Read Accessible Vue

Chapter 7: Keep on learning

Like the modern JavaScript environment, web app accessibility is a fast-moving target. This has directly to do with the incredible pace of web development nowadays. Where more possibilities emerge due to technical progress, more usage strategies appear as well, and at the same time, these new features for some people could be barriers for others.

Admittedly, both accessibility and web development have parts that are staying the same – robustness and future-proofing are web accessibility principles. This book aims to put emphasis on those basic parts of Vue.js accessibility.

However, this alone is not enough. You need to be aware of the streams of development in web dev, web apps, Vue and their intersection with accessibility (therefore people, and their usage strategies) as well. Over time, I found the following people to be very helpful and educational:

Follow these people

Web Dev and Web Apps in general

Find below many individuals from whom I learned so much about accessibility, processes, problem patterns and solution strategies, inclusive code and - last but not least - communication.

Look into React

One could say, React has a certain advantage when it comes to accessibility. Starting points of how to build inclusive web apps and pointers towards the most basic building blocks have been part of the official documentation for a long time (Vue just caught up lately in this regard with an “Accessibility” section in their official documentation). Also, there are some accessible libraries and initiatives already around, one of them Reach UI. Among other things, the team behind Reach (Ryan Florence and Michael Jackson) built Reach Router, a router library for React that takes basic care of focus management upon route transition (read more in Chapter 5 about the importance of this). The fantastic news regarding Reach Router was that this project would be archived - because Reach Router and React Router will merge. Although React does not do “first class plugins” like Vue.js, this is excellent news.

Because React has been around for a longer time than Vue – and because, let’s face it - React is still more popular, many companies have committed to building their UI libraries React-based. A part of them open-sourced their work, and an even more amazing part wrote their UI library with accessibility, standards, and best practices in mind. Among them are the Cauldron collection of components by Deque and the Design System of the Australian Government. Also, BaseWeb by Uber is open source and considered inclusive.

It is always great when large Virtual DOM Frameworks like Angular, React, and Vue inspire each other. It brings forward modern web development as a whole. This is even more valid regarding accessibility - when the Vue community learns from React, that itself learned from Angular, nobody loses. It much more opens the possibility that the ones who count at the end, namely users, win.

Follow the development of standards

Not only frameworks, libraries and user agents are evolving. The same is true for standards, specs and APIs as well. Here are a few worth watching:

AOM

The motivation for the Accessible Object Model, or AOM is the following, as stated in its explainer:

Web apps that push the boundaries of what’s possible on the web struggle to make them accessible because the APIs aren’t yet sufficient - in particular, they are much less expressive than the native APIs that the browser communicates with.

In concrete terms, that means that the AOM is intended to help developers with:

All of this combined could be a really convenient API for developers who know this form of convenience from other languages. That’s why it is an exciting concept worth following. For this, I recommend watching the aom repository of the Web Incubator Community Group. Further, please follow Hidde de Vries on Twitter (@hdv) and subscribe to his blog. He’s a freelance accessibility specialist and, while not limited to the Accessibility Object Model, he wrote a great primer on the topic.

ARIA 1.2

ARIA 1.2 is, at the time of writing, in the working draft stage, which means still open for feedback and capable of changing the specification based on the feedback received. As it looks now, ARIA 1.2 will introduce new roles (e.g. blockquote, caption, code and paragraph) while also refining new properties as aria-disabled or aria-expanded regarding their valid usage on elements. To stay updated, the safest bet is to watch the corresponding GitHub repo. But like all the other topics mentioned in this section: Subscribing to the folks listed above should ensure that you don’t miss significant developments.

Join the accessibility community

One great place to meet the worldwide accessibility community, to stay informed on developments, share resources and pieces of advice about anything accessibility-related is the Web A11y Slack. The channel was founded a few years ago by Marcy Sutton and it is the most crowded and vivid accessibility community that I know of. It is full of specialized sub-channels, plenty of knowledge bits regarding technologies, approaches, testing, laws and certifications - to name a few. Because of spam reasons, the slack channel is invite-only. If you’re interested in joining the channel, nevertheless, hit me up at marcus@accessible-vue.com.

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