Mozilla's Accessibility Inspector: „accessibility is a process, not a state of“

Alex Alex 08 November 2019
Mozilla's Accessibility Inspector: „accessibility is a process, not a state of“

web accessibility is a growing issue that is neglected in the creation of web pages, unfortunately, still often. A Tool that would give this Problem, is the Accessibility Inspector in the Firefox DevTools. We have spoken with Marco Zehe from Mozilla about the Software and accessibility on the Internet.

The inspector for accessibility (engl. Accessibility Inspector) is for 2018 as part of the Firefox DevTools. He is to help to make Web-services for all users, regardless of their limitations, are available. In addition, the Tool can provide developers with assistance in the case of frequently occurring problems in terms of Design and presentation. We have to toe with Marco, Senior Accessibility Platform Manager at Mozilla, about the project itself and the current Situation of the accessibility in the Internet spoken.

developer: The inspector accessibility will be available in Firefox 70 by default in the DevTools available. What exactly is the inspector can do and how it helps people with visual impairments in Monitoring and Verification of sites?


source: Marco Zehe

Marco Zehe: The inspector accessibility helps in a variety of ways to different groups of users. For a Web developers to enjoy it, to check your work on common problems. For this purpose, the weak colour contrast of Text to Background, the lack of labeling of graphics, Buttons, form fields, and the like. But also problems that may arise in the case of the keyboard-based use, especially in Combination with the also absolutely necessary visibility of the keyboard focus. For all of these problem areas, the inspector provides a Review with links to the Mozilla Developer Network, where developers explanation and, above all, solutions to problems can be found.

The inspector can simulate the view of a website for people with color vision defects. A Web developer or Designer can estimate with the help of which, whether or not a Person with Red-Green Color-blind can still capture all the information communicated.

The inspector itself is accessible, so that people with different limitations, can use it to target problems to the operator of the report. The fact that both use the same Tools to Check the problems, significantly facilitates the communication.

developers: are You working since 2007 in the case of Mozilla, what was your role in the development of the inspector?

toe: I accompanied the inspector of its design phase through implementation up to the Quality of follow-up after the first Releases. My Input was to a in the Formulate of your choice, what I hope for myself as a blind of such a Tool. On the other hand I had implemented the developer, and created and tested bug reports, suggestions for improvement, etc. I Also have him demonstrate on several occasions, for example on the Web of the Congress of Erlangen 2018, a web-Meeting, North Rhine-Westphalia in August 2018 and a Accessibility Community Meetup in Toronto, Canada in March 2018.

developers: Where do you see the advantages of the accessibility inspector from Mozilla, compared to similar Tools, such as aViewer?

toe: You have to install no additional Tools or extensions.

The advantage of this is that the inspector is right the Install of Firefox to start.

He is also a full part of the developers Toolbox, and thus has access to all the resources that uses, for example, the HTML inspector with its different CSS views. You can also jump between the accessibility and HTML-inspector back and forth. You will find, for example, a Problem with color contrast in the accessibility inspector, you can jump from the affected Accessibility object directly to the corresponding HTML Element, the corresponding CSS rules to display, etc. More, you can directly make the Changes, jump back and check whether this Change has resolved the Problem. This is the case, it can be assumed that the Change in the actual Code.

Also, the variety of known issues as well as the goal-oriented documentation for their solution is a stand-alone feature. The inspector says not only that a Problem was found, but through the documentation on MDN directly practical solutions with code samples.

developers: How do you assess the General situation of the accessibility in the Internet? It takes even more commitment, and Tools to facilitate the visually impaired people's access to and Use of Online services?

toe: A wise person in the accessibility community coined sometime the sentence that accessibility is a process, not a state. And the Web in Particular, because there are almost every day new ideas and suggestions for improvement. There are Standards groups, check them for possible implementation. And every couple of weeks with new ideas for Frameworks, mostly in JavaScript, what are the developers working on increasingly complex projects to facilitate.

Unfortunately, this JS just Frameworks often, the Problem is that you are not using semantically correct and thus barrier-free HTML. Instead, use the generic elements that respond beautifully to mouse interaction, but to nothing else. This not only excludes the Blind with Screen readers, but also people can use for whatever reasons, no mouse and keyboard usability are dependent. Others must be able to use websites with switch control or through the movement of the eyes. All of this will only work if websites and applications adhere to the Standards and the browsers provide this functionality is also available.

for A long time the largest obstacles in Web from the Flash passed content and Java Applets.

Since this is on the retreat, is perceived the Web as more accessible. From every corner of the Web coming JavaScript Frameworks does not diminish this Feeling again and again, because you fail to comply with the accessibility Standards. You have to rework a lot of it-based applications, at least half the benefit. And then you have to hope that with the next Version of this work is not by a Redesign has been cancelled out. The statement that the Web was occasionally perceived as more accessible, this Feeling is but since two, three years of decline, can also be a good various editions of the WebAIM Screen Reader User Surveys. The WebAIM project,

so There is still much to do. Despite the fact that from about 2030 every second living in Germany, man is 60 years of age or older, not be taught in schools and universities, the principles of inclusive Design is still consistent. Young web designers and developers designing or programming your applications, primarily for mouse users and thus, approximately 20% of the population have some Form of disability. With more and more seniors in the network, the number of those who have with a Design of boy for Boy problems will be in the next few years is much greater. This needs to change. Because there are actually paying customers who stay here on the track. In this respect, the now adopted EU-Directive would not be sufficient, stating that until September, 2020, all websites of public Bodies accessible to be. It would actually be necessary to extend this to all companies that have some type of customer traffic. And the universities must be started, to think from the very beginning to be inclusive and to teach.

developer: The inspector accessibility has already been published in 2018. What do you think of the Development of the Tools and what can be expected for the future?

toe: The development of the Tools that I evaluate as very positive. In the beginning he was merely a display tool for the whole accessibility tree, from the Screen Reader and other tools your news relate to. That helped, but anyone really. By Adding the Review on contrasts, missing labels, keyboard usability, and focusable elements, as well as the Simulation of color vision defects, the information really makes sense. For the future, we still have a few more ideas. So an incorrect heading structure is a common Problem. This is a relatively easy verifiable scenario. And if someone from the developer community ideas on what you would like to see in the inspector can be notified via Feedback. The same applies of course for any problems, if, for example, the Review notes interactive elements that no focus would be the display, but this is not the case. There will always be scenarios in which the Tools are wrong. But with examples, you can also learn more and improve.

developer: thank you for this Interview!

Interview with Marco Zehe
Marco Zehe has been working since 2007 with Mozilla in the area of accessibility. He has been testing the Mozilla products on accessibility for people with disabilities, advises developers in the implementation of the accessibility functions, and is also available as a Conference speaker for these topics on the go. Earlier, he worked for a major manufacturer of AIDS for the Blind and readers, where she gained experience in the Develop of the Screen.


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