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.

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