The Web Accessibility Introduction I Wish I Had

Max Antonucci on October 23, 2018

Hello again, past self. I'm sending you another message from a future where it's finally getting colder, you got the guts to go to therapy, and tha... [Read Full]
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I'm so happy to see other folks talking about accessibility! It's really a breath of fresh air to see someone singing the same song as I am! :D :D Great post!


Thanks! I've read several of your accessibility articles around the site as well, we can never have too many people spreading the word about it :)


In Israel and other jurisdictions, websites that provide a public service must meet WCAG 2.0 AA, or else the site owners could face steep statutory fines. Plaintiffs don't need to prove standing, either. IANAL, but in addition to the moral and business arguments you offered above, I think it's important to include the legal argument as well.


That is very true! I touched on it briefly, since the requirements are a bit more muddled in the United States. But they're a lot more clear cut for any websites owned by the government, from the federal to local level. For those, and any site providing anything that's an obvious need (like food) or extremely important (like air travel), the legal risks are a lot more obvious. For everything else, less so but they're still risks that could come back to bite them.


Great article and wonderful insight into stress cases. Accessibility is more than building for the obvious disabilities. It's for everyone at the end of the day. I recently wrote a blog post about accessibility on my website and linked to this. skayhall.com/blog



Great article!

Do you (or anyone else) have a great source to learn more about "Proper use of aria tags"?


I did a presentation on this once, if you ever would like to check it out:

youtube.com/watch?v=zwMu3cnxgo0&t=... (video ....I hope I don't sound blabber too much!)



Saved this for later, definitely going to check it out!


When in need of good documentation, developer.mozilla is always a great starting point :)



yeah I should've think about it! 😂


Thanks for this post, Max!

Small Planet maintains a nice toolbox of accessibility resources for mobile development, including things like toggle color filters for simulating different types of color-blindness, and some quick references: smallplanet.com/soapbox/blog/mobil...


Loved the article Max, thanks!

that thing under the floorboards somehow escaped

wait, what?

the acronym POUR - Perceivable, Operable, Understandable, and Robust

I wish "Robustable" was a thing

You'd be amazed how often these can slip through.

still talking about the thing under your floorboards, right?



If that thing was small enough to "slip" through the floorboards, I'd need fewer self-protection tools at night, believe me :/


Really good article!
There is a great tool for Chrome worth checking out for anyone into accessibility on the web:



I really enjoyed this article, thank you! Your widening of the definition of accessibility to include "stress cases" closely mirrors, in my opinion, changing attitudes towards special education in schools. When I was studying education, I learned that moving special education teachers into general ed classes to "co-teach" also opened up lots of new possibilities for differentiation, that is that catering to students with disabilities could also cater to students who weren't disabled but could benefit from more help or even more enrichment. Web users are much the same. When we enrich experiences for users with special needs or circumstances, we can enrich them for the general user base as well.

Another interesting point that came up at my own job in recent days, now in the tech world, my co-workers are asking each other, "What's accessibility and usability look like for users under duress?" We work on insurance products, and when people visit our part of the app, it's because something's gone wrong in their lives. We user test every design before going to code, but we don't test with people who just lost their house or were in a bad car accident. Serving those people better would be more morally correct and humane, but it also makes life easier on CSRs, cuts costs and creates fewer legal battles.

Anyway, sorry for writing such a lengthy comment, but I've had a lot of thoughts on this lately!


Thanks for sharing Max. I'm by no means an a11y expert, but I came across a great project called tota11y recently and decided to make it a browser extension for Firefox and Chrome. It's a PR in their repo, but you can still create the unpacked extensions and be able to use them. I might publish the extensions if that interests people that just want to use it without having to build it. Anyways, I thought it might interest you. Looking forward to your next article!


Hi, thanks for the article :)
I'm curious though, when you say

All in all, I've found automatic testing covers at least 75% of my accessibility issues.

What do you use to cover all that automatically?


Those will differ depending on your workflow, since no tools work for all of them. I know of two examples in my recent experience: the pa11y command line tool worked well for static site generators, and in my company's Ember app, we use an aXe extension that automatically flags issues in the web pages.


Hi Max, amazing article! Very useful especially for someone who has just started tapping into accessibility.
Do you or anyone else have a recommendation on what phases of website/app launch, accessibility testing should be included in? How often (if you do) you get back and check if sites are in line with the WCAG after the sites are launch? Do you guys check it on a regular basis?

Also do you have any advice on how and/or to what extend dev/design team could collaborate with product managers to ensure if sites are accessible for all? Thanks a lot ! :) and GREAT POST AGAIN!


Great article! Love the way you frame things around stress cases. I've not seen that before and will definitely be using that in the future.


Welcome! I definitely encourage that, it helps to dispel the idea that accessibility is only about those with disabilities - it's about everyone, and that helps people prioritize it better.


Thank you for this article! You brought up some points I hadn't thought of before and now, as QA with a focus on Automation, I'll definitely be looking out for ways to automate what I can.

Oh, and keep an eye out for that monster!!


Thanks! That creature is still out there somewhere...but it apparently got hold of a computer and appreciated the shout-out here. Should put it in a better mood :)


"Use while running for your life down the street, being chased by a freed monster seeking revenge" This sentence 😂😂, Great article!


It's funny because it's true! :D


Cool and probably necessary, but it raises the bar very high. Shorter advices might be more efficient at improving a11y.


don't forget to use rems or ems for line heights, margins, and font size!


Thanks for this blog post Max! Very useful 😀


Thanks for the post Max. I recently started working on Accessibility and found that Udacity has really good course for the developers who are trying to make their website or app web accessible. in.udacity.com/course/web-accessib... I recently shared my thoughts on same. medium.com/front-end-hacking/all-a...

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