#BbWorld15 + DevCon – Accessible Workflows with Modern Web Frameworks

Speakers: JoAnna Hunt, Accessibility Manager, & Mindy Whitsitt, Software Engineer, Blackboard Inc.

As technology makes its way into everyday life, it’s more important than ever to build tools that work for users of all abilities. This does not mean avoiding the latest and greatest frameworks and methods; it just means thinking about things a little differently. In this session we will provide an overview of what it means to be fully accessible in today’s technology landscape. We will show you a working example from our new Blackboard Learn interface and demonstrate how easy it is to accomplish universal access if you make accessibility a priority from the beginning.

FullSizeRender (6)Notes:
  • Defining Disability = An impairment that significantly impact major life activities, seeing, hearing, learning, thinking, communicating, working, concentrating, etc.
  • There are approximately 1 billion people worldwide with some form of disability.
  • 33% of 20 year old workers will become disabled before reaching retirement age.
  • About 13% of students have a disability but only 11% report.  60-80% do not disclose their disability.
  • What can you do? It’s important to see where accessibility fits.  It belongs in all parts of product development: plan > design > code > test & fix > release.
  • Planning for accessibility in the beginning and up front, saves time, executes well thought out solutions, and creates equal access and experiences.
  • Attention to accessibility is involved in all aspects of user experience design such as: moving through navigation, semantic page structure, access controls, controlling focus, accessing links, and alerting users to states, field labeling and tab order.  Basically, all user workflows.
  • Color contrast and aesthetics is important.  Color can’t be the only indication of a setting or display indicator.  You can still have good aesthetics AND accessibility.
  • HTML Structure is important and following best practices in coding is essential.  For example <h1> vs <p>.
  • <h1 class=”heading”>Add Event</h1> is a GOOD example.
  • <p class=”heading” style=”font-size: 30px; font-family: ‘Noto Serif’, serif; margin-bottom: 16px;”>Add Event</p> is a BAD example of a simple heading.  While it appears the same for a sighted user, it is not clear for a limited sight user.
  • Proper labels are important for limited sight users as to how certain tools function.  These labels are helpful for users with screen readers where interpretation of icons or other visuals is “assumed”.
  • It’s also important to hide certain areas of the page from screen readers when they are say hidden to sighted users.

More about accessibility in Blackboard can be found on the “Commitment to Accessibility” page.


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