IT Accessibility: What Web Developers Have to Say (Audio Described)


[Marie Raney:] The web is about
information accessibility. It’s really a basic
human freedom that we’re just really
beginning to talk about in the last decade. It’s important, therefore, that
everybody have this freedom. Any freedom that’s only allotted to a few is not really
a freedom. [Jason Civjan:] The web is about
information and it’s important that people can access the
information that they need in order to complete a workflow or get their job
done, finish a task. [Amy Brown:] I think the
web should be accessible to everyone all the time. I grew up with it being
easily accessible to me. It’s how I learned
information easily. I can’t imagine someone
not being able to just Google something
instantly and getting what they need. [Max Bronsemna:] I think
websites should be accessible because the web was
founded kind of on this idea of sharing information. And if you can’t
share information, or if some people can’t see it, then it’s not truly
being shared. [Jacob Nelson:] We all
have different abilities and disabilities. And if we’re all going to be
able to get the same content and interpret it in a
somewhat similar fashion, it has to be given to us in
that way that’s accessible so that we can actually
reach it. [Rick Ells :] Accessibility
is important for a number of reasons. For one, there are
laws that apply. Another is it can
relate to our reputation. And a third is that
by paying attention to it we create a more inclusive
educational environment. [Dylan Wilbanks:] I
think we are really good as developers at being . . . focusing on the 80% case. Focusing on how do we make four out of every five
of our users happy? How do we build things
for those group of people? Because that last
20%’s always hard. But I say that the
web’s for 100%. It’s for everybody, which is
what Tim Berners-Lee said. [William Washington:] I
definitely am really moved by this notion of inclusiveness. I mean, I think that
for me is a part of why this is important to me. But there’s also just the … the sort of … the notion of … having everybody’s
contributions to the … sort of … the knowledge. [Evan Derickson:]
The big challenge is to escape your own viewpoint
and to not make the assumption that everyone sees the
web the way you see it on the device you see,
the way you use it. And so when you’re
creating web pages, that’s the biggest
challenge is getting outside of where you’re sitting. [Dylan Wilbanks:] The biggest
obstacle to accessibility, I think, is pure knowledge. It’s really about putting
yourself in the mind of a person with disabilities,
a person who has … who has no motor skills, has
no hands, has a lack of vision, has a lack of hearing, may
have a cognitive disability. To be able to put
yourselves in their shoes and understand how are
they working with the thing that I’m building or
designing right now? Can they use it? [Rick Ells:] The alternative
is you build something, someone says: “Oh no,
it’s not accessible.” And so you go back
to try to fix it. But you probably have been doing
the wrong thing in many places. You know, you may have hundreds
of images with no alt … alt texts. You may have navigation that’s
very confused or you’re relying on libraries that assistive
technologies aren’t going to figure out. And so that’s when someone
says: “Oh, it’s too much. It’s too expensive. It’s too much work.” Well, just do it from the
beginning and it’ll — you’ll probably get a quality
product with less work. [Dylan Wilbanks:]
Accessibility is important to incorporate early on because if you don’t incorporate
it early on, you will incorporate it
later at greater expense with a certain amount of
time that you don’t have, or a certain amount of
money you don’t have to try to make it better. [Marie Raney:] Accessibility,
unfortunately like everything else in design,
in web design, has to be done from the very beginning. So whether you’re designing
for your different devices, whether doing for different
kinds of human abilities, all those things
have to be thought of from the very
beginning and built into your concept of
what your plan is. Of course nobody wants
to take time at the end. We’re almost there. We just want to get it out and that’s the mistake
many of us make. It’s like “well,
I’ll just get it out and then I’ll go
back and fix it.” No, doesn’t ever happen. It was the next project. [Rick Ells:] The first step in
getting an accessible site is to work with the management
so they understand the value of making it accessible. And also helping them understand that we can do pretty
much anything they want and be accessible. [Kyle Russell:] If you just
talk about accessibility, it may not be immediately
appreciated as something important to do. But if you start talking
about quality and the overlap of search engine optimization
and accessibility and things of that nature, that … that will tend to get
people’s attention more. [Jacob Nelson:] When I
started, I was a designer. I wanted to make
things look pretty. And you don’t think about
anything besides the aesthetics. And … but I soon realized was
that when you have something that works, it already
looks good. Right? So that’s where I started to move towards things
being functional. And then the beauty
came along after that. [Dylan Wilbanks:]
I don’t believe that making a site
accessible inhibits creativity. In fact, I would argue
it helps creativity. It improves creativity. [Rick Ells:] Good, accessible
design often closely relates to good usable design. And we’ve found a
really close parallel between good mobile design —
mobile for mobile devices — and the simplicity and clarity
of good, accessible design. [Screen Reader:] Safari. Skip to primary content. In page link. Current Students. Future Students. Menu Item. Accessible Technology. [Rick Ells:] So they’re … they’re all interrelated
and basically if you’re making really
complicated sites with lots of stuff on them
and you’re doing… using different methods
all over the place, you’re probably not building
that great a site anyway. [Amy Brown:] The way we create
websites today has improved from 10 years ago. We’re not using in line styles. We’re not only designing
for one screen size. So, as we’re, the developers and
designers, are forced to design for every person and every
device, we can’t go backwards; we can’t become limited again. [William Washington:]
Primarily what you can do as a designer to … to check for accessibility
is making sure that you have good
headings, good proper headings and heading structure,
good labels on inputs, good labels on buttons
and links. So making sure that you’re
using the right tags. And the second best thing I
would say, at least that I do, are checking with the
keyboard, just looking to see keyboard navigation,
making sure that … that, you know, there’s
good focus indicators and that you don’t get the
focus trapped anywhere. [Rick Ells:] Part of
the challenge in sort of the development world is
that many developers, you know, look around and find open source
libraries of really cool stuff. So they find ways to make
things bounce across the screen or make things get big
and small and so on, and it just doesn’t
enter their mind to evaluate them
for accessibility. [Marie Raney :] When you’re
looking at a JavaScript library or a content management system
piece of code that you would like to use, you need to look
both at does it do what you want for the web and does it also
— is it also accessible? In other words, does it do
for you and for everybody? [Jacob Nelson:] So as soon
as you develop something, you go back and you check it and
check it over and over again, and on multiple browsers,
multiple machines. You know, I’ll even call people,
you know, overseas and say, “Hey, can you find
it, can you check it? Is it working for you? Okay, good.” You know? And now they
have tools out there where you can check on every
single browser out there. In the past that
was way important. It still is. We have a few browsers
out there, like, a handful of browsers
that we use. But we need to check it on every
possible system and platform.” [William Washington:] The best
thing that you can do ultimately to check a design, be it
checking for usability or accessibility, it’s actually
putting it in front of users and seeing if they can use it. [Jason Civjan:] You know no
matter how great your site is, you know you may think you’re
hitting all the standards and then you watch someone go
through it and say, “well, wow, that didn’t work out so well.” [Kyle Russell:] When I think
of what a university does, at its core, it’s to not take
everyone with very similar ideas and turn out people with those
same ideas but it’s to … it’s to benefit from a broad
range of abilities and skills and different perspectives. And I see accessibility
and disability as being a part of
that spectrum. [Marie Raney:] I think
accessibility needs to be talked about more. It needs to be taught in the
institution, in the schools. It needs to be enforced
in institutions and commercial environments. [Max Bronsemna:] As new
technology comes out, I think there will be some
that just neglect it completely and others that champion it. And the ones that champion
it will be more user friendly to everybody else. They’ll win in the marketplace. [Evan Derickson:] I think
the future of the web is to be making fewer
and fewer assumptions about how other people use it. We have mobile devices. We have screen readers
and we even have — your web page or your
content might be used by another machine. So, I think the future of the
web is to continue making fewer and fewer assumptions and
more universal content that is not restricted
or exclusive. [Jacob Nelson:] I think
it can be very challenging for certain … for certain applications to
serve people with disabilities. But that … that’s what the engineer
needs to think about. Why did I become an engineer? To make the impossible
possible, to solve big problems. And this is a big problem
so let’s attack it. Let’s solve it.

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