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Resources to Improve Digital Accessibility

Introduction to Web Accessibility

Screen reader software is designed to read online content aloud. Blind people no longer need to rely on others to read to them. They simply open a browser and interact with content independently, on their schedule, and as soon as the content is published.

People with motor disabilities interact with online content using assistive devices that map their abilities to their hardware. Some are simple, like a mouth wand to interact with the keyboard. Others are more sophisticated, such as alternative keyboards, or eye-tracking software that allows people to use a computer with nothing more than eye movements.

People who are deaf or hearing-impaired rely on captions and transcripts of multimedia. Many people with cognitive disabilities also benefit greatly from the structure and flexibility of web content.

From WebAIM (Web Accessibility In Mind)

How to Break Into the Digital Accessibility Profession

Perspectives from a Mentor in the Accessibility NextGen Mentorship Program
Starting a career in tech can be intimidating as technologists new to the profession struggle to find (1) the area of tech they align with and (2) the path to become an expert in their field. The Accessibility NextGen Mentorship Program hopes to provide some assistance to those people interested in pursuing tech careers and who want to concentrate on digital accessibility.

From Louise Clark via Medium

Helpful Accessibility Articles

Tips on making your site available to every person and every device: from networked gadgets to screen readers, desktop browsers to web-enabled TVs. ARIA and progressive enhancement. Contrast is king. The accessibility of WAI-ARIA. Deafness and the user experience. The inclusion principle. Accessibility via web standards. WAI in on WCAG.

From A List Apart

Accessibility Best Practices for Designers, Developers

This checklist highlights the main accessibility points, emphasizing concise, “do this” descriptions, grouped per role.

From Jay Nemchik

From Smashing Magazine

At Smashing we believe a good website is an accessible website, one which is available to everyone, no matter how they browse the web. This guide highlights our content which can help you create more accessible sites and web applications.

A Smashing Guide to Accessibility

Images and Alt Text

This decision tree describes how to use the alt attribute of the <img> element in various situations. For some types of images, there are alternative approaches, such as using CSS background images for decorative images or web fonts instead of images of text.

If an image does require alternative text (after reviewing the decision tree), the next step is crafting alternative text to describe the image. Siteimprove has a helpful blog post titled How to Write Great Alt Text.

Designing for accessibility is not that hard

Seven easy-to-implement guidelines to design a more accessible web

Pablo Stanley

Accessibility Maze Game

For people who do not experience barriers, it can be difficult to empathize with the challenges that people with disabilities often face when navigating the Web. The Accessibility Maze was created to help those new to web accessibility experience firsthand what it is like to encounter those barriers. The game introduces a number of common barriers players must work around, mirroring the experience of those who encounter these obstacles daily, and provides quick lessons on how to avoid or correct them.

Ryerson University, The Chang School of Continuing Education

Design Patterns from BBC GEL

Patterns are a simple, reusable solution to a design problem.

The BBC’s Global Experience Language UX&Design Team

Code Examples from Christina Adams, WAS

Adobe’s Accessible Mega Menu

A demonstration of how to implement a keyboard and screen reader accessible mega menu as a jQuery plugin.

From Adobe

Bookmarklets for Accessibility Testing

Bookmarklets for Accessibility Testing use JavaScript to highlight roles, states, and properties of accessibility elements on the page. They are accessible to screen reader users and work on any browser including mobile phones.

From Paul J Adams

Accessible Brand Colors color palette tool

This tool shows you how ADA compliant your colors are in relation to each other. By adding your brand’s colors on the right, you can generate a chart to see how they can be used together for accessibility, and find similar colors that work better.

Created by Use All Five – a Los Angeles-based design and technology studio that creates brand identities and digital experiences across spaces and screens.

Giving a Damn about Accessibility

A candid and practical handbook for designers.

By Sheri Byrne-Haber, CPACC.

Stark suite for Adobe XD, Sketch, and Figma

The suite of integrated accessibility compliance tools for software teams.

From Stark

Writing for Web Accessibility

This page introduces some basic considerations to help you get started writing web content that is more accessible to people with disabilities. These tips are good practice to help you meet Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) requirements. 

From W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI)

Helperbird Chrome Extension

Helperbird is a browser extension that gives you the features to make more web more accessible and productive to your needs. Providing you features like dyslexia fonts, change the font & background color, text to speech with natural voices, overlays, dyslexia rulers, immersive reader, reader mode, and much more to tailor the web to your needs.

From Helperbird: Accessibility & Dyslexia Software

The Legal Side of Digital Accessibility

From the Law Office of Lainey Feingold: This category includes posts about web and mobile accessibility, broadly referred to as digital access.

Lainey is a disability rights lawyer and an author. For twenty-five years she has focused on technology and information access issues for blind people. Lainey worked on the first legal agreements in the country about Talking ATMs and web access. Instead of filing lawsuits, Lainey uses Structured Negotiation. It is a strategy that focuses on problem solving. With this method, she brings together disabled people, businesses and governments. Together, they work to make tech available to everyone. Lainey is a public speaker who has been honored for her work.

The Law Office of Lainey Feingold

Demystifying Disability: What to Know, What to Say, and How to Be an Ally

People with disabilities are the world’s largest minority, an estimated 15 percent of the global population. But many of us—disabled and nondisabled alike—don’t know how to act, what to say, or how to be an ally to the disability community. Demystifying Disability is a friendly handbook on the important disability issues you need to know about, including:

• How to appropriately think, talk, and ask about disability
• Recognizing and avoiding ableism (discrimination toward disabled people)
• Practicing good disability etiquette
• Ensuring accessibility becomes your standard practice, from everyday communication to planning special events
• Appreciating disability history and identity
• Identifying and speaking up about disability stereotypes in media

Disability rights activist, writer, and speaker Emily Ladau