Article: A Practical Starter Guide on Developing Accessible Websites

Citation: Ng, C., & Schofield, M. (2017). A Practical Starter Guide on Developing Accessible Websites. Code4Lib Journal, (37). (link)

This article from Code4Lib’s July 2017 issue provides users with just what its title suggests: practical advice for including accessibility when developing a website.

The authors focus on ARIA (Accessible Rich Internet Applications), scripting, and semantic markup rather than typical accessibitily how-to article stand-bys like alt text, and provide not only a basic overview of each of their chosen topics but a brief discussion of why each is important in accessible design.

Another thing that makes this article stand out is that it looks at the actual processes web browsers use to render websites. As the authors point out, understanding when and how browsers give information to assistive technologies to make websites accessible to users is important if you’re in the process of developing a website.

One example of this is the authors’ discussion of the accessibility tree, which tells the browser which DOM elements needs to be exported to assitive technologies.

The authors also discuss the problems of cross-browser capability, the growing omnipresence of Javascript, and other issues, and provide a series of best practices with code and other details on how to carry them out.

With its focus on the specifics of how browsers make websites accessible and its easily applied best practices, this article is a welcome change from the typical rehash of accessibility how-to guides.