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t12t - The Accessibility Newsletter

Do you wonder why this edition is called the moose edition? I’ll tell you. I live in Sweden so I thought, why not pick a Swedish animal for the next edition? Right! So I googled Swedish animals and well, all I got was moose. So here we are. Not cute enough for you? Guess you need to wait until next time then. I promise we'll have an animal that is indisputable cute then. 

Heydon is doing awesome things

If you don’t know who Heydon Pickering is you should start to know about him now. Or better, you should know about what he does because he does a lot of really good things. Last year he wrote a book called Inclusive Design Patterns. If you haven’t read it you should. Just go and buy it right now. He has also been giving some really good talks. Like this talk on Beyond Tellerand about Writing Less Damned Code. Watch it. It’s good. It's also funny. 
Recently Heydon did yet another thing. He started Inclusive Components. It’s a pattern library in progress and when I write this there is only one component published. A toggle button. It might not sound like a lot but you can dig real deep when it comes to toggle buttons. I look very much forward to the other components that I hope will pop up soon. 

Video tip: Writing less damned code

The new WCAG 2.1 and Silver

In October last year The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines Working Group announced a plan to develop WCAG 2.1. That new version is now very much alive and thriving on Github. It might even be a standard recommendation next year if they keep the timeline.
In short 2.1 is addressing the needs of people with cognitive and learning disabilities, people with low vision, and mobile devices. A great article to get you up to speed on what's in 2.1 is this Q&A from User1st. They discuss about the details in 2.1 but also a bit about Silver. Wait whut? Yea, Silver is the codename for a more substantial update to the accessibility guidelines. Exciting!

How people touch their phones

This is one of those articles that got stuck in my head. There are so many misconceptions when it comes to how people use their phones. And as you might know misconceptions about how people use things are one of the biggest threats to accessibility. Design for fingers, touch, and people is a long read but I would say that it's worth it. The author do argue that accessibility guidelines doesn’t care about mobile. Well, in the past they haven’t. At least not specifically. But with the 2.1, that I mentioned above, they at least try to move in the right direction. This article should be read and thought about. By the way did you know that it doesn't matter for touch if you got fat fingers or not? 

Fix your images on Twitter

Alt attributes on images posted on Twitter has really been one of those things that people been waiting and longing for. Why? Well, images on Twitter are almost never a decoration. A lot of times the image itself makes up the main content in a tweet and if you can’t access it the tweet becomes meaningless. Very sad. 
Some good news: Last year Twitter finally did implement this. Yes! But sad news: they hid the feature deep down in the settings due to fear of people misusing it. More sad news: a lot of third party Twitter apps still haven’t implemented alt for images. Yes, I’m looking at you Tweetbot and Tweetdeck. And seriously Tapbot you’ve been “looking into this” for more than a year now.  How much time do you need? Echofon and Twitterriffic got it already!
If you are using the Twitter-app from Twitter here is how you enable it. And if you feel like you are really not good with alt attributes here is an article for you to catch up on things.

Awesome resource: Inclusive Design at Microsoft

Grid is available!

Yes. It is finally here, like really here in almost every browser. At least on desktop. And you could actually start using it with some fallback depending on what you need to support. I am of course talking about CSS Grid Layout which will help us start doing some serious layout on the web. Finally! But with all this great power of course you need to be responsible. Leonie warned us about this in her article about flexbox and now Mozilla does the same with grid. The problem is that you can potentially rearrange everything in an unexpected way so it’s really important to keep in mind that your content needs to be structured and ordered. I do not know why that article is so long when that is basically all that matters. But anyway. It’s good that they get the word out because grid could potentially harm the web if it is used in the wrong way. So lets spread the word here, ok? 

A JavaScript API for Accessibility

Yes, that is what The Accessibility Object Model is. And Chrome or rather Chromium recently stated that they want to implement it. This is good because it could help developers gain a better understanding on what assistive technology has to work with. Chrome is also a browser which is widely used among JavaScript-developers. So in a very super-happy future this could mean that JavaScript developrs helps to improve not only their own web apps but also the implementation of aria. Cool! Or like Steve Faulkner puts it NERDVANA!

Ableist language, just don't

Have you heard the term ableist before? When I was a kid growing up in Sweden the term “cp”, which is short for cerebral palsy, was commonly used for bad things. Like someone could say that "this test is cp-hard” meaning that a test was really too difficult. Somehow back then it seemed like an ok thing to say and sadly a lot of people still think this is perfectly fine. Which of course it isn’t.
At the conference CSUN Ashely Bischoff from the Paciello Group held a talk called "Sidestepping Ableist Language for Mental Illness and Disabilities”. Now I haven’t seen that talk because:
1. I wasn’t at CSUN and
2. it’s not online (at least not to my knowledge).
But the slides are online and they are quite easy to follow. I encourage you all to have a look at them and of course also to think about the language you use. Your words are important. 

This is the end of The Moose. If you liked this consider sending the subscription-link to your friends and colleagues. If you have suggestions or feedback you can email me or find me on Twitter as @t12t or @kolombiken.

- Ida