Technologic (Human after all): Accessible By Design

Posted on Wednesday, 9 May 2018 by Léonie Watson

Accessible By Design is a new conference, organised by Indiana University, and hosted in the beautiful town of Bloomington. It brought together people involved in all aspects of web development, from industry, academia, and the public sector.

I was asked to give a repeat performance of a talk called Technologic (Human after all): Accessibility mix. The talk includes soundbites from a Daft Punk track called Technologic (from the Human After all album), as a way to present different accessibility concepts:

  • The accessibility you get for free when you use HTML elements as intended
  • The keyboard focus and interaction the browser provides when you use HTML interactive elements
  • How you can polyfill missing semantic information when it isn’t natively available

The talk then looks at the Space Jam website, released in 1996 and still available on the web today. It was created before CSS was really available, and provides a good example of both the resilience and rigidity of websites with everything hard-coded into the HTML. From there, the talk explores some of the interesting effects CSS can have on accessibility:

  • Whether content introduced using the before/after pseudo-selectors is recognised by screen readers
  • What accessibility challenges exist when using CSS Flexbox and CSS Grid.

The slides from the talk are available:

About Léonie Watson

Léonie (@LeonieWatson) is Director of Developer Communications at TPG, co-chair of the W3C Web Platform Working Group working on HTML and Web Components, writer for Smashing magazine, SitePoint.com and Net magazine, and regular conference speaker.

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