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Making microservices accessible


The term ‘microservice’ is becoming more and more popular when you look across the Digital landscape of a lot of big organisations.

Several Government departments, and several large organisations I've spoken to recently, are all looking at this approach; because, if executed well, it saves time and money, and they create consistency for users.

However, as more and more organisations try to leverage microservices, the pitfalls of accessibility are perhaps not being fully considered.

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Partially supported is not supported


As you probably know by now, any software which is built or procured by a Public Sector Body must meet the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 to the standard of AA.

What I'm really tired of, is reading conformance reports from third party suppliers who are trying to push their inaccessible products for large sums of money under the guise that it is accessible.

These chancers often state that some of the criteria is 'partially supported', 'supported with exceptions' or any number of different ways to carefully word the fact that it does not support a particular accessibility feature.

And, it's not just one company, they're all doing it.

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Using the language attribute to make your website accessible


There's a couple of criteria in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines that I see catching people out time and time again. 3.1.1 Language of page and 3.1.2 Language of parts.

These two criteria are important, because they help screen readers to read out the language correctly. If your page is set to English, but some of your content is not English, then the screen reader is just going to attempt to pronounce it in English anyway, which can lead to some pretty weird results.

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My ADHD and me


"Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder." I was 35 when the Psychiatrist confirmed it.

I felt conflicted. I'd spent years in counselling trying to figure out the inside of my own head. I thought I had a pretty good understanding of who I was. Now, I doubted if I knew myself at all.

I knew I had quirks. Looking at them now, some of them are textbook ADHD traits. But I also struggle a lot with Impostor Syndrome, Anxiety and Depression. This obviously made my ADHD difficult to diagnose because a lot of the traits can also be attributed to these comorbid conditions.

Because of this, ADHD was not something I'd ever really considered. It was actually my partner, Eliza, who first suggested that's what it could be.

I guess, like most of society, I had a preconceived idea of what ADHD looked like; and it wasn't particularly positive.

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Accessibility and font sizes


It's now 2022, and I'm still seeing far too many websites using static pixel sizes for fonts. Even big hitters like Facebook do this.

Stop it!

Using the wrong units of measurement in your Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) can be a barrier for many visually impaired users.

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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!

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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.

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Axe-core vs PA11Y


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?

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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.

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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.

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