Chris Ashton

week11y issue 13

week11y is a weekly newsletter dedicated to all things accessibility, curated by developer @ChrisBAshton. Each resource is summarised as a TLDR, in case you don’t have time to read the actual article. Readers are encouraged to read the linked articles and form their own conclusions.

Progressive React

  • A surprisingly quick read despite its length: Houssein Djirdeh details several techniques for improving performance and accessibility of React applications. Use pre-rendered or server-side rendered (SSR) React, ideally hydrated in Node ‘streams’ rather than en-masse. Use streams for extracting critical CSS too. Various DevTools profilers help identify unnecessary component re-renders: override shouldComponentUpdate or inherit from PureComponent to mitigate. Split components with React.lazy (or with a library like loadable-components if SSR’d). A worthy read if you ever dabble with React.

Why GOV.UK content should be published in HTML and not PDF

  • A GOV.UK article from 2018 that is still relevant today. It highlights the problems with PDFs (not designed for screens – particularly on mobile, hard to track and to update, and often inaccessible to assistive technology) whilst acknowledging their advantages (control over design, easy to create from many applications, predictable printing behaviour). The comments are worth reading too: some argue that static PDFs are better than dynamic HTML for archival reasons, as well as easier offline access that doesn’t require “Print to PDF” technical knowledge. These are areas GOV.UK could do better at while still advocating for a HTML-first approach.

aria-label Does Not Translate

  • Interesting post by Adrian Roselli, highlighting that for users who rely on built-in translation services in their browser, aria-label markup often isn’t translated. For this reason he recommends tweaking your design to use native HTML (label, etc), or otherwise using visually hidden text or aria-labelledby which do not have the same issues with auto-translating. He also highlights a new aria-description property that is coming to ARIA, which solves the messiness of aria-labelledby requiring additional nodes in the DOM that could be accidentally read out twice. However, it will have the same translation issue as aria-label until auto-translators get better.

How Glasgow’s clubs try to be accessible for everyone

  • Not necessarily what you’re expecting to read from the title (it’s not all “installing a lift for wheelchair users”, writes Kamila Rymajdo). Kamila highlights the efforts a number of clubs are making to become more inclusive spaces for the LGBTQ community, such as briefing clubbers at the door about what the night celebrates (including financial assistance for travel and reduced entry fees for some), and a representative present throughout the night for people to talk to if they are encounter any problems. Others are taking steps to not dim lights to an uncomfortable degree, to have visuals that are suitable for epileptic individuals, and to always have somewhere to sit and water visibly available.

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