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Accessibility

Write code that is clear and logical. Be detailed in alt text and image descriptions, and at each step consider users who experience your product through alternative technologies.

HTML best practices

Structuring code and navigation

Think of code hierarchy when structuring your content. Be sure screen readers and keyboard-only users can access interactive elements in a logical and predictable order via tabbing. Begin with the header, followed by the main navigation, then page navigation (from left to right, top to bottom), and end with the footer. Keyboard users should encounter an intentional experience that is comparable to the experience of mouse users.

Use semantic HTML

Use native HTML elements as much as you can. These elements have built-in accessibility benefits. They inform screen readers what they are and what they do, and standard interactive elements, such as a button, include keyboard functionality. Aside from making a page accessible, native HTML is easier to develop and maintain, better on mobile, and improves search engine optimization.

<button>Play Video</button>
<header></header>
<main></main>
<nav></nav>
<footer></footer>
<aside></aside>
<section></section>
<article></article>

Use clear language

When adding content, consider cognitive disabilities, anyone whose native language isn’t the language your content is written in, and screen readers. When possible, avoid dashes, abbreviations, acronyms (at least the first time), and table layouts if a table is not needed. If abbreviating, use the native <abbr /> element with title attribute.

"9 to 5" "November" <abbr title="November">Nov</abbr>

Use meaningful text labels

Consider visually impaired people when labeling elements. Make sure there is textual context for screen readers.

Correct
<a>Read more about pricing</a>
Incorrect
<a>Click here</a>

Designing accessible data tables

Always specify table headers with <th /> elements, and make sure they stand out. Utilize scope attributes if necessary to specify if they are headers for rows or columns. Utilize alternative text along with tables for visually impaired users. <caption /> is preferred, but <table /> summary works too.

<table summary="Names and Ages of My Coworkers">
<caption>
Names and Ages of My Coworkers
</caption>
<thead>
<tr>
<th scope="col">Firstname</th>
<th scope="col">Lastname</th>
<th scope="col">Age</th>

Designing accessible data visualizations

Consider visually impaired users when including data visualizations. Consider accompanying visuals with a data table as an alternative for users who rely on screen readers. Also consider color choices for color-blind users.

Multimedia text alternatives

Every image that is not decorative must include alt text with a meaningful description of the image. If the image is decorative, use an empty alt attribute; otherwise the screen reader will read the whole image URL if the alt is left out.

Be detailed and succinct
<img src="puppy.jpg" alt="Picture of a sleeping puppy in cup" />
Give decorative images an empty `alt` attribute.
<img src="puppy.jpg" alt="" />

Audio alternatives

Provide closed-captioning with videos or transcriptions of audio files.

<video controls>
<source src="example.mp4" type="video/mp4" />
<source src="example.webm" type="video/webm" />
<track kind="subtitles" src="subtitles_english.vtt" srclang="en" />
</video>

Avoid font icon libraries

Use SVG’s instead of font icon libraries.

<svg width="80" height="10">
<line class="line" x1="200" y1="0" x2="0" y2="0" />
</svg>

Utilize ARIA roles and landmark roles

ARIA (Accessible Rich Internet Application) roles convey the intent or meaning of an element to assistive technology. This helps users navigate when they can’t see the layout and provides further context about different functionalities.

Landmark roles identify regions in a page, and act much like native HTML tags would when it comes to semantics. Signpost roles describe other information about a given element’s functionality on a page. These are especially helpful when building complex, custom interfaces or to reinforce semantics in native HTML elements.

Landmark roles
<nav role="navigation"></nav>
<main role="main"></main>
Signpost roles
<div role="banner">This is a banner.</div>
<div role="tabgroup"><div role="tab"></div></div>
<div role="combobox"></div>
<div role="slider"></div>
<button role="button"></button>

CSS best practices

CSS rule of thumb

You can style a page feature to fit your design, but don’t change it to the point that it doesn’t look or behave as expected.

Style focus indicators

Add styling to tabbable elements on hover and focus, so that keyboard-only users can have a clear visual of where they are navigating. Never suppress the focus indicator altogether.

Hiding elements

When hiding content from a screen reader, consider source order. Use visibility: hidden, along with display: none in your CSS.

Mouse-specific events

Double up mouse-specific events with other events for keyboard-only users.

const foo = document.querySelector('.foo-class');
foo.onmouseover = someFunction();
foo.onmouseout = anotherFunction();
foo