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Gatsby Days LA a11y unconference notes

February 05, 2020

We’re in LA this week for Gatsby Gathering, and had a great time kicking off the week on Monday at our one-day conference, Gatsby Days! Kudos to Caitlin Cashin and everyone else who did such an amazing job organizing the event.

As part of Gatsby Days we do “unconference” sessions, breaking into discussion groups with attendees and Inkteam members. Madalyn Parker moderated the accessibility sessions, and I took notes. I’m tidying the notes a bit and sharing them here in case anyone finds them useful!

How to get people to care about accessibility in your company

  • Push upwards or it won’t stick. You need people in positions of power who are bought in and willing to invest resources.
  • Keep doing the work anyway, building your portfolio. Document all your own contributions.
  • Listen. Find people and follow them. Get tapped in. (e.g. follow people on Twitter who tweet about accessibility and disability)

Resources mentioned

Language linters

  • AlexJS: Catch insensitive, inconsiderate writing — “gender favouring, polarising, race related, religion inconsiderate, or other unequal phrasing”.
  • Proselint: Lint for all kinds of things, like pretension!

Content creation

  • Hemingway Editor: Gives in-context feedback to make your writing more concise and clear.

Automated accessibility testing resources

Testing consultancies

Don’t only do automated / online testing. Test with real people with disabilites, and pay them for it.

Marcy Sutton worked with Fable Tech Labs last year to do some testing around issues with client-side routing and screen readers. She wrote a blog post about that processes, that includes discussion around the testing process.

JavaScript linters

US Web design system on Gatsby? (Called formation?) https://designsystem.digital.gov/components/ https://design.va.gov/

What have been the barriers to your learning about accessibility?

  • Remembering to use tools in the development process. As a developer without disabilities, they have direct visual feedback in the course of developing — remembering to test and bring it outside perspectives.
  • Deciding what “good enough” means — there aren’t any complete resources for what makes something accessible, because it’s so nuanced.
  • Too many ambiguous and distributed sources of information. Because the standards say what something should do, but not how, the path is not always clear.
  • Working with design from the beginning — inheriting designs that have accessibility concerns can be problematic.

Other discussion topics

  • Web accessibility is an even broader issues — access to hardware and internet access.
  • Discussing the intersection of performance and accessibility.
  • Is the web getting better? One of the only benchmarks we can think of for the wider web is the WebAIM Million analysis. See also 6-month update. Will be interesting to hopefully see results year over year.

Amberley Romo

Words by Amberley Romo, albeit irregularly.
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