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Code for All: IndyPy Hosts Accessibility Panel

Code for All: IndyPy Hosts Accessibility Panel

In recognition of Global Accessibility Awareness Day on May 20th, this month’s IndyPy — Indiana’s largest Python meetup founded in 2007 by Six Feet Up CTO and AWS Community Hero Calvin Hendryx-Parker — featured a lively discussion about the importance of making the web accessible to everyone. 

Expert panelists — Calvin Hendryx-Parker, alongside Sixies Kim Nguyen, Vice President of Engineering, and Annette Lewis, Senior Python Developer — discussed:

  • top accessibility tools for browsers and code editors,
  • the impact of web accessibility for all users, and
  • why it’s important to #codeforall

Watch the panel discussion:

Meeting Notes:

Calvin - Topic 1:

  • Zoom’s decision to provide free closed captioning to all users by Fall 2021.
    • This feature was initially only available to business accounts with paid users, but is this fair to those would could benefit from using it but do not have access?
      • The burden falls on the meeting host or business to foot the costs in the old business model.
    •  Peer pressure from other providers has led to closed captioning being a base feature for all users, regardless of plan.
    • The approach to accessibility should not be an elective or premium feature that companies can tack on.
    • The standards have been set by Google through YouTube’s auto captioning.
      • Social platforms like Twitter have provided the ability to caption images now to make tweets accessible. 

Annette - Topic 2:

  • Pa11y, an open source toolset for highlighting accessibility issues.
    • Tools include:
      • Pa11y - Command-line interface meant for one-off tests against a webpage.
      • Pa11y Dashboard - Web dashboard which automatically tests web pages for accessibility issues daily.
      • Pa11y Webservice - JSON-based web service that backs Dashboard.
      • Pa11y CI - Command-line tool that can iterate over pages. This is geared towards Continuous Integrations (CI).
        • Can tell the tool which actions to perform, such as clicking on elements or logging into to an interface.
    • Pa11y provides a viewer-friendly report of results on the command-line, or can be exported in common file formats such as CSV, JSON, HTML or TSV.
    • These generated reports will take screenshots of the pages for updating documentation and provide end users with actionable items to correct 

Kim - Topic 3:

  • Former colleague was visually impaired and had to zoom into words on a screen quite large to read them — scanning three to four letters at a time vs. the entire sentence.
    • Put a new perspective on accessibility and its importance so people from all walks of life and abilities can use your website or application.
  • Open source tools like aXe can run through a website for compliance checking in real-time.
    • Finds and highlights errors that could be addressed before publishing, such as missing alt text in an image or descriptive links.
    • Designed to work on most browsers, including: Edge, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer.
    • Offers both a business professional license or a free browser extension add-on.

Calvin - Topic 4:

  • Functional Accessibility Evaluator (FAE)
    • Evaluates a website (or a single web page) based on the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level A and AA requirements.
    • Currently supports WCAG 2.0 Level A and AA.
    • Some limitations, including:
      • Anonymous users can run only a single page. Must make a free account to evaluate an entire website.
      • Will not work on private or unpublished content.
      • Doesn’t work offline.
    • Once the report is generated, it is publicly accessible and downloadable as a CSV summary to be shared out.

Annette - Topic 5:

  • How People with Disabilities Use the Web
    • Often, accessibility checking is post-release and can be the immediate result of a lawsuit or complaint filed against the website or application.
      • Developers should shift focus and keep the users or people first in their mind when creating a site to address their differing abilities or barriers to navigating a site.
    • Stories of Web Users - Scenarios to highlight the effect of accessibility barriers.
    • Diverse Abilities and Barriers - Highlights some web accessibility barriers that people commonly experience because of inaccessible websites and web tools.
    • Tools and Techniques - Introduces some of the techniques and tools that people with disabilities use to interact with the web.

Kim - Topic 6:

  • 10 Accessibility Mistakes You’re Making and How to Fix Them
    • Highlights the most common mistakes that can be quickly addressed by someone like a project manager or content creator and doesn’t necessarily involve development.
  • SiteImprove
    • A paid accessibility tool that provides comprehensive accessibility analyses of a website to provide a report.
    • This is a good benchmark to run as frequently as you’d like to see how your site is doing on a number of measurables and further dig in to the errors that appear.
    • This tool is easy to understand for developers, content creators and everyone in between to make the content readily accessible and inclusive for when it does go live.


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