Accessibility Answers: What Can I Do Now for Better Accessibility?

Woman sitting and raising her hand beside another woman.

When I give presentations on accessibility, I often get one or two questions I’ve fielded before. I’ve collected a handful for an ongoing series of posts with my answers. I hope it helps you understand accessibility better.

If I could do a few basic things in my projects right now, what should they be?

Start simple. Focus on ensuring users can navigate your site using the keyboard. Make sure you have :focus styles where appropriate, and that each style has a reasonable contrast.

Further reading: Building a Strong Foundation with Keyboard Accessibility.

Next, make sure each control follows web standards. What do I mean by that? Items that behave like links, buttons and form fields should be just that: <a>, <button> or <input>. Don’t make your own interface elements from scratch. Use native elements, which come with accessibility features built in, and enhance from there.

Further reading: Links Are Not Buttons; Neither Are DIVs and SPANs.

Lastly, provide a <label> element for each form field in your code. Labels allow screen reader users to know what a field is meant to do or what that field needs in order to move on in an interface. Don’t make it harder.

Further reading: Accessible Form Controls and Placeholder Attribute is Not a Label.

Follow the series Accessibility Answers. Ask me a question via my contact form or Twiter.

Image by rawpixel.

Published by David A. Kennedy

I work as a Design Director at Automattic on Jetpack, focusing on the front end experience.

3 replies on “Accessibility Answers: What Can I Do Now for Better Accessibility?”

  1. Another benefit of having LABELs on INPUT fields is they allow users with vision or mobility issues to click on the text and not thaving hit the small radio buttons or check boxes.

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