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The Accessibility Newsletter

A dark brown raccoon baby with glittering eyes is standning on green grass while lifting up its little paw.
Look how eager this little raccoon is. It wants to dig into all the exciting things happening in the world. Or maybe it just wants to steal a snack. Lets do both!

Podcasts: 13 letters and Contra

I listen to a lot of podcasts and recently two new podcasts have caught my ears.
The first one is 13 Letters from Be My Eyes. I can especially recommend the two episodes where they interview Mike Shebanek. Part one is named Who Invented VoiceOver? And Part two: Accessibility Should Be Free. To be more specific. Don't miss the history of when Apple decided to include VoiceOver into the OS and the discussion around it!
The other podcast is Contra, a podcast about disability, design justice and the lifeworld. This podcast actually started already in 2018. It had a little break though during the fall of 2019 but is now back with new interesting episodes.

The big directive for services and products

It's not that new. I know. But since I haven't covered it in any newsletter so far I just have to write a little about it. I will most likely mention it again.
What is it? It's the EU directive 2019/882 on the accessibility requirements for products and services. Yes, there were another directive on the accessibility of websites and mobile applications. This is NOT that one.
What's the difference between the two? The so-called web directive was for websites and mobile applications and it was mainly for the public sector. This directive covers a lot more. It's both physical and digital. It covers things like e-commerce, trains, banks and e-books. And it will regulate both the public and the private sector. Finally something for the private sector, right? Right!
I hope that I will be able to link to better resources in the future. Because yes, I understand that not everyone is up for reading forty plus pages of EU directive.

Virtual CSUN Conference: Sign up to watch Deque sessions live

Lets talk about placeholders

If we look at the HTML specification from WCAG it says that: "The placeholder attribute should not be used as an alternative to a label." Still, there are multiple forms out there using placeholders instead of labels. That's why I'm now linking to a couple of articles that can be useful next time you find yourself debating this. And please do debate it instead of just keeping up with this bad design pattern!
First out is Eric's excellent article Don’t Use The Placeholder Attribute. Then we have Placeholders in Form Fields Are Harmful from NN Group which also include a short video. And finally an article from Deque called The Anatomy of Accessible Forms: The Problem with Placeholders.

Accessibility and the JavaScript framework Vue

If you are working with Vue you better keep your eyes on Vue A11y, the new community project to improve web accessibility. Not much there right now but hopefully soon. Maybe you can help?
For more resources right now on Vue and acessibility take a look at Awesome Accessibility Vue.js on Github.

A11y info in the spec

Have you noticed that there is something called Accessibility considerations in the HTML specification? You can see an example of it here for the button element. There are two links there, one for authors and one for implementors. If you are someone who writes HTML you may take a look at the link for authors. It states what implicit aria role the element has. In the case of button it's button (duh!). But it also states what roles may be used. Cause not every role can be used with every element.
This might be useful if you are building something complicated in HTML that requires the use of aria roles. (That is of course if there are no suitable native HTML element.)
If you are into this POURing ARIA into the HTML element specs by Carolyn explains more.

Video tip: Accessibility is a Hydra by EJ Mason

Inclusive Ads

Katie has written an article named ‘The voice of blind people hasn't been heard’: inside the fight for audio-described ads.
And yes, I hear you. Ads are not your thing. Maybe you are actively blocking them in your browser right now. But forget about that and read the article anyways. It brings up a lot of great points. Among others how small adjustments like audio descriptions can make people feel part of the broader society. Maybe the Timed Text Working Group can help here?

Do you really want a bunch of cripples to save you, again?

I guess most of us has not missed that there is a virus called Corona or COVID-19 that continues to spread globally right now. You might also have read messages and heard people say something along the lines of “Don’t worry, COVID-19 will only seriously impact people over 65 or with underlying health conditions.”
The article ‘The Cripples Will Save You’: A Critical Coronavirus Message from a Disability Activist is about all this and more. Read it!

Digital Compassion: A Human Act

Per Axbom has been a speaker at the t12t meetup not once but twice. A while ago he released one of his talks as an article. It's called Digital Compassion: A Human Act and is also available in swedish as Digital omtanke: en mänsklig handling. It's a long article but well worth the time. It goes through history and discusses how design can harm people and ends in a great list of things we can do to act as human beings, question design and in the long run improve the world.

This is the end of The Raccoon. 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. Credit for the photo goes to Gary Bendig on Unsplash.

- Ida
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