It’s been a wonderful conference for meeting people, learning new strategies, as well as reinforcing the methods I use for developing websites.
Yesterday, during the question and answer session at the end of the day with the Tuesday speakers, the topic of accessible websites came up.
The speakers had great suggestions for how to learn more about web accessibility:
- Install a screen reader (if you’re on Windows, install the free NVDA screen reader)
- Visit a page with a podcast and discover if you can access the content without turning on your speakers, and
- Learn about and enable VoiceOver on your Mac
Other suggestions included visiting The Accessibility Project, WebAIM, or Knowbility websites to read their resources and tutorials and learn about workshops. Or purchase the latest Rosenfeld Media book, A Web for Everyone by Whitney Quesenbery.
They’re all great ways to learn about web accessibility.
And I’ve shared those suggestions with my colleagues, Meetup members, and former co-workers.
But for whatever reason, they never took the time to do it.
It wasn’t that they didn’t want to learn more about web accessibility. They’re all web professionals who truly care about creating wonderful experiences for users.
The issue was finding the time.
Scheduling time to download and install a screen reader, enable VoiceOver, or reading a book they purchased; it just didn’t happen.
I knew there had to be a quick way to help my colleagues and friends understand the barriers we create when we don’t consider accessibility as we build websites.
What do I tell people now?
Disconnect your mouse.
Navigate websites with a keyboard. Only use the tab, spacebar, Enter and arrow keys to move about a website. Don’t use the touchpad.
Do it for an hour. Or for ten minutes.
You’ll be surprised at what you discover.
The experience will make you think how you can create better keyboard navigation so more people can easily access your websites.
Last year, I shared five ways to learn about web accessibility for Global Accessibility Awareness Day. I’ve heard there’s another GAAD event this year, but their website hasn’t been updated for 2014. I’ll share more info when their 2014 site is published.
I’d love to hear about your experience navigating with a keyboard; share what you discovered in the comments. What steps have you taken to learn more about accessibility?