W3C, the World Wide Web Consortium, released a new draft of the WAI-ARIA 1.3 specification on 23 January 2024.
If you're not familiar with it, WAI stands for the Web Accessibility Initiative, and ARIA stands for Accessible Rich Internet Applications.
It's a set of standards created to improve the accessibility of the products we build for the web, and it includes details about HTML attributes you can use to make content better for assistive technology. Some common ones you might have come across are aria-label, aria-live, and aria-describedby.
With the new draft of 1.3, we can get a bit of an idea as to what is coming, and how we can prepare for implementing and testing these features.
Many organisations seem to view accessibility through a narrow lens. They do not recognise the breadth and depth of expertise that is required to create a well rounded accessibility role.
We had a similar situation 10 to 15 years ago, when start-ups were constantly trying to hire a single person that could do visual design, user experience (UX) design and software development.
This results in bloated job adverts hunting for somebody who likely does not exist in the job market. A mythical creature. A legend. Their reputation transcends the entire industry, yet nobody has managed to find a real one. Hence the term 'unicorn'.
Web Chat relies on real time information and notifications, so you're going to need to use several features of Aria (Accessible Rich Internet Applications).
In this post, I'm going to cover in detail which of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) you're going to need to consider, and some examples of how you can use advanced attributes to give screen reader users the best possible experience.
The hidden function of the 'check your answers' pattern'
A friend of mine, stated that usually when we add steps to a process, people get concerned that it will add friction and lead to fewer conversions. But, he argued that it is even more costly to the business to deal with mistakes, and therefore we should use the check your answers pattern.
I agree. There is always a user need to make sure the information they have entered is correct, and a check your answers page is the easiest way to do that. That is it's primary function.
But, what I want to cover in a bit more depth, is the secondary function which often gets overlooked: The pause!
I'm seeing more and more people using ChatGPT, but also, being weirdly secretive about it. They're augmenting their own work, increasing their knowledge and productivity, but not really sharing how they suddenly appear to have stepped up a gear.
There appears to be a common fear that by admitting you use ChatGPT, your work no longer has value, that you somehow look less smart, or that you're now cheating when giving advice. But this couldn't be further from the truth, because ChatGPT is just a tool!
The European Accessibility Act and its impact on the private sector.
Learn the differences between the EAA, EU Accessibility Directive, Public Sector Bodies Accessibility Regulations, and EN 301 549, and discover top tips to prepare your business for compliance with the EAA.