How small items can lead to big issues-ADASure-

How small items can lead to big issues

Recently, there was a topic on the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) working group that I wanted to share. First, a bit about WAI. WAI is a group of technology and accessibility advocates and experts who share thoughts, issues, and questions regarding the current WCAG2.0 standard. This is important because there is also a working draft of WCAG 2.1 that was released in April of this year. The WAI group discussions and debates will help to fuel a better standard.

A conversation originated last week that will seem small and inconsequential to most users. It dealt with the topic of a “date picker” and how a user enters a date for an application. I’ll save all the details but there are a wide variety of date pickers that developers can use and ways of notating it so assistive technologies can determine the purpose and function and relay it to the user.

Why is it important?

WCAG guideline 2.1.3 requires that users can enter a date using just a keyboard. In fact, the success criterion for this guideline is that ALL content is operable form the keyboard. In some standard date pickers, users are unable to enter all fields of the date with a keyboard and this is a problem.

How it impacts users?

Imaging coming to a form that requires your birth date to continue. Now imagine needing to use only your keyboard to sequence through every single digit in the date; one by one.  Now imagine doing the entire process and you’re blind.

This is just one, small example that would slow or even force a user to stop from moving forward due to accessibility issues. If text isn’t available for screen readers than users are literally left in the dark. They can’t tell if it’s a European format or American, if the fields require alphanumeric or just numeric and even how many chars are needed in the year (2? 4?). These are the small things that we test for in ever audit.  Just because it’s small doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter.


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