How Internet GDE Martine Dowden approaches internet design from an accessibility perspective — Google for Builders Weblog

Posted by Kevin Hernandez, Developer Relations Group Supervisor

To have a good time World Accessibility Consciousness Day, we interviewed Martine Dowden, Internet GDE.

Headshot image of Martine Dowden, against a dark background, smiling.

As we speak’s web sites observe sure ideas for good internet design. A few of these ideas embrace simplicity, F-shaped patterned layouts (how we learn content material on a web page), nice content material, loading instances, colour palettes, and extra. One precept that may not be high of thoughts when our favourite websites is accessibility and when making use of it to internet design, its goal is to make websites obtainable to everybody. Based on the World Well being Group (WHO), about 16% of the inhabitants lives with some sort of incapacity. In internet design, accessibility is about ensuring you could have sufficient colour distinction, a decrease decision display screen, completely different button sizes, alt textual content, navigation that may be accessed together with your keyboard, descriptive textual content, and so forth. For Internet GDE, Martine Dowden, that is one thing she thinks about on a regular basis. Martine is the CTO of Andromeda Galactic Options the place she builds websites for her shoppers with an accessibility method. Martine can also be the co-author of Approachable Accessibility: Planning for Success, which landed her on Ebook Authority’s 20 Greatest Accessibility Books of All Time listing, and has given quite a few talks on the topic.

When requested about why accessibility is essential to her, Martine shares, “It impacts all people. I need to ensure that after I’m creating one thing, it does not matter who you’re, what gadget you are on, or what your wants are, you are gonna be capable of entry it. I do not need to exclude individuals.” To attain accessibility, Martine urges designers and builders to consider accessibility ideas as early as potential. She goes on to say that in case your mockups are already inaccessible, you’re setting your self up for failure. She compares accessibility to safety and explains, “I prefer to parallel it to safety as a result of you’ll be able to’t by chance do safety appropriately. Accessibility is identical approach. It’s a must to truly give it some thought and check for it.” For testing accessibility early on, Martine recommends utilizing automated instruments equivalent to Lighthouse, which has an accessibility checker. Nonetheless, whereas automated instruments are useful, it solely catches a small subset of what’s accessible in your website. Martine explains that automated instruments don’t actually perceive context. “The automated tooling will inform me if I’ve alt textual content or not nevertheless it will not inform me if that alt textual content is related or useful. If I am exhibiting an image of cats and my alt textual content says it is a image of canines, the automated tooling will say it’s good to go,” she factors out. Whereas it’s useful to have this automation, Martine recommends coupling these instruments with a guide evaluation to be able to be thorough whereas testing for accessibility.

Martine additionally recommends Internet Content material Accessibility Tips (WCAG), which is the worldwide normal. This useful resource supplies specs and loads of supporting documentation that explains why the specs exist, however it’s an exhaustive useful resource that Martine doesn’t suggest studying from starting to finish. As a substitute, Martine suggests utilizing it when you could have a sure query and looking out up the particular specs. One other know-how that assists her in her work is Angular because the UI library consists of the accessibility notes.

The significance of accessibility is obvious with regards to giving everybody entry to websites and with 71% of customers with disabilities clicking away from websites attributable to inaccessibility, an accessibility method is significant. Accessibility may be one thing new to you as a designer or developer however as with all the pieces else, Martine suggests, “It is similar to studying some other ability, take it little by little and you will finally get there. All people has to begin someplace.”

You’ll find Martine on-line on her private website.

The Google Developer Consultants (GDE) program is a worldwide community of extremely skilled know-how consultants, influencers, and thought leaders who actively assist builders, corporations, and tech communities by talking at occasions and publishing content material.

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