Rising disability statistics

The number of people in the UK living with a disability is rising.

It’s currently accepted that in the UK it is around 1 in 5 people, or 20%. And, from 2012 to 2019, there has been a further 3% increase in the ‘official statistics’.

The number of children reported to have a disability has risen 2%, from 6% to 8%

The number of working age adults reported to have a disability has risen 3%, from 16% to 19%.

The number of adults over State Pension age reported to have a disability has risen 1%, from 45% to 46%.

Those are the facts. Based on 2011/2012 GOV.UK Disability Facts and Figures and 2019/2020 GOV.UK Family Resources Survey. The rest of this post is mainly my thoughts, and definitely up for debate!

Rising disability statistics: Read full article

Combining axe-core and PA11Y

My initial thoughts were to decouple PA11Y from it’s headless browser, and run it as part of the Selenium tests, rather than booting up 2 separate browser instances which would add seconds onto each test they could just both hit the same page when it was open.

However, on closer inspection, it turns out that using both is actually far simpler than I anticipated. PA11Y has the ability to use different ‘runners’ or plugins. So, using axe-core and PA11Y together is as simple as passing in the runners in as an option.

Combining axe-core and PA11Y: Read full article

Axe-core vs PA11Y: Which one should you choose?

We use axe-core by Deque regularly as part of acceptance tests. With GitLab now offering PA11Y as part of the Continuous Integration (CI) Pipeline with zero config, I wanted to understand how it stacked up against axe-core. Can you drop axe-core for PA11Y? Can you drop PA11Y for axe-core? Should you use both?

Axe-core vs PA11Y: Which one should you choose?: Read full article

5 arguments against accessibility and why they are wrong

In my role, I deal with many different teams and organisations. I also get involved in a bunch of other things on the side, just because accessibility is so misunderstood. One thing which has become quite apparent is that there are some common misconceptions regardless of which team, department or arms-length body you talk to.

I’ve pulled out 5 of the most common arguments I hear for why people think they should be exempt from doing accessibility work.

  1. It’s not citizen facing, only our staff will use it
  2. We don’t have any users who use assistive technology
  3. The supplier plans to make it accessible at some point
  4. Accessibility isn’t a priority right now, we’re working on other features first
  5. Accessibility wasn’t part of the original cost, so we need to claim disproportionate burden
5 arguments against accessibility and why they are wrong: Read full article

Defining a strategy for accessibility

I remember in school we learned about the fire-triangle. Fuel, Oxygen and heat are required to make a fire burn. If you remove any of those things from the equation, the fire will use up what it has left and eventually burn out.

We can think of accessibility in a large organisation in the same way. There are 3 core parts. Compliance, education, and culture. If you lack any of these 3 things over a sustained period of time, the strategy is unsustainable and your ability to consistently deliver accessible services will burn out.

A venn diagram with 3 overlapping circles. The 3 circles are labelled: compliance, culture and education.

Defining a strategy for accessibility: Read full article

Back to blogging

Well, it’s been a while.

I haven’t published a blog post on my personal site for several years.

The exact reason, I’m actually unsure of, but I’m pretty sure it’s anxiety related.

Back to blogging: Read full article

Designing the impossible makes it possible

As an interaction designer, I hear a sentence at least once on every project I work on. “We can’t do that because [insert mediocre excuse here].”

A lot of the time this is because of technology restrictions. We can’t integrate with legacy systems. Or, we can, but the legacy system wants the information in a ridiculous format. So we have to change the design to ask for a mandatory middle name, where people have to write “none” in the box to progress. Urgh.

It’s easy to make a snap decision, bow to peer pressure and change the design. After all, we don’t want to waste our time designing something that’s not possible.

Only, that’s exactly what we should do.

Designing the impossible makes it possible: Read full article

What is it like to use a screen reader on an inaccessible website?

You enter the front-door of a building. Somewhere inside is some information you need, but you’ve no idea where it is.

It’s dark. Pitch black, in-fact. You cannot see your hand in front of your face.

The only way you can navigate this building is to use technology. You have a torch (or flashlight). The beam of light is narrow, about 1 metre in diameter.

You scan the room, inch by inch. You begin to build up a mental image of where stuff is, to try and orientate yourself in the room.

What is it like to use a screen reader on an inaccessible website?: Read full article

One-page-applications are not accessible

The biggest problem with one-page-applications, is they create a terrible experience for people using screen readers.

There is a cognitive issue. Users have to maintain a mental image map of the page in all it’s states. If they click something, and some new content appears. How does your user know what has changed? How do you make them understand what they cannot see? How do you orientate this to their mental map they have been building?

One-page-applications are not accessible: Read full article

What can Baloo teach us about design?

The idea of design-reuse has been around for many years. Walt Disney reused many scenes. They also reused entire characters. Cartoon creators called this reanimation. It’s the process of tracing over existing frames to save time and money.

You may not have noticed before, but Disney’s Baloo and Little John are almost identical. They were even voiced by the same person, Phil Harris.

An image of Baloo and Little John side by side. They are identical apart from clothes and colour

What can Baloo teach us about design?: Read full article