Chris Ashton

week11y issue 19

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.

Why videos on GOV.UK use the YouTube video player

  • Anika Henke explains how GDS investigated 20 different video players for their usability, performance and accessibility, by using keyboard only, increasing font sizes and trying it with screen readers. Their conclusion was that the native YouTube player was the best (and more sensible than building their own), though it’s interesting to note that no player was perfect, and they all had issues when changing system colours.

New media queries you need to know

  • Article by Kristofer Selbekk, suggesting several up-and-coming media queries you can use to cater for all users. There are some useful boolean ones: prefers-reduced-motion, prefers-reduced-data, prefers-reduced-transparency, prefers-contrast. But there are also some variable ones: light-level to accommodate people in bright sunlight or in bed at night, for example. Finally, a @custom-media keyword is coming, which could be used to script your own media queries, such as @media(--logged-in) or @media(--no-connection).

16 Things to Improve Your Website Accessibility

  • Bruce Lawson describes the most common errors sites make & how to remedy them. The main one: too much content, which should be broken up into sections with headings and bulleted lists, and should be in plain English and a legible font. Avoid reCAPTCHA (or use reCAPTCHA v3; a pure JavaScript API that returns a ‘score’) and autoplaying videos/graphics. Use unique text for your links (never just “here”), and make them look like links (don’t remove focus style). Label your form fields, and don’t disable autofill. There are several more tips, so it’s worth a read.

That Time I Tried Browsing the Web Without CSS

  • Jon Kantner describes his experience of disabling CSS, for checking accessibility standards like like headings, form controls, visual hierarchies, content order and images existing as <img> rather than background images that get lost. It’s not just theoretical: 12.5% of users who rely on assistive tech use custom stylesheets. The results are predictable: sprites that no longer make sense, unsemantic form inputs, images with no specified widths, and duplicate elements (e.g. both mobile and desktop equivalents existing in the same DOM).

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