WebAIM - Web Accessibility In Mind

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Re: The importance of landmarks to screen readers?


From: David Engebretson Jr.
Date: Mar 25, 2021 4:15PM

I'm happy to jabber off-list if you want me to share our design system with you and your team.

Our designers and web engineers have done an amazing job building in accessibility to our components.

My personal email is this one (accessible dot engineering at gmail.com). Feel free to contact me there and I'll point you in a couple of directions that I've found super helpful to reduce systemic accessibility issues.


-----Original Message-----
From: WebAIM-Forum < <EMAIL REMOVED> > On Behalf Of Christine Hogenkamp
Sent: Thursday, March 25, 2021 1:44 PM
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] The importance of landmarks to screen readers?

Thank you very much to everyone who has shared their wisdom on this subject! I have shared all your remarks with my team for us to contemplate and use as reference for our efforts to improve our development process for better accessible websites.

I had completely forgotten about the WebAIM survey, that is an excellent way to get an idea at a glance how often landmarks (and other elements) are used, so thank you for the reminder and handy link!

Basically we are trying to figure out what is the best way to offer screen reader users navigation tools within the site/page that caters to screen reader users' expectations (as some have pointed out, if not many sites bother to use landmarks, it makes sense a screen reader user wouldn't bother to look for them) but also how they might wish a website was coded to make their navigation easier - offer site code improvements where we can. We don't want users to ever feel lost or that they are denied the shortcuts they expect/want for moving quickly between sections or different pages.

I'm usually the one tasked with assessing our efforts, testing our sites with a mixture of automated checkers such as the ARCToolkit and aXe, but also manual testing with NVDA and just looking at the code structure itself for well-organized content. I've been slowly figuring out what warnings/errors in checkers are false positives, but it definitely takes a cognitive load of its own to figure out what errors can be safely ignored but also what errors may not be caught at all by checkers since they are more context-dependent.

We are definitely tackling better labelling for ARIA etc; one of my to-do's that's ongoing is to get a better handle on the relationship between what a screen reader announces and what we've coded/what is displayed in HTML on the page. Sometimes this relationship is not as obvious as I might expect, for example last week I learned that the use of aria-haspopup can prompt the screen-reader to announce "submenu" - which makes sense, in retrospect but when the code has a lot of elements and attributes going on, it can sometimes be tricky to tease out which aspect is causing the particular announcement.

Thanks again!

*Christine Hogenkamp (She, Her)*
Front-end Developer

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