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3 positive habits for creating an accessible intranet or website

Blog written by Leonie Watson

It is important to understand that an automated tool cannot check for 100% of possible accessibility issues. For example, an automated tool can check if an image has a text description but not if the text description is appropriate or helpful to a human. Estimates very, but it is generally accepted that automated tools identify around 25% to 30% of possible accessibility issues.

With that limitation firmly in mind, using an automated tool to check your website for accessibility is a useful thing to do. There are many to choose from including browser extensions like Wave, Tenon, Axe, or ARC Toolkit, Audit in Chrome dev tools, or external tools like Webhint.io.

Whether you’re working on a pattern, component or page, get into the habit of checking it with one of these tools — and fixing the issues it identifies. As mentioned before, you won’t catch everything, but you will be about 30% closer to where you want to be.

With the same warning that comes with automated tools, these Easy Checks do not cover all aspects of accessibility. What they do cover is some of the things that are most helpful to people who find seeing, hearing, moving, or cognitive processing difficult.

If you get into the habit of using these 10 Easy Checks in complement with automated testing, you’ll take another big step towards a more accessible website.

Every platform and device now has a range of different assistive technologies that can be enabled or installed. This includes screen readers, magnification or zoom capability, and (although it is not strictly speaking an assistive technology) the keyboard.

Abandon your mouse or trackpad and make sure all functionality can be navigated to and operated with a keyboard. Make sure that:

If you get into the habit of enabling these assistive technologies, or setting aside your mouse in favour of your keyboard, you’ll find you quickly start to understand how different modes of interaction work. With that understanding you can take another, albeit cautious, step towards better accessibility. The caution is based on the fact that you are most likely not a full-time assistive technology or keyboard user, so your experiences will not match those of people who are, but like most things — the more often you do it, the better you get!

Text reading 3 positive habits for creating an accessible intranet or website by Leonie Watson and an image of Leonie

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