat to kind of make that happen. A lot of developers are very afraid to learn about design. It’s like, as I get question question like if I was to write an article, the perfect article for the developers would be how to how to learn to design or how do you, then, which makes no sense to me, because learning to design doesn’t really mean anything. It’s just like what part of design you know what discipline of design but there’s still that question of okay.

What is the first step? That’s someone who wants to really as someone who’s gone through this process yourself. What was your first step to say? Okay, that’s it! I’m becoming a designer right, I think you know following a lot of design patterns at that time. I didn’t really understand that they were called design patterns right. You kind of you implement them in the site’s doing a lot of web work.

You kind of take on okay, the navigation menu. Where does that live and you’re following a lot of the patterns that have already been created, and so you kind of learn to explore through that, and then you know, testing out the site and realizing. Oh, this doesn’t feel right like something’s off, let’s, let’s work on how to make this better, but I think one of the the great things that can really help designer or developers wanting to go into design is looking a lot of like the material spec guidelines.

They’re. Actually really really helpful, because not only does it actually tell you hey here’s some guidelines of what to follow, but it actually doesn’t really got a good job of explaining. Why you’re doing that yeah exactly so. That actually is really helpful because then you’re able to understand. Why was this created like what was the thought process behind, adding potentially a bottom navigation, or why would you have a side side nav? You know it’s it’s really getting to kind of explaining that so you’re able to learn from learn from actually interacting with something and seeing how they’re doing it, but also getting finding out why they decided to do that, because I think well so much of design is Some it’s problem solving right, so so many people forget that when I think of design they think of the finished product, but there’s so many different stages of how you got to that finished product.

And so a lot of it being able to understand how someone was thinking through that really really helps you from a development perspective get into that design field of understanding. Okay, how do I get from thinking of? How do I develop this versus? How do I even arrive to the solution? I think that’s the that’s kind of the big difference there as developers. You know you have something. That’s already designed for you.

For the most part, I mean some people get handed things. Some people get handed an ios mock and said: hey make this and make this into android. So then, at that time you kind of become an Android design. In that aspect, what you think is like the biggest thing that stops developers really understanding design. One of the things that we do at Google is we do design sprints, so the design Sprint’s are really great because it brings people from all the different disciplines and such leads together to work into solving a challenge that we have.

You know. So you have product managers, engineers, designers, researchers, everyone in the room together and kind of thinking and working through a problem which is really fantastic because you get all these different ideas and one of the things that I really notice is where, as we’re bringing in designers, You know and engineers, and all these people together is when we’re walking through the challenge.

The engineers are already thinking of the solution, yeah and already thinking about how to implement it. They go straight to that which makes sense that that is their role right as engineers. Usually, you are given something and you have to go. Oh, how do i, how do I make this happen? How do like thinking through problem solving how to actually get to that solution where, as designers, we don’t know what the solution necessarily is? So I think a lot of the blockers is automatically wanting to know the answer yeah, instead of being more aware and being okay with saying you know, I don’t know the answer to that, but let’s let’s explore it together, yeah, so I think that’s the biggest hindrance That can really stop developers and to getting into design.

It is wanting to have all the answers. It’s it’s okay, not to have them I mean, and what do you think developers can actually do to get past? That I mean because I find like for me. It’s way sketching and just experimenting, and so I suppose, is how does the developer maintain that kind of playful space where they’re, not thinking right, here’s the library we’re going to use to do like or whatever widget or fab or whatever? But what can they actually do that allows them to to not thinking about like the end result or breaking from that cycle? Yeah, you actually bring up a great point with sketching.

That’s probably one of my favorite exercises when I’m working with different people to get them thinking of solutions. So if you’re developing an app or so is hey, let’s get some sketches out there get a sharpie and just start sketching out through some ideas, because that really that doesn’t you can really get some ideas on paper and not be merry to them. You know and not feel like really connected, because you spent all this time developing the solution and realizing.

Oh, it doesn’t really work, and so, if you start really low fidelity with some sketches that can really open up your mind in terms of thinking about different solutions. Because as you’re sketching through it you’re realizing, oh like maybe I want to use this fab button or something everyone loves fab right, so you want to incorporate it somewhere and then you realize hmm, maybe that’s not the right thing to do and I haven’t spent all This energy developing or even designing this, so then I can kind of toss that and move on and create a different solution.

So sketching, I think, is a great resource. Instead of people go straight, a lot of people like to prototype in the code, but I usually like to challenge people and go hey start, sketching some ideas and then once you’ve landed on something that you think you want to explore. Some more then dive into code or dive into sketch or whatever your you’re using. So I suppose for the engineer to really understand design.

It’s almost like okay, just start sketching first and start thinking about the thing you’re going to build and the possibilities, rather then straight to the in solution. One of the things I really noticed there was the way really good designers responded to constraints. You know you think about: I don’t like black and white photography or jewtown prints, whatever their responses to restrictions on the medium


 

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Multiple H1 Headings: How to Handle Them for SEO & Accessibility? #AskGoogleWebmasters

Today’s question is from Marcus Chaepelli Marcus is asking. Can we have a clear answer to the question how to handle headings and accessibility? I see a lot of multiple H1’s ( all, but one are usually hidden ) out there on the web. Everybody treats it differently and stuff like the tag. So this is a pretty common question and it’s pretty straightforward.

Our systems don’t have a problem when it comes to multiple H1 headings. On a page, That’s a fairly common pattern on the web. We use headings to better understand the context of different parts of a page Having clear semantically. Understandable headings is useful in understanding any given page. However, We have to work with the web as we find it and a lot of it isn’t semantically structured at all For users.

The difference is minimal. Both kinds of pages can be extremely relevant to a question that they have In turn. Our systems aren’t too picky and we’ll try to work with the HTML as we find it, be it one H1 heading multiple H1 headings or just styled pieces of text without semantic HTML at all. In Short, when thinking about this topic SEO shouldn’t be your primary objective. Instead think about your users, If you have ways of making your content accessible to them, be it by using multiple H1 headings or other standard HTML constructs, then that’s not going to get in the way of your SEO efforts.

I hope you found this answer useful And, if there’s anything else, we can answer for you. In short, article form, please send us your questions using the # AskGoogleWebmasters hashtag on Twitter, so that we can include them in one of the future articles To stay in the loop make sure to subscribe to the blog and see you next time.


 

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Accessibility Testing – Totally Tooling Tips

It’s good. Did you get a haircut? I did a haircut new accent, new new new. Look. You feel it’s good! It’s good you’re, looking better than before. You feel better than before. You’re, not mad. I am NOT no hi, I’m Rob Dodson, I’m a developer advocate on the chrome team, sure Rob just just sell, sell yourself. I mean hello and also uh you’re selling stuff, also host a little show on the chrome Developers.

Youtube blog called alley cast world-renown. Is that what we’re calling it yes well world renowned, I see people around the world have renowned it. I think, okay, all right, believe what you want to believe, but today we’re going to be talking about accessibility, audit, Angley right. What is your workflow for that? Look? Like yeah, so over here on, my laptop I’ve got a site that I’ve been working on.

This is called lifestyle. It’s got some cool like hipster photos and stuff, like that people have styles of the accessible and famous all right yeah, and what I usually do when I’m you know working on improving the accessibility of a site is, I will use the new audits panel in chrome, Dev tools, which is very very nice if you go to create a new audit, you’ll, see that you’ve got like a number of options inside of there, so you could look at PW, anus, best practices, etc.

One of the topic areas is accessibility, so you can just go run, just an accessibility audit. If you don’t, you don’t feel like doing the other tests. Here’s one that I ran against the page and it’s doing pretty. Okay right. It’s got on anyone not so bad, but there’s definitely a few issues that we need to fix and in particular one that I see a lot is, is color contrast, so you’ve got your your your foreground text.

Maybe is a little too light on the background. Color one of the nice things that we can do with the audits panel is we can actually dive in and we can see which elements specifically have failing contrast. So here I can see that I’ve got this like product card price element and if I click on that and stretch this out a little bit, you can see. It’ll take me over to my elements panel and I can actually scroll in to view the actual element that is failing just this price right, y’all, nice and it already selects the domnode for you, that’s cool, yeah, and so one of the things that’s really helpful.

Is you know really this is this? Allow me to sort of quickly identify this node, but one of the things we’re working on, which is over here in Chrome, Canary right now, is actually a color picker. That will make it a little bit easier for you to fix those contrast issues. So if you’re in something like Chrome Canary, you can go into Chrome, colon, slash, slash flags, you can look for the word: developer tools, experiments, oh you’re, in flags and experiments.

You look like to live dangerously, oh yeah, oh yeah, so dangerously, so we enable the developer tools, experiments right. We step into the future, it’ll refresh our browser for us. We can go back over here pop up in as the dev tools click on this little Settings. Menu good, where it says experiments da da and here we can see, we’ve got accessible the inspection as well as color contrast ratio line.

So let’s see what that does so we’ll go, find that same node. That was giving us problems over here. Inspect it and then we can see in our Styles panel I got a little color sread and click on that and you’ll see that there’s this little line inside of my color palettes. This is actually a sea mmmmm-hmm. This was actually telling us like. Where are our colors needs to be in order to have sufficient color contrast? So, since we’re above the line, we get this little warning that says, we’ve got a little contrast.

I happen to know that this is not like the final look for this piece of UI. It’s still being iterated on, but it’ll be something like this, where you’ve got a line and you can sort of tell which side is the good side of the bad side. So I can actually just drag this below the line. That warning goes away. You can see over here. It’s also like updating my element live in the document and it’ll sort of tell me what the good color contrast ratio is.

So I can just grab that value right off here and then go back and just fix it in my CSS. That’s pretty neat, so I was trying this out the other week and something that occurred to me was that you know if, if you use a developer, realize that the contrast is a little bit off, do you need to go back to your designers at that point, And say: well, is this okay for our brand and thing is that’s when they should be factored in earlier on in the process I ideal.

Yeah like this is there’s, there’s definitely other design tools out. There there’s, I think, there’s plug-ins for sketch, and things like that, which will also help you look at the color contrast for your designs and make sure things are not too low. Contrast, anytime, you can catch that earlier in the process, make sure all the designers are on board and all the stakeholders are on board and and that sort of like makes it easier when those things come downstream for folks to implement it, and it doesn’t kind of, Like a contentious issue or anything cool, that’s that’s awesome.

The house audit also had some other accessibility stuff in there as well right. So it had contrast. No, I was highlighting all the tributes to alt attributes, yep yep, so yeah. If we go back to that report, let’s see here so yeah a few of the things that that this site was failing. It’s missing some alt attributes. We’ve got form elements that don’t have associated labels: the big problem there is you land on a control, and maybe it says that it’s a button, but it doesn’t tell you what kind of button right is it the you know, sin my social security number to hackers Button, I don’t want to click that button right.

I want to make sure that I’m clicking the right kind of controls. I know what I’m interacting with we’ve got over. I think 32 tests, or maybe even over 35 tests in in the lighthouse accessibility checker here and under the hood. These tests are all based on a library called axe core which is made by some folks at a DQ so yeah. We we work at the axe, core library we leverage to the test from inside of it and we sort of integrated into dev tools.

You can hop around and inspect the notes. Real, quick, that’s awesome, so this is great again for locally checking on your accessibility issues. What about CI and continuously monitoring your accessibility? Is there a story for that too yeah? Absolutely so the the lighthouse library itself can be used as a standalone node module. So you can pull that into your CI process. If you want to do that or alternatively, you could use the axe core library that is powering these tests and you could use that standalone.

The the nice thing there is, you can sort of decide which accessibility tests you want to turn on or off, depending on sort of the criteria that you’re trying to meet very cool. So we’ve got lots of great tooling for accessibility, auditing. What about docks or education material? Yes, we have that as well. So if you go to developers.Google.Com/live Sunda mental, slash accessibility, we have a whole section there on getting started with accessibility for the web, and it also includes links to our Udacity course.

So that’s like a multi-week kind of hands-on experience where you actually like build stuff and read a bunch of articles and kind of get up to speed on accessibility, very cool yeah. I feel, like my lifestyle, is more accessible, already yeah cool yeah, thanks for having me today, yeah thanks for coming down awesome yeah people should check out ala cast: oh yeah, oh yeah,


 

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How We Designed Chrome – Designer vs. Developer #20

What you want? It’s always they want more and more, but they never use those things, and it’s really hard and quite brave thinks they know we’re going to script stuff away. There was internal talk about how chrome is built, and I think back to that time, where Internet Explorer was the dominant browser, Firefox was just was fighting and like the developer, tools were becoming quite prevalent and Safari was was, was just released.

I believe and Google designs to build a browser. So how do you start in that environment? Where there’s so much competition chrome was released in 2008 yeah, but actually we started on it in 2006, oh wow and the team at Google that started on Chrome was actually we were all working on Firefox. When I first joined Google, the beginning of 2005. The idea was to work on making the web better. One way to do that is work on making browsers better.

So we started out as a team working on making Firefox better a year and a half into it. We made the switch to actually building our own browser, and that was a big, big, complicated decision right, because you know we had already. We had been going down a certain path right. So looking back, I think or a number of factors right. First off we thought we could do a really good job, so that had to be true yeah, but also you know there were a lot of things about browsers in those days that I think created, frustrating user experience.

Yeah you got to go about going back 2006. You know applications like Gmail, yeah Maps and YouTube, and so on. These things were becoming popular and other folks were building complicated web applications like this and your typical browser. In that day, if you were to leave Gmail running overnight, you come back the next day and your browser to feel pretty sluggish and bogged down because of just the weight of these applications and so way back then we we had the idea.

That would be really nice to split up the browser into multiple processes. Right operating systems had gone through a revolution from the days of windows, 3.11 to Windows, NT and so on. Yeah we’re pre-emptive multitasking was the thing OS 9 to OS 10. Could we use pre-emptive multitasking? Could we take advantage of actually multiple processes on these systems for web browsing and seemed pretty pretty pretty like, actually seem possible? If you are thinking about a browser from scratch? Yeah I mean in terms of like the UX of again is like going back to the beginning of like browsers or the browser’s of that time.

It reminds me a bit like search before Google’s like search was basically portal sites and the search input field was like almost the most least important thing, but then Google came along. It’s like Nana, that’s the wrong user experience with when chrome came about. It was quite radically different because I know remember this phrase is a Content, not crime, yeah um, so just making that kind of UX decision of like you know, because it was all toolbars and remember when you install anything everything.

It’s all fact you back, then, is very common to find a user with internet explorer and they had installed multiple toolbars. So it’s not just one tool: Bartlett, multiple tours and there’s it’s great absurd. Screenshots of people was, you know those browsers had like five toolbars and it’s not a lot of room for the content right. So one of the things with Chrome’s content now chrome idea was to really remember that the whole point is people want to engage with the web application of the website.

The web content and the browser site try to get out of the way just facilitate helping. You use the web, and so even when we designed the extension system, we resisted the idea of having a first-class way or proper way to do toolbars or sidebars. We really didn’t want extensions over you really. You know using up screen space when that screen space to users really want that for the content. So we designed things, like extension buttons.

That would be the primary access point tried to guide things in a way that would um preserve that notion and even the UI of chrome itself. We tried to keep it very minimalistic. We you know we spent a lot of time in the early days. Thinking, if we’re going to introduce another browser, it’s got to be so awesome right, it’s got it and what does that mean? It’s got to have like the most amazing features.

It’s got it like have a whole new take on browsers. It’s got to be radically different. Ui, surely that would be the reason why we’re doing this right yeah, but in and we tried many different things: putting tabs on the side. You know fancy user gesture kinds of things, Mouse gesture types of things I mean none of that really felt right, and we can do that process. We came to realize what what actually we were doing and what really would set chrome apart is that as a browser, just works better yeah like creating software.

That’s not frustrating is actually hard to do yeah, and I think users appreciate it and so started to think about it, and what does that really mean for us? It was like all products should be pretty simple right should try to try to come up with elegant UI choices. Keep it simple: it should be performant but, like I said, browsers, browsers, have a history of being janky and not well-behaved, and and and you, the user has an expectation when they click on something, especially when it’s the chrome of the UI and when it’s the the Browser UI, they click on it.

They say close this tab. It should close right away yeah, you know par for the course. Those days was. You click close that click to close that tab, and you see you might see a beach ball on Mac, os10, yeah or nothing happens on Windows. You start to see the application not responsive problem right, but in chrome, because we went with this multi-process architecture. We were able to guarantee that if you click close on the tab, it’s gone yeah and those are examples of like responsive UI that you know.

Sometimes, when we talk about performance speed, we mean like how did welded perform on a benchmark, but a lot of times. It comes down to like was experience, smooth, responsive to the user input. Did it actually do what the user wanted it when the user wanted it, that kind of thing, so, simplicity, speed. We also put a big focus on security and stability, so we had these four s’s yeah, and that was the thing that we just repeated to ourselves: if you’re not sure what to work on work on one of those things.

Yes, work on making a simpler design work on making a more performant work on making it. You know more secure so and really with security we mean making it so users feel safe on the web. I feel in control of their privacy. They understand what’s going on, but also that it’s the system is protecting you from malware and so on and again our multi-process architecture not only helped us make something more performant, but also something more secure, a browser more secure and, finally, it helped a lot with stability.

We knew that starting from scratch, with a browser that might actually be the biggest concern, is it going to just crash? Is how do you? How do you exercise enough of the browser in your testing to know that you’ve got it right? We based the browser on not on Firefox, and we based it on WebKit, which is what, at those days that was Safari 2.0 Safari, 3 had just come out and WebKit Safari was known to not necessarily be the most compatible with the web right.

Modern web standards, driven by Firefox, were just becoming a thing. Internet Explorer has had a lot of quirks about it. Internet Explorer 6.0. A lot of quirks, especially thinking about like flowed yeah, that with the flow, though we had a box model. All these things were very impactful to like how web pages were built. If a developer was testing a lot with Internet Explorer, there would be the quirks that they would code to if they were testing.

A lot was Firefox we’d, see that and the Safari it was like. Well, probably, they weren’t testing with Safari, and so it was a big challenge in a big fear. When we launched Chrome, is it going to just crash all the time yeah? How are we going to? How are we going to manage that? So we put a lot of effort and in fact that same issue in forms like our choice of the user agent string. If anybody’s seen the user agent string of Chrome, it’s kind of hilarious because it mentions ever every browser ever since chrome came along.

And that was part of navigating this whole like does it work conundrum we always taught in software development and UX, add more features, because more features means more value, so I mean: was there ever pushback or was there like a fair, maybe we’re taking away too much From the browsing UI, we certainly ugly launched, and it originally chrome, without an extension support, and even the bookmark manager when was was, was revised quite a bit.

I’m going to post the initial beta things like this, so we we intentionally went with a very minimal approach, but we also really encouraged the team to try a lot of things with the idea that, knowing going into it that we would probably throw away things that Aren’t good yeah, that was the I don’t know the mantra if you will like. Let’s just try a lot of stuff and if it doesn’t work it’s okay, we just throw died, it’s not the end of the world.

We don’t have to ship everything we dry. I think that was really liberating and really helpful, because there were a lot of folks on the team who had different had had interesting ideas and and it’s empowering for people to try stuff. But it’s also, you know appropriate that we, we don’t just say because we built it, we should ship it looking back. What would you say were the best decisions you made and also for two part.

What would you regret in terms of like oh yeah, things that you did, that you’d wish you hadn’t? I mean you can also I’m an engineer. I was definitely an engineer at those days and I feel really good about some of the decisions we made. As an engineer from an engineering focus, you know we really put a lot of. We talked a lot about how important was that we were building a product, not building a platform.

I mean ultimately is a product that carries the web platform, but what I mean by not building a platform is that sometimes there’s a temptation as engineers to go off and build framework and and tools for creating the product that you’re actually there to create you. And we really resisted that a lot tried to make sure that we focused all as much of our energy on like actually building a browser which was very helpful to make sure that that that’s what we did so, for example, we said first we’re just building a Windows browser – and that meant, let’s just use win32 straightaway, all the Microsoft API is not looking for any cross-platform toolkit framework to build our UI.

Yes, one day we’ll bring this to Mac one day, we’ll bring it to Linux. You know, and so on, but like for now we’re just building a Windows application and when we went to finally build a Mac product a product for us 10, we told some of the engineers at Google. We said hey, you want to come work with us. We’d love for you to build the best browser for OS 10, and we want you to approach it. The same way that we approached building for Windows, which is all the UI, should be cocoa.

It should all be native, and we want you to have the freedom and flexibility to both embrace the native operating system primitives, but also move quickly as those primitives change, as the iOS evolves. So, let’s build a Mac focused product again with this idea that it’s we’re building product on a platform for building browsers, but what ends up happening as you do this and we did the same thing with Linux.

What ends up happening as you do this? Is you know we start to realize. We were coding same thing three times, yeah right and later on. Things like Android came along and iOS and Chrome OS, and so our world got a lot more complicated and what we ended up doing is, or is this arc from the singular I’m building a product to I’m starting to build platform things that helped me build that Product across and different platforms, yeah and that came afterwards – and I think that was actually somewhat healthy in a bit it.

To a certain extent. I kind of have some regrets that we built Chrome so much as a monolithic product. So while there is some code structure, that’s healthy and good, and – and there is somewhat of a layer cake, if you will there are – there – are some cuts that some some extra layers in the cake that should have been there. And now we have a lot of complexity because we didn’t make some of those cuts earlier.

We didn’t modularize necessarily as much as we should have. But again I think that came from that that focus some were just building this product and he does. I don’t need to be extra. We don’t need all that extra modular modularity, and now we find ourselves wishing he had a maybe done a little more, a little more forethought on that. What would you say, the decisions that were made that were actually really good to the success of a break, yeah yeah, so design examples in engineering examples.

There was this one one concept that was came up very early, which was – and we wrestled with this a bit. So the content area of a tab right, we started with the idea that there are some. We will actually have some browser UI that lives in the tab. So, for example, when you open a new tab, page there’s there’s some content shown to you, suggestions about things. You might want to do yeah. We started out building that natively and we started to find ourselves discovering an uncanny valley, because development users have this expectation that things inside the tab behave like web pages.

But building that not using web technologies meant that some things were subtly not right: yeah selection, behavior, wasn’t there context menus? Not there and the same. You know just things were subtly different, and so we scrapped that and we built the new tab page using web technology, and now it fit better everything we didn’t have all those little niggling little bugs you just felt natural. It felt natural it fit with the product.

On the flip side, we had some dialogues and some of those dialogues, mostly they were built natively, but a few of them were built using web and they never felt quite right, and so then we came to this. Discover that, like, let’s be opinionated about this, if it’s a dialog, it’s done natively and if it’s in the content area, it’s done with the tab, and then we avoid this sort of uncanny valley situation.

When chrome came out, there was a designing for best viewed in Internet Explorer, 6 yeah, and it’s interesting. You say like at the time. Webkit was not the priority of web developers. Now, we’ve shifted 10 years later, we’re seen best viewed in chrome or best viewed in WebKit browsers. So there’s this constant fear that we’re possibly entering back to the past, where, if, if, if development stops, then users and like the web technology becomes like a stagnant, oh yeah, that’s a great question.

I think that oh there’s a couple different things that happen with ie6 right, so, first off Microsoft stopped evolving the guys and we’re not stopping evolving api’s. We our mission, is to make the web better, and so it continued invest in that and the way we invest in that is, it’s very important to work with the standards community, the other browser vendors in particular and web developers, so that we get it right.

One of the dangers of shipping an API, if you’re the only one, only browser shipping it is that you might come to find that there’s a better way to do that. Api, yeah, a better design and then the end result is we’ll be tempted to ship. The new design as well the better design, but we won’t we’ll – have trouble leaving behind the old design so now we’ll ship, two ways to do something yeah or in the worst case three ways to do something.

If you look at CSS gradients, you will see. There’s multiple ways: yeah – and this comes from this – this this phenomenon. Where browser ships it early, then they learn that oh gee. I wish I’d done it differently and then they ship it that way too, and then oh yeah. I wish they would do it differently and they ship it that. Finally – and so you end up with a multitude of ways to do things in the web platform, gets really complicated and we don’t want the bad develop web developer to be thrashed by all of that.

Right, we want to keep it simple and make sure the api’s work well, so we want to do our do a good job, and that means spending time with other browser, vendors spending, time with web developers, learning understanding all the use cases and being very deliberate in The standards process, but we should still be able to ship something. Finally, and sometimes we do have to take some calculated risk yeah right.

Sometimes we are the first browser to ship an API, but we hope to do that in a way that stands the test of time, you’re looking for pain, points and you’re, trying to understand the why it is that people have these problems so that you understand their Mental model and you avoidable, designing in that way again.


 

Categories
Online Marketing

How to check for accessible colors — A11ycasts #17

Really Really different, Whereas if you take two colors that are very Close together on the color wheel, it ’ s, going to be harder to tell the two apart Now the reason why this is important in web Design is because often times our whole goal is convey some information to the user, usually Through text and images, But if the contrast of our text is a little Too subltle and too mixed in with the background, it might be difficult for the user to read.

The page and that might sort of degrade the user experience. So what I wanted to do today is walk through Some of the process that I use to sort of check the page and figure out if it has appropriate Contrast and how to tune it up if I find some issues But to start follow me over to my laptop And I have a little presentation that I want to show you It kind of walks through how we measure contrast.

On the web, So here I ’, ve got a set of text boxes on A white background, and up above you can see, I ’ ve, got these numbers up here for some Contrast ratios, So I ’ m measuring in terms of luminance The difference between this foreground color and this background color Now on the web. We actually have guidelines That try to instruct us what our contrast minimums should be So the web content accessibility guidelines, In section 1.

4.3, they say for body text: you want to aim for a contrast: ratio of around 4.5:1, for, like smaller text or your general body copy For larger text, something that is 14 point. Bold or 18 point you can ratchet that contrast ratio down just a little bit to 3:1. So if we go back and we look at our image – Of contrast, we ’ ve got these first. Two examples would meet that minimum contrast requirement.

So this one is just pure black on white, so its 15.9:1 Thats really high contrast. This one is a little more of a subtle grey But we still have 5.7:1, which is pretty nice. These last two, though, are just a little too Low contrast, so they wouldn ’ t quite meet that requirement. We can also actually bump this up, though Theres a enhanced contrast recommendation in the web content accessibility guidelines, As well So this is for situations where you know you Might have either an older audience or a low vision audience.

In that case, we can bump the contrast ratio. Up to 7:1 or 4.5:1 for the regular body text. So if we go back – and we look at this example – Here, really only this first one would meet that enhanced contrast, ratio requirement So consider who your audience is going to Be when you ’ re, building your site or application, and that can help decide where you want to Aim on the contrast ratio scale, I use a number of different tools to try to Figure out, if I ’ m nailing those contrast, ratio, minimums And actually my friend Louis, has done this Really cool thing where he has put together this accessibility testing for the web handbook.

Called OATMEAL, which stands for Open Accessibility, Testing Methods for Experts and Lay folk. He actually has a whole guide in here about How he measures color contrast and the folks on his team do that, And so we ’ re going to kind of follow this Guide a little bit, We ’ re not going to use all the exact same Tools, but this is a really cool methodology that you can check out and use in some of Your own apps to maybe figure out your process, So what I ’ ve got here is a website called The accessibility blog and we ’ re, going to follow two of the steps in that OATMEAL Guide doing a sort of semi-automated check using a tool like aXe And then we ’ ll, do a more manual spot.

Check using a WCAG, color contrast analyzer, So starting on this site, the first thing: I ’ m going to do. Is pop open, my DevTools, I ’ ve already installed the aXe. Extension For Chrome, If you actually check out our previous episode, On A11ycasts and I’ll leave a link to this down in the show notes we covered all the different Ways that you can install aXe on your system, So I ’ m just using the extension for Chrome Here – and I ’ m just going to open it up and check out this page and hit the analyze button, And you ’ ll – see that it tells me over here.

On the left that I have a few elements that do not have sufficient color contrast, I ’ ve. Got about 7 issues here: It ’ ll! Try to give me a CSS selector to the Elements that need some work, but there ’ s an inspect button that I often use to just Inspect the element in the Dom – and I can scroll up and say who exactly is this Alright, so we ’ re starting of with these Little anchors up here in our navigation – and this is one those areas that I see a lot where It looks like we ’ re, actually pretty close to having good contrast here, but we ’ re.

Sort of on the bubble – it ’ s, a little unclear. Are we hitting that or not So? What I ’ ll often do. Is I ’ ll. Take this Foreground color and I ’ ll, take this background color and I can use another tool this one That I often use is called Lea. Verou: ’ s, Color Contrast Checker, so I ’. Ll also include a Link to this down in the show notes, And then we can just drop in our foreground.

And that background color, and we can see that the contrast ratio of these two is 3.6 So its not quite where we want to be for smaller text Again, we want to bump that up to about 4.5. So this is an area where I know that I need To go back, and since I also have some of these elements right here that are even lighter, And since I know that this is pure white text – and I can ’ t make it any brighter, my only Real option here would be to make this header bar a darker blue, so that all three of those Links pop a bit more Another thing that we might notice in our Tool, if we step through some of the options, is that we also have areas down here like This little sub-heading, which we ’ ve, got a kind of subtle, grey on white thing, going On and again we can take that into Lea Verou: ’ s, Color Checker and we can figure out.

You know, Are we on the bubble One option if we want, we can make the text Bigger so we can maybe hit 3.0 contrast ratio That ’ s one option we just make the text Sort of larger, if we ’ re on the bubble Or we darken the foreground text because The background is pure white, so we can. ’ t really make the background any lighter, So we can go through and we can work through. Our CSS and tune those colors up and that ’ s really what a tool like aXe is doing It.

’ s actually, looking at the CSS values, For background and foreground, But there are some situations where a tool Like the aXe inspector is not going to be able to tell us if we have contrast issues And that ’ s in situations where we don ’ t have clearly defined foreground background. Colors So, for instance, over here on the right, I ’ ve, Also got this advertisement, and these are pretty common, where you have some text over An image background and the text itself might even be an image right So for a tool like aXe.

It can ’ t pick out. Two distinct foreground background colors, so we ’ re going to need to use another tool. To figure out, if we have contrast issues over here, So the tool that I like to use is the WCAG 2.0 Color Contrast Analyzer, It ’ s, another Chrome extension and I ’ m. Going to warn you, it ’ s a little bit buggy, but I ’ m going to walk you through how I Use it and maybe point out some of the issues, so you can work around those, But basically what we do here is after we ’ ve.

Installed the extension we ’ ve got this extension up here in the top right click. On that, What I found to be sort of an issue here is On retina monitors, if you try to tell it to analyze a region and you select a region, It ’ ll, be sort of off Like it sort of zooms in and it doesn. ’ t. Seem to be able to handle retina that well, So, instead, I ’ ll tell it to capture visible Content And what this is going to do, you can see That it ’ s already sort of zoomed in what this is going to do.

Is it ’ s going to try To scan all the pixels on the page and it ’ ll highlight the contrast between that pixel And the ones next to it, So you can pick out those areas that have Low contrast, While it ’ s scanning, so it will take a while Right, it ’ s, only up to 27 %. So far, so I can walk through some of these settings for You, though, So the first one here is asking us what level We ’ re measuring at So again.

I mentioned that we have the minimum Contrast ratio of 4.5:1 or we can take it all the way up to the enhanced contrast ratio. Of 7:1 right So again you can choose your target there. Then there ’ s. Also this pixel radius option And at first I wasn, ’ t quite sure what this was for by default, it ’ s set to one. So it ’ s. Going to compare the two pixels next to each other, but it goes all the way up to 3 Often times when we ’ re working with text.

On the page, it ’ s, not a clearly defined. The text ends here and the page starts here. Instead, it ’ ll, do a sort of anti-aliasing Thing So if we go and we look at the image of our Text this D: here it ’ s, actually sort of three colors. So we ’ ve got a couple greys and then the Solid white and that ’ s, what forms the body of that character When it ’ s, asking us what pixel radius that We want to use it.

’ s, basically asking us what sort of anti-aliasing range do you want? To accommodate, for So what I do is I tend to set it to 2. That way I can analyze a couple pixels next To each other, Alright cool, so it looks like it just finished. And what it ’ s doing here? Is it ’ s drawing these white outlines to show us areas of high Contrast And any place where it gets sort of noisy Kind of like right in here we can tell that we have slightly lower contrast If we go over and we look at that ad, we can See that yeah we definitely have some issues here So up at the top, where it says developer.

Friendly, it seems like it: ’ s, doing ok.. We can toggle this mask on and off. So when We hide it. We can see that when we get to the body text inside of this ad, it actually Is even more translucent than the header and when we get down to the bottom and it Mixes with that background, it ’ s, really really tough to see. So this is an area where we know we might Have to go back to the designer and say “ Hey, I can show you this and I can definitively Prove that there is a contrast issue here, and this is a place where we need to maybe Tune it up Either give the text a backing, so it pops A little more or figure out if we can use a different background image, something that Doesn, ’ t interfere with the text as much ” So yeah using these tools and using a guide.

Like OATMEAL, you can, through you, can analyze the contrast for your site or application. Maybe look for problem areas tune. It up make sure users have a better experience That about covers it for today. So if you Have any questions for me, as always, you can leave them down below in the comments Or hit me up on a social network of your choosing, As always. Thank you so much for reading. And I ’ ll see you next time.

If you want to learn more about color contrast, We ’ ve got some additional articles. You can check out in our playlist Again thanks for reading and I ’ ll see You next time,


 

Categories
Online Marketing

How I do an accessibility check — A11ycasts #11

So today I thought it’d be fun to go through my process for doing a simple accessibility audit a lot of times I have teammates or even like third party partners who reach out and they say hey. You know. I’ve got this site that I built, I’m not deeply familiar with accessibility, so can you give it just a once-over, and let me know if there’s any sort of like major gotchas I should be looking out for so I wanted to cover my process today.

This is not, you know, an exhaustive review or anything, but this is generally the stuff that you can do to find some obvious high level issues. So, if all the way over here to my laptop, usually the first thing that I do on any website, I’m going to use webbing as an example here, webbing is an awesome site for web accessibility. Usually one of the first things I do one on any web site is: I want to ensure that I can navigate using the tab key on my keyboard and that there are discernible focus styles, as I move around the page, so in the case of webbing, if I start tabbing through here, you’ll, actually see the first thing that it does the very first time I hit tab.

I get this thing called a skip link up here in the top left hand, corner skip links are super useful. You know on sites where you might have heavy navigation. You want to let the user skip immediately down to the main content, so webaim implements the skip link. Some other sites, like github, have skip links. If you actually go to github and hit tab, you might notice, it says, like you know, jump to your repositories or whatever so skip link is kind of a cool thing to look out for, but then, as I’m tabbing around the page, I want to make sure That I see a focus ring on different elements on the page now web aim actually does a cool thing here, where they animate their focus ring.

So you can even see it moving across the screen, which is pretty cool. They highlight their focus States. This is, you know, just about the best link, a tab focus behavior. I think I’ve ever seen really, but I just tab through the site, and I make sure that you know I can reach everything that is interactive using the tab key on my keyboard right. So that’s step one tab through your experience, so the other thing that I like to look out for is, as I’m tabbing around the page.

I want to make sure that there’s no off-screen content that can accidentally be focused so follow me over here. I’ve got this. This material design, Lite sort of like template site that the the team has created and notice that it has this sort of like sidebar over here and, as I’m focus moves into that sidebar right now. Let’s say I shrink the page a little bit right. So it’s totally possible that someone could have their browser this size on their desktop and let’s try it and tap through this now.

So I tab through this write. My focus is over here on the top left or sorry top right in that search field. Now it’s on that button. Now, as I’m pressing tab, though we don’t see the focus indicator, it’s as if it has disappeared and we keep tapping, we keep chatting and eventually it’s going to show back up. Ah did you see it down here at this? Like read more button, so what was going on there? Well, if we expand again, we can see that actually, what was happening was focus was sort of hidden in these off-screen fields was over here in our side nav, and so I see this on a lot of websites, and this can trip up.

You know anybody who’s using a keyboard to navigate and I can come trip up mobile screen readers because you have something off screen, but it’s still in the tab, water, it’s still focusable, so a screen reader might travel into those off screen elements. You know you might have dialogues off screen, you might have side nav off screen and you don’t actually want the user to be clicking on those during that current state.

So that’s another thing that I look out for. I want to make sure that people are disabling off, screen, interactive content, making sure it’s removed from the tab order. The next thing that I look for is I want to make sure that I can do kind of like a simple navigation of the page using a screen reader, so for this demo, I’m going to use the shop app by the polymer team. This is a pretty cool site that I work with that team, a lot to try and make sure that this was a good, accessible experience.

So, in the previous few episodes we covered how to use NVDA, we covered how to use voiceover on a Mac. I really recommend all web developers familiarize themselves with the basics of at least one screen reader just so they can quickly move through a page kind of like what we were doing with the tab key – and this is just sort of like a sanity check to make Sure the screen reader can actually like land on controls and they’re, announcing things that they should.

So let me turn on voiceover and all kind of like move through this page quickly, to show you what I mean by that all right. So I’m just going to use the vo Keys to kind of like quickly move through some interactive stuff visit, link, home link, shopping, cart, zero items, link where link ladies outerwear link men’s t-shirt. I might you know, try and move down to like Lane section. I want to land on an image right.

I want to make sure that that image has alt text. That’s really important a lot of websites, especially like e-commerce sites and things like that, you’ll move through and because they haven’t provided alt text for any of the images it’ll oftentimes just read like the file name for an image. So that’s another thing that I often look out for as and as I’m going through, this phase, you know, did the the person building the site use proper, alt attributes.

I also want to make sure that if there are custom controls like buttons and things like that, that have been implemented using either custom elements or using like divs with a bunch of JavaScript, that those are interactive with a screen reader. Okay, so we’re on this drop down, it says size collapsed, pop-up button. Let’s try and use voiceover to interact with this, so I’ll click on it. Okay, it’s reading me the number of items, and now I want to use just like my regular arrow keys to move around inside of this control.

So up down right, left right things like that, so go down to extra-large, hit inner right. Okay! That’s something that I look for right. Any custom control is working as I would expect with the keyboard. The other thing I know about this site is when I add something to the cart. It’s going to sort of add like a little sort of a like modal pop-up type thing that’ll show up on screen, and so I want to make sure that the screen reader user is notified of that, possibly by moving their focus into that item.

So let’s do that item added to the cart added to cart for items interact without it took our view. Cart, don’t close dialogue voiceover off, so you can see that when the item was added to the cart, the screen reader focus was directed into that thing. That just slid out on screen, so I know the way the polymer team is doing this, if I recall, is they’ve got something in there with the tabindex of negative 1 and they’re, focusing that element just to direct our focus.

So that’s another thing that I read out for making sure if, if something is being dynamically added to the page, that focus is directed to it. So that’s a quick pass that we can do with the with screen reader. The next thing that I do is I try and check the page structure, so I wan na make sure that the page is using appropriate headings and that there are appropriate, landmark roles or landmark elements on the page, because those help with screen reader navigation as well.

So, let’s look at something like Wikipedia which does a really good job of this. So I’ll turn my screen reader voiceover on Google and what I often do is I just opened the the rotor inside of voiceover in NVDA. There’s the. I think it’s called the web elements thing. I think we showed it off in the last episode. Basically, it’ll give you kind of an outline of the page in voiceover. You can open it by using a ctrl, alt or a control option you and just hitting, left and right to menu all right.

So we can see all the headings on the page. We can see that they’re doing a really good job of using. You know. H1. H2, h3, going all the way through the hierarchy of headings they’re, not just mixing and matching H tags based on like the size that they are, which I see a lot of developers do, which can generate kind of like a broken document outline for the screen reader. I want to make sure that when they’re using heading tags they’re using it to basically build the skeleton of the page, so you know we can right move through this content in a sort of a logical way.

So if I wanted to jump down to this, the section I can easily do so. The other thing that I look for again is is landmark elements. So, let’s, let’s go back and look at webbing, so webbing does a really good job of using landmark elements on their site. So again I open my web Roder. I look for landmarks and here we can see that there’s things like banner navigation search main. So if I wanted to bypass all the navigation and get right to the main content, I can do that right.

So that’s another thing I look for you know there are sites out there, which really don’t include many landmark elements at all and again, that’s sort of an efficiency feature that you can very easily add in use, use main tags, use, nav tag or use like you Know, role attributes to create those landmarks, somebody users who use screen readers can, you know, just navigate around a lot faster fashion, so that covers a focus that covers basics of screen, readers that covers headings and landmarks.

The next thing I check for is color and contrast. I want to make sure that you know if someone who might have a low vision impairment, it’s going to be able to discern the text on the page. So again, you know looking at a site like material design lite. This is a really attractive website, but there are areas where I think some of the texts could be a little low contrast and maybe a little difficult to read.

So there’s a really great Chrome extension that you can install on the Chrome Web Store. We can look for axe extension, so acts like a like a chopping axe right, so this is by DQ systems, and basically this is a simple extension that you can add to Chrome, which will sort of run an audit against the page and flag. A number of accessibility issues, but one of those is color and contrast. So on this site I can just open my dev tools after I’ve installed that audit.

You can see it’s right here in my dev tools panel, there’s this big analyze button. So I click on that and it goes through. It looks at the page and can tell me right here that there are some elements which need better contrast. So I click on that and it’ll actually give me kind of like a path to reach that element in CSS. I can actually even click on it and it’ll highlight that element in the dev tools for me.

So, in this case, for instance, this might be a little hard to see, but maybe I’ll try and boost the page. But you can tell that uh that these footer links down here right where it says right under this github logo, wears like web starter kit and help. These are low contrast texts that the audit has highlighted for me. So that’s something that we can read out for. There’s another extension: the let’s see the the chrome, accessibility, dev tools extension here we go so we’ll include a link to this as well.

It does very similar stuff to the axe extension, but one of the nice things that this extension does is when you highlight something that is low. Contrast it’ll actually give you a color suggestion, so it could be like you know. Maybe if you make the links, you know this different hex value you’ll be able to meet the what tag minimum. So, let’s see if we actually highlight these guys right here and then our dev tools, I’m going to go to where it says, accessibility, properties and see right here, lists this warning for contrast, ratio and I can actually click these color values.

And it’s very subtle, because this one’s actually like almost perfect – it’s not quite clicking these little sreades will actually change the text. Value on sites and it’ll apply an inline style for you, and that way you can see. You know what a better alternative color would be. The last thing that I try to do after I’ve done all of this is I try to recommend that you know whoever is building this site, integrate some excessive regression testing into their build process.

Again, if we go to github and we look up acts core, so this is the library that powers that axe extension, but you can also use this library as part of your build process right. So, as you’re running your automated tests, you can have a sample page. You can have axe core, look at that page and flag in accessibility audits, and you know those could then call your tests to fail. At which point you know you got to go back and you got to fix those issues.

Okay, so we we’ve covered a lot, but this is basically how I do my accessibility audits, it’s by no means exhaustive, but on many of the websites out there. This is how you’ll catch some of the major issues that folks need to work on. That can take their experience from totally broken to. You know at least sort of like a decent baseline experience for folks. If you have any questions, as always, you can leave them for me down in the comments.

Otherwise, you can contact me on a social network of your choosing, as always thank you so much for reading so yep hey. If you enjoyed this episode of alley cat, you can always catch more over in our playlist or click. The little subscribe button and you’ll get an email notification whenever we launch new stuff on the blog, as always, thanks for reading