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The Accessibility Newsletter

A white woolly sheep is staring curiously. In the background a lot of other sheep and grass.
I've been chilling in the land of 800.00 sheep, Iceland. That's why this newsletter is a bit late. Or wait, it's not late. It's right on time cause chilling was needed. Also, sheep are cool cause they can transform any environment into theirs.

LEGO and their "new" bricks

At the end of April LEGO released Lego Braille Bricks. Reactions were mixed. Why wasn't the promo-video accessible to the very people these bricks are intended for? Also, this product already exists. In the early 1980s Kevin Murphy transformed traditional LEGO blocks into tactile Braille cells. They are called Tack-Tiles. Why wasn't this mentioned?
You can read more about the critique of LEGO in an article at Critical Axis. It's filed under Inspiration Porn,
Charity and No Words. Very fitting.

News from Google IO

At I/O, the annual Google developer conference, Google announced their upcoming version of Android called Android Q. It comes with some interesting features like Lens and live captioning. Scott Hollier has written one article summarizing some of the news from Google I/O. 
Another interesting project is Euphonia which aims at improving speech recognition. If you prefer listening to the news or just get a bunch of links I can recommend Accessible Podcast and their episode "Good Job, Google". They also have a nice transcript.

Webinar: Test your mobile websites and apps

The world is designed against the elderly

Don Norman, who calls himself an 83-year-old grouch, has written not one, but two articles on design. He is the author of the book The Design of Everyday Things and he previously worked at Apple.
The first article is titled I wrote the book on user-friendly design. What I see today horrifies me. It puts the focus on the elderly and how designing for them would benefit not only them but others as well.
The second article is called Why I Don’t Believe in Empathic Design. In it he discusses how we instead of focusing on empathy and only consulting experts should focus on combining experts with community people, creative people who already have solutions to the problems they’re facing.

New to a11y?

How do you get started with accessibility? Well, I think it depends. There isn't one right way to do it. You can read, or listen, or watch, or take a course, or go to a meetup, or something else, or a mix of it all! The one thing you need to remember is that a11y is about putting people first.
One way to start could be to take a look at the curated list on Github by Bruno called Awesome A11y. Lot's of links to meetups, talks, courses and much more. Scott also shared some resources in a blog post called exactly that: some resources. Fewer links but the links that are there are high-quality ones.

For Game of Thrones Fans: Westeros Disability Forum

Debated events are now being removed

In the last newsletter, I linked to a couple of articles about the new accessibility events in iOS and MacOS. Since then Apple has announced that they are removing the events from both iOS and the events are also removed from MacOS. The reason being that "related aspects of the W3C AOM effort are no longer applicable".
Now, I would like to see a similar discussion about the events in native apps. They are still there, they are being misused and I don't think it's ok.

How to make a button out of an icon

Sara has written an extensive article about different ways of making accessible icon buttons. Since buttons seem to be an element that a lot of developers get wrong I think this is needed.
I also recommend you to read Scott's article Contextually Marking up accessible images and SVGs. He goes into more details around what is supported where.
So have you seen that hamburger-icon-menu-button made out of three spans with no text? Yes, they are everywhere. Let's fix them!

How can you program if you're blind?

"But Github doesn't need to be accessible. It's for developers!" A couple of years ago I heard this from a colleague of mine. There is a misconception that you need have good eyesight to be able to code. Of course, that is not true. Have you seen the Stack Overflow-question How can you program if you're blind? If you have then you know. The second most voted answer there is by Saqib who did a great demo at Microsofts Build in 2017. Another developer, Chris, has recorded himself when he is getting started on a project using React and Firebase.

Podcast tips: The Accessible Stall

Trans-inclusive design

This article about inclusion on A List Apart should be read by anyone working at any company. As a matter of fact I think that if you are a person interacting with other people directly or indirectly you should read it.
There are also some really good tips on how you should think when developing or designing a product. The article also links to The Radical Copyeditor’s Style Guide for Writing About Transgender People. Read that too if you haven't!

The privilege plugin 2.0

Let's end with a video. This is one of my favorites. It's Tatiana Mac and her talk How Privilege Defines Performance. I love the way she talks about privilege and how she recommend a book and at the same time point out that it has an ableist title. You want to know which book? Check out the talk!

This is the end of The Sheep. 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 Sam Carter on Unsplash.

- Ida