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Thread: What to tell developers about accessibility?

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Number of posts in this thread: 10 (In chronological order)

From: Karen Mardahl
Date: Tue, Apr 17 2012 11:11AM
Subject: What to tell developers about accessibility?
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Hello

This is a pick-your-brains email. I brashly volunteered to give a 45-minute
talk on accessibility tips at a conference for developers. This is not an
accessibility conference, so it's in the spirit of Jennison Ascunsion and
others who say we need to get out and talk accessibility to the
not-so-usual suspects. It's also a male-dominated group where they were
looking for more female presenters. I think I am the only female presenter
there. Why take the easy road? :)

I will be presenting as a technical communicator who is the go-between
between Subject Matter Experts (the developers) and the "User".

Where I am now:
I will comb @stcaccess tweets over the past year for ideas (I've often
tagged them with #webdev).
I am thinking of discussing things like labels on forms because the .NET
people in the crowd tend to use forms a lot (IMO) and I can encourage
better practices there.
These people are not content writers so maybe alt text is not an issue for
them. However, I'm contemplating suggesting they make alt text mandatory if
they are able to edit that part of, say, a content management system.
I don't think I'll discuss color contrast so much because these are not
designers. There might be front-end people, but there are a lot of back-end
developers who don't touch that sort of thing. I will mention it, but I am
not sure how high a priority it would be for such an audience.
I am contemplating looking at EasyChirp vs Twitter as something built to
make up for what someone else forgot.
I plan to provide good resources for them to go home and study.
Keyboard access must be important to talk about.
I am currently thinking about use cases and speculating how to weave
accessibility into that.
What about ARIA? Is that a good place to start or is that a bit farther
down a wish-list at this point - if the dev person is new at this
accessibility stuff?

What else should I mention?
What would be your number one tip to a developer who is getting his or her
accessibility act together?

I really appreciate any suggestions this list can provide. And I always
credit people in my slide notes!

Thanks!

Regards, Karen Mardahl
http://flavors.me/kmdk

From: John E Brandt
Date: Tue, Apr 17 2012 12:24PM
Subject: Re: What to tell developers about accessibility?
← Previous message | Next message →

Karen,

I had a similar opportunity several years ago with a local group of Maine
based web designers and some developers - mostly Drupal folks. I decided
that awareness and sensitivity was the initial goal so I brought along my
buddy Steve who is a screen reader user. He was a big hit and everyone was
fascinated to see a real screen reader and screen reader user in action.
Three, four years later people were still talking about the presentation and
had already integrated accessibility testing into their practice. It was a
nice outcome.

To some extent you need to know more about your audience. If these are CMS
developers using the major FOSS apps (e.g., Drupal, Joomla, WordPress), you
should get a good response as there is already a good deal of accessibility
sensitivity in that community. If they are folks working in the .NET
environment, a lot of the accessibility issues will be related to .NET core
stuff that they may not have a lot of control over. In both cases, it will
be template accessible development that will be important. The hardest group
to deal with will be developers who are working in some of the more
proprietary applications world.

If you are meeting with mobile app developers - that's a whole different
kettle of fish and it will depend on their development environment (iOS,
Android, Windows, etc.).

But in all cases a good start would be to create understanding/awareness as
it will help in getting "buy-in."

John E. Brandt
www.jebswebs.com
= EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED =
207-622-7937
Augusta, Maine, USA


-----Original Message-----
From: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED =
[mailto: = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = ] On Behalf Of Karen Mardahl
Sent: Tuesday, April 17, 2012 1:11 PM
To: WebAIM Discussion List
Subject: [WebAIM] What to tell developers about accessibility?

Hello

This is a pick-your-brains email. I brashly volunteered to give a 45-minute
talk on accessibility tips at a conference for developers. This is not an
accessibility conference, so it's in the spirit of Jennison Ascunsion and
others who say we need to get out and talk accessibility to the not-so-usual
suspects. It's also a male-dominated group where they were looking for more
female presenters. I think I am the only female presenter there. Why take
the easy road? :)

I will be presenting as a technical communicator who is the go-between
between Subject Matter Experts (the developers) and the "User".

Where I am now:
I will comb @stcaccess tweets over the past year for ideas (I've often
tagged them with #webdev).
I am thinking of discussing things like labels on forms because the .NET
people in the crowd tend to use forms a lot (IMO) and I can encourage better
practices there.
These people are not content writers so maybe alt text is not an issue for
them. However, I'm contemplating suggesting they make alt text mandatory if
they are able to edit that part of, say, a content management system.
I don't think I'll discuss color contrast so much because these are not
designers. There might be front-end people, but there are a lot of back-end
developers who don't touch that sort of thing. I will mention it, but I am
not sure how high a priority it would be for such an audience.
I am contemplating looking at EasyChirp vs Twitter as something built to
make up for what someone else forgot.
I plan to provide good resources for them to go home and study.
Keyboard access must be important to talk about.
I am currently thinking about use cases and speculating how to weave
accessibility into that.
What about ARIA? Is that a good place to start or is that a bit farther down
a wish-list at this point - if the dev person is new at this accessibility
stuff?

What else should I mention?
What would be your number one tip to a developer who is getting his or her
accessibility act together?

I really appreciate any suggestions this list can provide. And I always
credit people in my slide notes!

Thanks!

Regards, Karen Mardahl
http://flavors.me/kmdk
messages to = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED =

From: Bourne, Sarah (ITD)
Date: Tue, Apr 17 2012 12:28PM
Subject: Re: What to tell developers about accessibility?
← Previous message | Next message →

Karen,

Here are my suggestions:
- Don't get bogged down in things like "Why accessibility?" Their eyes will glaze over. Keep it short, or throw it in at the end - after you've captured their interest.
- I usually start with keyboard only (mouseless) operability. Many devs are heavy keyboard users and it gives them something they can personally relate to.
- Discuss the benefit of valid code. While it doesn't guarantee accessibility, it helps reduce defects caused by the browsers and AT "guessing" and it makes it easier to troubleshoot and maintain.
- Frame the importance of using things headings, form labels, fieldset legends, etc., in terms of their semantic role. What sighted people do to ascertain what's on a page, you need to provide a machine way to do.
- Show them the W3C "How to Meet WCAG 2.0" quick reference: devs tend to like the "Here's the rule and here's how to follow it" approach. They can follow the links for all the other material as needed. To avoid glazing eyes, do this instead of trying to go through ALL THE THINGS.

Hope this helps!
sb

Sarah E. Bourne
Director of Assistive Technology &
Mass.Gov Chief Technology Strategist
Information Technology Division
Commonwealth of Massachusetts
1 Ashburton Pl. rm 1601 Boston MA 02108
617-626-4502
= EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED =
http://www.mass.gov/itd

From: Birkir R. Gunnarsson
Date: Tue, Apr 17 2012 12:42PM
Subject: Re: What to tell developers about accessibility?
← Previous message | Next message →

Hi

I recently did such a presentation (or set of presentations) in
Iceland, created in large part by assistance from the good people on
this list.
I will post it from my other computer in a response to this tonight.
(hyes, I should keep my files synchronized I know, but then, I should
also eat healthy and exercise every day *grin*).
What I used in my presentations were YouTube videos of the points I
wanted to emphasize.
A short one from the W3C on why accessibility (I think it is not up
yet on their website, but Shawn Henry sent it to me). The video is 25
mins, but I only played the first 2 or 3, it gies you some stats and
marketting stuff (of course web accessibility specific).
I showed a 2 min video on the importance of form labels, a guy created
it and reviewed it with Voiceover.
I played at the end one of the Web Accessibility Toolbar use (about 3
to 4 mins).
I coverred a few main areas, organization/structured, labelling of
form and buttons, alt text, web page title and its importance,
mentioned CAPTCHAS and area landmarks. I did not have time for moe (in
my view one could create a pretty good 3-hour accessibility workshop).
The one thing I emphasized time and again was for them to download and
use one of the accessibility toolbars, just run them quickly and ask
me questions about errors they got consistently.
I was offerred a part time developer/accessibility compliance job
after the lecture, so it must have gone decently.
I will post my slides in a reply later, if the attachment does not
come through I'll email them to you directly.
Anyone may feel free to use all or part of any slide or concept, and I
don't really care about credits to be honest.
Cheers
-B

On 4/17/12, Bourne, Sarah (ITD) < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > wrote:
> Karen,
>
> Here are my suggestions:
> - Don't get bogged down in things like "Why accessibility?" Their eyes will
> glaze over. Keep it short, or throw it in at the end - after you've captured
> their interest.
> - I usually start with keyboard only (mouseless) operability. Many devs are
> heavy keyboard users and it gives them something they can personally relate
> to.
> - Discuss the benefit of valid code. While it doesn't guarantee
> accessibility, it helps reduce defects caused by the browsers and AT
> "guessing" and it makes it easier to troubleshoot and maintain.
> - Frame the importance of using things headings, form labels, fieldset
> legends, etc., in terms of their semantic role. What sighted people do to
> ascertain what's on a page, you need to provide a machine way to do.
> - Show them the W3C "How to Meet WCAG 2.0" quick reference: devs tend to
> like the "Here's the rule and here's how to follow it" approach. They can
> follow the links for all the other material as needed. To avoid glazing
> eyes, do this instead of trying to go through ALL THE THINGS.
>
> Hope this helps!
> sb
>
> Sarah E. Bourne
> Director of Assistive Technology &
> Mass.Gov Chief Technology Strategist
> Information Technology Division
> Commonwealth of Massachusetts
> 1 Ashburton Pl. rm 1601 Boston MA 02108
> 617-626-4502
> = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED =
> http://www.mass.gov/itd
> > > >

From: Ranti Junus
Date: Tue, Apr 17 2012 1:05PM
Subject: Re: What to tell developers about accessibility?
← Previous message | Next message →

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From: November Samnee
Date: Tue, Apr 17 2012 1:19PM
Subject: Re: What to tell developers about accessibility?
← Previous message | Next message →

In my organization I do start developer education with a "Why" section, but
we have some pretty specific instances to talk about that a more general
audience may not. The big takeaway is standards, but I do also review who
might use what assistive technologies in a persona-type format. (I come
from user experience, and it makes sense to me to talk about how certain
coding techniques will help a specific type of user.) Developers seem to
respond well to video from Trace Research Center that demos JAWS (
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VvWCnFjAGgo - starting at 3:47 to 6:00). My
presentation includes some code samples, a take-away with developer
resources, and an mention of WAVE.

I love the keyboard as a way to hook developers, Sarah! Now I'm thinking of
doing some retooling...

November Samnee

On Tue, Apr 17, 2012 at 1:28 PM, Bourne, Sarah (ITD) <
= EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > wrote:

> Karen,
>
> Here are my suggestions:
> - Don't get bogged down in things like "Why accessibility?" Their eyes
> will glaze over. Keep it short, or throw it in at the end - after you've
> captured their interest.
> - I usually start with keyboard only (mouseless) operability. Many devs
> are heavy keyboard users and it gives them something they can personally
> relate to.
> - Discuss the benefit of valid code. While it doesn't guarantee
> accessibility, it helps reduce defects caused by the browsers and AT
> "guessing" and it makes it easier to troubleshoot and maintain.
> - Frame the importance of using things headings, form labels, fieldset
> legends, etc., in terms of their semantic role. What sighted people do to
> ascertain what's on a page, you need to provide a machine way to do.
> - Show them the W3C "How to Meet WCAG 2.0" quick reference: devs tend to
> like the "Here's the rule and here's how to follow it" approach. They can
> follow the links for all the other material as needed. To avoid glazing
> eyes, do this instead of trying to go through ALL THE THINGS.
>
> Hope this helps!
> sb
>
> Sarah E. Bourne
> Director of Assistive Technology &
> Mass.Gov Chief Technology Strategist
> Information Technology Division
> Commonwealth of Massachusetts
> 1 Ashburton Pl. rm 1601 Boston MA 02108
> 617-626-4502
> = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED =
> http://www.mass.gov/itd
> > > >

From: Karen Mardahl
Date: Tue, Apr 17 2012 1:41PM
Subject: Re: What to tell developers about accessibility?
← Previous message | Next message →

Thank you, John, Sarah, Birkir, Ranti, November!

These are super replies. I really like the keyboard starting point. That
makes a lot of sense thinking of developers I have known over the years.
The background of these people is a bit varied so I need to watch where I
go and where I focus. I'll be sorting that out as I gather my material. I
must add that one other focus I really like is the "moral" of a series of
blog posts Karl Groves recently wrote. He pointed out how he aims to do top
quality work and from that, all things flow, so to speak. (My
paraphrasing.) Somehow, I plan to squeeze in that idea as a guiding
philosophy: the standards, the quality.

I'm giving the talk May 10 here in Copenhagen. I'll share my final results
with the list.

Thanks for your support. That's half the battle!

Regards, Karen Mardahl

On Tue, Apr 17, 2012 at 7:11 PM, Karen Mardahl < = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > wrote:

> Hello
>
> This is a pick-your-brains email. I brashly volunteered to give a
> 45-minute talk on accessibility tips at a conference for developers. This
> is not an accessibility conference, so it's in the spirit of Jennison
> Ascunsion and others who say we need to get out and talk accessibility to
> the not-so-usual suspects. It's also a male-dominated group where they were
> looking for more female presenters. I think I am the only female presenter
> there. Why take the easy road? :)
>
> I will be presenting as a technical communicator who is the go-between
> between Subject Matter Experts (the developers) and the "User".
>
> Where I am now:
> I will comb @stcaccess tweets over the past year for ideas (I've often
> tagged them with #webdev).
> I am thinking of discussing things like labels on forms because the .NET
> people in the crowd tend to use forms a lot (IMO) and I can encourage
> better practices there.
> These people are not content writers so maybe alt text is not an issue for
> them. However, I'm contemplating suggesting they make alt text mandatory if
> they are able to edit that part of, say, a content management system.
> I don't think I'll discuss color contrast so much because these are not
> designers. There might be front-end people, but there are a lot of back-end
> developers who don't touch that sort of thing. I will mention it, but I am
> not sure how high a priority it would be for such an audience.
> I am contemplating looking at EasyChirp vs Twitter as something built to
> make up for what someone else forgot.
> I plan to provide good resources for them to go home and study.
> Keyboard access must be important to talk about.
> I am currently thinking about use cases and speculating how to weave
> accessibility into that.
> What about ARIA? Is that a good place to start or is that a bit farther
> down a wish-list at this point - if the dev person is new at this
> accessibility stuff?
>
> What else should I mention?
> What would be your number one tip to a developer who is getting his or her
> accessibility act together?
>
> I really appreciate any suggestions this list can provide. And I always
> credit people in my slide notes!
>
> Thanks!
>
> Regards, Karen Mardahl
> http://flavors.me/kmdk
>

From: Elle
Date: Tue, Apr 17 2012 2:37PM
Subject: Re: What to tell developers about accessibility?
← Previous message | Next message →

All of these suggestions are excellent, and mine are not new to the list.
The ones that I use when making the case with development teams about what
accessible code does for a project are:


1. Standards = Valid code streamlines development costs, reduces
cross-browser issues, optimizes for device independence, future proofs code

2. .NET = If .NET guys, I'd talk about MVC (ASP.NET MVC4, for example)
and how it integrates with existing frameworks, creating a clean separation
between presentation and behavior

3. Keyboard access = A fundamental way to improve accessibility for a
site. This might be helpful to tie to mobile user experiences, too.

4. Semantic Markup = Accessibility can be woven into much of this
discussion, especially if you include role, state, behavior of elements.

5. Empathy Awareness = I am using a disabled veteran friend in my next
talk (perhaps pre-recorded) to demonstrate the need for keyboard access
with a real life example.


Cheers,
Elle

From: Barry Hill
Date: Tue, Apr 17 2012 2:42PM
Subject: Re: What to tell developers about accessibility?
← Previous message | Next message →

Hi Karen

I did a similar 2 hour presentation for 75 developers a few weeks ago with a
friend who is an accessibility/usability expert. The way we did it was like
this:

1. In the weeks before, I researched and found half a dozen sites with
different access issues.
2. For each issue, I found a site that didn't have the same issue.
3. In the presentation, I, as a blind screen reader user, showed how I
struggle with poor access on one site giving a running commentary on what I
was trying to do.
4. Then my partner explained in developer jargon what was wrong and what
could be done.
5. Next, in most cases, I went to the good site to demonstrate how it could
be done right.
6. We went through a few sites this way and finished with a Q and A.

We used a projector so that everyone could see what I was doing and hooked
Jaws up to the PA system.

Some of the 'bad' sites had several issues, so it wasn't skipping all over
the net to demonstrate things that can easily be found on one site.

The presentation went down very well. The event organisers said that at
most events, they get several people leaving at the break, but everyone
stayed until the end with ours. I had some great tweets during and after
the presentation. Most people who attended said it was a very effective
demonstration.

For me, the two most important access points are proper use of headings and
correctly lab led alt tags and form fields.

Cheers

Barry

From: Alistair Duggin
Date: Tue, Apr 17 2012 3:28PM
Subject: Re: What to tell developers about accessibility?
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Hi Karen,

I'm a developer and have recently begun blogging as a means of raising
other developers' awareness of accessibility.

You may find some of the content and links in my blog useful.

My approach so far has been:

1. Explain why interoperability and accessibility matters, how to
approach it as a developer (progressive enhancement) and tests a
developer can do to check there web pages
http://alistairduggin.co.uk/blog/accessibile-interoperable-webpage-1/

2. Blogs for keeping up to date with accessibility - including lots of
technical ones.
http://alistairduggin.co.uk/blog/accessibility-blogs/

3. Personas to help teach accessibility. Developers are more likely to
respond if they can see how people can be affected by their
inaccessible web pages.
http://alistairduggin.co.uk/blog/using-personas-to-teach-accessibility/

4. Screen reader demos and research. Again to set context and details
of how to use a screen reader for testing.
http://alistairduggin.co.uk/blog/screenreader-resources/

5. Examples of common accessibility issues caused by code - and how to
fix them:
http://alistairduggin.co.uk/blog/quick-accessibility-and-usability-improvements-to-a-blog/

Hope that helps

Cheers,
Alistair