I’m feeling pretty chuffed! Last week I wrote about my intention to make this website more accessible. My motivations were many-fold, but, primarily, mostly shame. I’ve worked as an accessibility specialist in the past, and now spend a bunch of my days at work looking for ways to make public infrastructure online more accessible. It seemed fitting to at least make sure the little bit I contribute to the web here is also accessible.
I thought it was going to be more of a project than it ended up being. Oatmeal is passing with mostly flying colors according to a couple different browsers’ in-built accessibility auditing tools, VoiceOver, axe, WAVE and IBM’s accessibility scanner.
I focused on improving a few key areas:
- color contrast
- markup structure
To achieve better color contrast ratios I know I could have employed math, but, instead, I didn’t do anything scientific — I used trial and error to land at a slightly updated color scheme. Along the same lines I also increased the default text-size and made sure that link text was visually unique along an axis other than only color. Underlines, baby!
The markup was the issue that had me thinking I was gonna have to do a soup to nuts rewrite. I ended up finding a handful of big wins, though, so was able to make a lot of progress pretty quickly. The biggest win was tearing out a lot of indieweb-specific markup. I think it isn’t that hCard’s and what not aren’t accessible, they just lead to a really “chatty” page if poorly structured, and mine were poorly structured.
The markup updates flowed into improving the navigation. I’ve always leaned heavily on this being a blog, with everything structured around a gigantic chronological list of posts. That’s boring, though, and not all that conducive to actually finding stuff that isn’t chronologically recent.
The site’s navigation still lives mostly in the footer. Now there’s a skip link to get there more easily (try it! Use the tab key to trigger the skip link). I’ve also added a handful of new pages that invite folks in through some different entries — doors and windows and whatnot.
With these changes made, I’m feeling better about the state of this thing. There is 100% certainly more that can be improved, though, so, I’m gonna consider this the start of an ongoing project.