Global Accessibility Awareness Day
Guest Post Nathan Hammond, Matthew Beale
May 19, 2016 marks the fifth annual Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) and this year we're encouraging you, the Ember.js community, to participate. We want to make our framework, addons, and the applications we collectively build and maintain accessible to all users.
Designing and building for accessibility can hugely benefit the Ember project and community. Accessibility informs the constraints of building great user interfaces, and better experiences result in greater adoption of Ember as a framework. Joining our efforts on May 19th is an investment in the Ember community and our collective future.
Earlier this year the Ember A11y project was started with the goal of making Ember applications accessible by default. We want Ember applications to move "beyond the ramp" of token accessibility and instead provide fantastic experiences for users of assistive technology. On Global Accessibility Awareness Day this year, we want you to get involved.
How to Participate
On May 19th join the Ember A11y team, addon maintainers, and other participants in #topic-a11y on the Ember Community Slack. Share what you're working on and connect with us for ideas and advice. We have a curated list of issues in Ember community projects that you can help with, or feel free to bring and share what you're doing in your own app! If you've got something you want help tackling we're offering pairing sessions with Ember A11y team members throughout the day.
You can also sign up for the Ember A11y mailing list at www.ember-a11y.com to get notifications about Global Accessibility Awareness Day and other accessibility topics in the Ember community.
Contribute to the Ember A11y Project
The Ember A11y GitHub organization has a collection of addons that we maintain as part of our commitment to accessibility in the Ember ecosystem. Our primary focus so far has been on functionality for focus management as well as testing. We'd love for you to help add features, research issues, address
TODO:s in the codebase, and test in multiple browser/assistive tech permutations.
A curated list of Ember A11y issues ripe for the picking will be here.
Contribute to Community Addons
This year we've partnered with a few community addons to work on improving their accessibility bonafides. The complete list of the community addons we've partnered with and efforts you can participate in is here. If you happen to use any of these addons in your own applications this is an excellent way to start contributing.
If you want to improve an addon not in this list, the simplest way to get started is to do an accessibility review with assistive technologies. If you discover things that don't work well, file an issue with the
[a11y] tag as a prefix.
If you are unsure of where to start just reach out in #topic-a11y on Slack. We'll be there to help.
Learn About Accessibility
Accessibility is a tremendously broad space and includes everything from design to tooling to code. Learning about accessibility will help make you a better developer and is another great way to spend Global Accessibility Awareness Day. We've selected a few resources to help you get started.
Using Assistive Technology
You can experience the web using assistive tech and see what it's like. Turn off your display and surf the web with a screen reader for an hour. Try using NVDA on Windows, VoiceOver on OS X and iOS, or TalkBack on Android. These tools can vary widely; trying more than one can help you understand the differences in user experience.
Guides and Reading
- You can use The A11y Project's Web Accessibility Checklist to guide you through an accessibility evaluation of a website.
- Check out this fantastic article on the tension between accessibility guidelines and user experience.
- Addy Osmani provided this overview of Chrome's A11y Command-line Tools.
- Learn about the foundations of Web Accessibility with the Accessibility APIs.
Videos and Presentations
This list of presentations is selected from the Ember community.
- Accessibility Mechanics for Web Applications by Léonie Watson given at Ember London.
- Building for Accessibility by Nathan Hammond and Jennison Asuncion (one of the co-founders of GAAD) given at Wicked Good Ember. Followup blog post.
- Ben Holmes gave a lightning talk at EmberConf.
- A talk titled A11y Debt by Robert DeLuca.
Work on Your Own Application
Lastly we encourage you to join us even if you're working on your own application behind closed doors. We recommend investigating adoption of ember-a11y for its focusing mechanics, adding ember-a11y-testing into your CI pipeline to test for accessibility issues, as well as adopting ember-cli-template-lint which will hopefully include linting for accessibility issues by the end of the day on May 19th!
Accessibility isn't a one-day-a-year project. The Ember A11y community group is here to stay, and you can participate! Information about what we're working on shows up in our fortnightly meeting notes and our nascent website, ember-a11y.com. We hang out in the #topic-a11y channel on the Ember Community Slack and some of us haunt the Web A11y Slack/Gitter. Come introduce yourself, we'd love to chat and help in any way we can.
We've also set up a low-traffic email list for which you can sign up to be notified of accessibility-related news and happenings in the Ember community like Global Accessibility Awareness Day. Sign up for email updates from the Ember A11y team.
We're glad to be a part of this community and we're looking forward to working with you!
- The Ember A11y Community Team
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