I graduated from the Full Stack Web Development program at Lambda School in May 2020. Before I decided to become a web developer I worked in special education, and behavioral therapy working with children with special needs for almost 4 years. It was working with these amazing children and the various technologies they needed that made the importance of accessibility in technology clear to me.
The internet is for everyone.
From a company's viewpoint, wouldn’t you want as many people as possible to be able to use your site and access everything you are trying to share online? The world is made up of potential customers, these potential customers are all different people with different levels of abilities. Being accessible will provide you the capability to reach more potential customers throughout the world. Why not do everything you can to make it easier for people to view your website or app?
Web accessibility is sometimes referred to as A11Y, this is the abbreviated version of the word ‘accessibility’: "a" followed by 11 letters, ending with "y".
According to the React documentation, “web accessibility is the design and creation of websites that can be used by everyone. Accessibility support is necessary to allow assistive technology to interpret web pages.”
No site can ever be 100% accessible but you can do your best to make it as accessible as possible. Any website or app can be improved through accessibility, there are multiple small things you can implement and changes that can be made to improve the accessibility of a website. The following is a list of the areas to consider for A11Y when you are building a new site or app:
The A11Y Project also has a useful checklist to help you improve the accessibility in any app you are building: A11Y Project Checklist
It can be overwhelming to add A11Y to a project already up and running. Try starting small and on low priority items in a project.
alt textto the img tag using the alt attribute can quickly and effectively make images more A11Y to screen readers, for example:
<img src="yarn.png" alt="Ball of hot pink yarn.">
listsin the website. Creating lists by using list elements,
<ul>, <ol>, and <li>, instead of special characters, lists will be much easier for screen readers to navigate and screen readers will be able to explicitly define the relationship these elements have.
forms. A11Y Style Guide has a good general guide to follow for making forms A11Y. WCAG recommends using
<fieldset>for grouping and
<legend>to describe the grouping, using this in forms makes the forms more accessible for screen readers and other assistive technology.