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t12t - The Accessibility Newsletter

Red cat-bear on a log with open mouth and squinting eyes
I did promise a really cute animal in this edition. So tada! Here you go! I guess some of you might object to the name. Cat-bear? That’s a red panda isn’t it? True. But it’s also called cat-bear. And I love that name. Issue solved. Relaxed emoji.

How do you get started with a11y?

I have been asked this question many times. And like everything in life it depends. It depends on who you are and what you want to do. Some people think they need to start by reading through WCAG and memorize everything. I do think there are better ways. Sarah Soueidan got asked this question and she decided to send out a tweet. I'm linking to it in this newsletter because I think it got some fantastic replies. Among others this checklist from Vox, which I think is quite good. Especially if you are a checkbox-type of person. There are also multiple tips of books. Some of them I've read and some I have not. One book on my reading list right now is A Web for Everyone. It's not new but I haven't gotten around to read it yet. Maybe a review will come up later. 


The book A Web for Everyone is from Rosenfeld Media. They have also published the personas they use in the book. They get a big like from me for doing that. Yes sure, these personas doesn't cover everything. But personas hardly ever do. I still think it's really good if you want to improve your understanding of who is using digital products. Not understanding or simply being unaware are certainly one of the things that prevents us from creating really good things. So make a cup of good tea and do some reading.

A red styleguide!

Anyone who knows me also knows that I really like styleguides. I think styleguides are an essential tool when it comes to creating web sites and applications. Now somebody made a styleguide for accessibility. Neat! It's a collection of components like forms, headings etc. I do not really approve of all the examples. Like the one with where there is a poem written with headings. Not the greatest use of headings in my opinion. But I guess I shouldn't complain and make a pull request instead. Or maybe you can do it? The repository is right here. If you are interested in the story behind it's published as well. Also did I mentioned it's red! Like in red cat-bear!

Who is getting along with who?

Screen readers. For some they are a mysterious thing that is really complicated. For others it's something they use every day. But did you know that screen readers usually goes with a certain browser? Or to be clear. Certain combinations are more common than others. Do you know which browser to test with? There is an article about exactly this. I'm not happy with how little emphasis the author puts on mobile. But good advice nonetheless. And also in case you were wondering, no, there is not an online emulating screen reader tool as this amazing answer on Stack Overflow clearly tells you. You go Adrian!

Never understimate the power you have!

Detecting text in images

There are a lot of images with text on them floating around on the internet. I even heard that it was common for some people nowadays to just screenshot whole articles and send them as photos on Snapchat. The reason behind would be that they know their friends will probably not be able to read it otherwise due to paywalls and what not. Hmm. I don't want blurry images with text as "content". But since we do have that and since alt attributes are still not used in a good way everywhere this new API for detecting text can maybe help with this. It gets me excited anyway!

The face of Scott Hanselman with glasses and the text # excess ability

Clips from Apple has auto captions

Captions can be tricky. Especially if you want to record something quickly and just release it. But they are important like Scott Hanselman is telling us in this article. It was also by reading Scotts tweet about Clips that got me interested in Apples new video-app. And it's really good. I'm impressed. It understood everything I said so either my english is really good or the app is. And yes, I tried to say the word accessibility. It never misunderstood. Maybe Apple tweaked it after seeing Scotts video? 

The Swedish Social Insurance Agency sued for discrimination

When I was on sick leave a couple of years ago I had to deal a bit with The Swedish Social Insurance Agency. At the time I could only use my left hand because my right arm was in a cast. I became quite good with using my phone with one hand so when I had to fill in some forms I was hoping that there would be an app or that the agency's website at least would work on mobile. It did not. I had trouble finding the form that I was supposed to fill in and when I finally found it I had to use developer tools in my browser to make the text inputs big enough to hold more than a couple of characters. So lets say I'm not surprised that they are now being sued for discrimination. The article about the case is in swedish and if that is not a language you know, the Google translated version is ok. My hopes for this is that it will raise awareness and that others, especially within the public sector, take notice and understand that it's not enough to include accessibility as a demand in the requirements.
Thanks Palle for the tips regarding this! 

This is the end of The Red Cat-Bear. 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