Chris Ashton

week11y issue 51

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

Use feature flags to make your website more accessible

  • Interesting idea from Heidi Waterhouse: allow users of your app to set their preferences for things like font size, contrast, and font family, and persist these preferences in a database [or cookie]. Then, when rendering the page for the returning user, retrieve their preferences and give them a personalised, accessible display. Heidi recommends building in these flags for every new feature, even if you haven’t built the part that lets users configure it yet (just return the default value). When you do come to implement it, your UI will already be set up to give the personalised view.

Sony Outlines PS5 And DualSense Accessibility Features

  • Sony has released a blog post describes the PS5’s new accessibility features, such as built-in screen reader, and voice dictation software. Gamers will be able to adjust colour contrast on subtitles/closed captions, and reduce or disable haptic feedback in the DualSense controllers. Well done to the lucky few who have managed to pre-order one so far (I haven’t, and it baffles me why it’s so difficult)! PS5 is released on November 19th in the UK.

Accessible Routing in JavaScript Frameworks

  • A Deque article by Mark Steadman, describing how to handle transitions between page loads in Single Page Applications. Ideally the focus would go to a <h1>, or failing that, it should go to the body of the page. In either case, the focussed element needs a tabindex="-1" so that JavaScript can assign focus. As a last resort, you could instead shift focus to the “skip to main content” link if you have one, but should also use aria-live to announce to the screen reader that the page has changed.

6 Ways Travel Has Become More Accessible During the Pandemic

  1. Flexible booking & cancellation policies (to encourage people to book flights etc; those who have bouts of debilitating medical symptoms have long requested more flexibility).
  2. More accessibility fixes on websites (due to suffering businesses trying to market to more customers).
  3. A move toward contact-free (e.g. more automatic doors, less paperwork, less face-to-face check-in).
  4. Public spaces easier to navigate (lack of crowds, increased spatial awareness).
  5. Increased local offerings (some hotels & tour operators are extending discounts to residents, in the absence of out-of-town visitors).
  6. Events with virtual access (business conferences, concerts etc, which prior to the pandemic would not have allowed participation from a distance)

What is ARIA even for? (video, ~8 mins)

  • A quirky, almost NSFW video by Heydon Pickering, explaining when and why to add ARIA roles and attributes to your HTML. It is best used when there is no good native HTML solution to your problem. For example, a ‘toggle button’ could be achieved with checkboxes, but is difficult to style and would be announced as input to the screen reader: better to use <button aria-pressed="false">Toggle</button> and use JavaScript to change the aria-pressed value. And <button> already has an implicit role="button", so there is no need to add it here.

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