RRU 098: Accessibility Made Easy with Brittany Feenstra

00:00 45:36
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Brittany is a software engineer for Formidable Labs. She’s a team lead for some client work and likes to poke around in their open-source stuff in her free time. Last year she gave a talk at ReactConf called ‘Accessibility is a Marathon, Not a Sprint’. She talks about her background and how she came to specialize in accessibility. Brittany believes there are a lot of small things you can do to make your website more accessible, and that following best practices in accessibility makes the website easier to navigate for the able-bodied as well. She emphasizes that having accessibility in mind from the get-go will make your website more organized overall and that making things more accessible is as easy as starting with semantic HTML. Brittany and Charles discuss the moral responsibility for businesses to make their website accessible and whose responsibility it is to enforce accessibility. Brittany feels that accessibility really isn’t that hard, but people just don’t know what it looks like or where to get started.

Brittany shares some methods to improve accessibility that take very little extra effort. One of the best things you can do is use semantic HTML. To learn things like what is a header, footer, article tag, etc. is, she advises listeners to consult the documents. She talks about the importance of a good pull request and even enlisting coworkers to help you to remember to use these accessibility-friendly methods. Charles and Brittany talk about using heading outline extensions to help you see what content is getting scraped off your site. Once semantic HTML is in place, they suggest testing to see if your site works with accessibility tools like screen readers, or if you can navigate with just a keyboard. They talk about different extensions that mimic visual impairments to ensure your pages are readable. The show concludes with Brittany talking about how this all ties into React.

Panelist

  • Charles Max Wood

Guest

  • Brittany Feenstra

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FAQ

Does improving site accessibility improve the experience for everyone?

Yes, following best practices in accesibility makes the site easier to navigate for everyone.


What is one of the easiest ways to make a site more accessible?

Using semantic HTML


Where can a I learn about accessibility terminology?

Consult the documents, such as HTML elements reference


Do I have to get a screen reader to test accessibility?

No, there are many extensions available in all browsers that can help you gauge your site accessibility.


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