Jan 30 2013

The Accessibility Project – How To Integrate Accessibility Into Your Daily Designs

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A few days ago we brought HTML_CodeSniffer to your attention, a bookmarklet for testing websites in terms of accessibility. Today we encountered a brand-new project, that aims at the average designer and is set to be the starting point for everything around accessibility. Community-driven and crowdsourced, A11Y as the project abbreviates itself, wants to support and encourage accessible web designs. The project is refreshingly different and growing rapidly.

A11Y: Accessibility Made Easy

If you have tried getting into accessible design techniques you will soon have experienced the high level of scientific, academic language and depth. Articles on accessibility go deep, at times deeper than needed for the everyday project. This depth establishes a hurdle not every designer is willing to overcome.

The contributors behind The Accessibility Project are aware of that and thus came up with a different approach. Instead of providing complicated in-depth articles that stay in your read-later lists for years to come, they provide short, almost entertaining posts which can be consumed during your coffee break. A11Y wants to encourage designers to grab hold of the topic and integrate it into their everyday workflow. Acceptance is the key. As methods and techniques change rapidly, A11Y relies on Github as a platform. This way the project can be kept up to date using crowdsourcing techniques every serious developer is familiar with.

A11Y obviously is equipped with practicioners. The project impresses by its well conceived design and its deliberate choice of first topics. Standards and accessibility are reflected throughout the whole appearance. The website itself is based on Twiitter’s Bootstrap and bound to be usable on as many platforms and devices as possible.

Quarrying around the project’s site is a fun experience, one, that I would not have dared to expect after what I’ve seen on this topic in the past. An accumulation of further resources has useful articles from third parties, software tools, relevant blogs and some of the oh so popular infographics. If you want to just dive into cold water, you will be happy to find a checklist of relevant HTML elements for immediate use. A variety of Quick Tips and Quick Tests help you dig in a little deeper without providing too much theoretical overhead.

The Accessibility Project is definitely useful, even in its early stages where content is not overwhelming in terms of quantity. If the initiators manage to keep up the high quality level, I have no doubts that A11Y will turn into the Wikipedia of accessibility rather sooner than later. If you already know your ways around the topics covered there, you are explicitly encouraged to become a contributor.

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About the Author

Dieter Petereit is Noupe's Editor-In-Chief and a veteran of the web with over 25 years of experience in the world of IT. As soon as Netscape became available he started to do what already at that time was called webdesign and has carried on ever since. Almost a decade ago he started writing for several online publications, some well, some lesser known. Dieter is a heavy G-Plusser, so why not meet him over there?

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