WebAIM - Web Accessibility In Mind

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Re: Bringing accessibility into the developmentprocess(request for feedback).


From: Tim Harshbarger
Date: Apr 16, 2007 2:20PM


Yes, there can be some value in automated testing. Your example of the
alt attribute and the label element are good ones. Automated testing
could verify for the existence of an alt attribute and the correct use
of a label element. It may not be able to discern if the alt attribute
contains a good description or if the label is attached to the correct
control, but you may be able to extend your tool to provide feedback to
the developer that allows them to verify if it is the case.

One thing I have learned from someone who used automated tools
extensively is that over time, a developer will start using the tool
less frequently. At least in that specific case, the developer reached
a point where she knew what she was supposed to do and no longer needed
the tool to tell her. In that way, the tool seemed to serve as a
temporary teaching aid.

Some other ways of better integrating accessibility into the development
process might be to include more accessibility decisions in the design
phase and to employ more reusable components in the user interface.

For example, all the alternative text descriptions could be written
during the design phase. Also, design is the best place to make
decisions on how the task will flow and what keystrokes users will need
to use to perform tasks.

Additionally, creating accessible reusable UI components and UI patterns
may assist your efforts, since you would basically address the
accessibility issues for that component once and then deploying it
multiple times.