Chris Ashton

week11y issue 38

Your weekly frequent11y newsletter, brought to you by @ChrisBAshton:

Making Facebook.com accessible to as many people as possible

  • A Facebook Engineering article describing how the site redesign in React provided opportunities to improve accessibility. Using React Context, heading levels automatically increase as they are nested (i.e. <Heading /><section><Heading /></section> automatically creates a h1 followed by a h2). They use the same mechanism for contextual keyboard commands, to perform actions relevant to the thing that is in focus. Components such as FocusList are wrapped around lists to handle focus and to define up/down arrow key behaviour. A static analysis tool errors when it encounters a form control without a label, and a runtime tool monitors the DOM in real time and visually alerts devs to any inaccessible components.

YouTube Axes Community Captions Feature, Citing Low Usage

  • A feature allowing viewers to contribute subtitles to a channel’s videos will be discontinued on 28th September 2020. YouTube says less than one-thousandth of a percent of channels approved a community captions track in the last month, and only 0.2% of watch time had a community caption track selected. Subtitles ranged in quality, and it is known that some contributors were exploiting the tool to spam or troll its users. Content providers can still provide captions on their own videos, and YouTube is improving its automated captions service.

Going Colorblind: An Experiment in Empathy and Accessibility

  • Sara Novak writes about her three-day experiment using Chrome extension See, to emulate deuteranomaly and better understand the needs of one of her colleagues. This is the most common type of colour blindness, making it difficult to differentiate green and red. She realised that the way she’d been highlighting her emails in different colours was not accessible, and switched to using italics or bold for differentiation. A site Sara used wouldn’t let her fill out a form because it used red and green borders to indicate whether the fields passed validation, which she couldn’t distinguish between.

Diamond: Strides Made in Website Accessibility This Year, But More Work Needed

  • A report from May, which I’ve only now found time to read: accessibility for the Alexa Top 100 websites has improved from 2019 to 2020. 40% are ‘fully accessible on all platforms tested’, vs 29% last year. And 39% of sites are ‘fully inaccessible’, down from 43%. 21% were accessible ‘with difficulty’, down from 28%. An example of ‘accessible with difficulty’ includes triggering a login button but then needing to search for form elements because focus was not given to the modal.

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