WebAIM - Web Accessibility In Mind

E-mail List Archives

Bringing accessibility into the development process(request for feedback).


From: Peter Krantz
Date: Apr 16, 2007 6:10AM


First: sorry if this comes through like a shameless plug. It is not the
intention. Secondly: sorry for the long post.

I have been thnking about ways to bring accessibility into the development
process [1]<http://www.standards-schmandards.com/2007/rapid-accessibility-feedback/>;and
make it a normal part of development activities. In my experience
accessibility evaluations are conducted at the end of a project. Testing at
the end makes it a lot harder to fix errors and they typically cost more to

To bring accessibility into a development project I have tried a couple of
things and discovered some challenges:

- Many developers know little about accessibility implications
emerging from their coding decisions.
- Accessibility evaluation is often conducted by experts outside the
development team.
- Aspects of accessibility (e.g. visual design, markup, content) is
not clearly mapped to areas of responsibility in a development team.

To get accessibility into the development process I have focused on
automated evaluation of markup accessibility issues. The idea is that if you
can make a basic markup accessibility check part of other automated tests
there will be alot less errors discovered at the end of the project. Many of
the existing tools today are not automatable and require a lot of expertise
to go understand the result.

For this purpose I am trying to make it possible to integrate Raakt (the
Ruby Accessibility Analysis Kit)
[2]<http://www.peterkrantz.com/raakt/wiki/>;into some of the popular
acceptance testing frameworks.

I would be grateful for your feedback on my ideas. Could this type of basic
testing be valuable? In your experience, are my observations valid?

[1]: http://www.standards-schmandards.com/2007/rapid-accessibility-feedback/
[2]: http://www.peterkrantz.com/raakt/wiki/

Thank you for your time.


Peter Krantz