The Importance of Building in Accessibility from the Start

W11     Start Time : 13:30     End Time : 14:00

Accessibility is often seen as something expensive and as a necessary evil when building software. We understand that a sub-population of our users have special needs, whether that be in the form of visual impairness, loss of hearing, or having a hard time understanding complex texts and information.

However yet again, it is often seen as something expensive that we should, or even must apply in terms of the laws that govern us.

In my talk I want to flip this image around and show just how relatively easy it is building accessibility into our products, how we testers quite easily can test from an accessibility stand-point and what standards such as WCAG there is or which tools that can be used in terms of screen readers and contrast checkers.

I will also show what testing we can do in a manual way and which accessibility checking we can do in an automated fashion using free tools out there such as html-validate as an example. I will base my talk on the work I’ve done in the Swedish agency for social benefits and how we are bound by law to make our self-services accessible over the web.

I will furthermore show to you the different benefits that comes out of this relatively easy work if we do it from the start, not only as a benefit for our users that have accessibility needs, but also how this leads to a much better experience for all our users and how we are forced to take certain important discussions up-front in our projects which leads to greater clarity in terms of our requirements and how the software should be built. This is something we benefit from as an organisation many times over as opposed to us trying to add accessibility onto the finished product at the end, just like testing in general, security or performance.

If built in straightaway it becomes something much less expensive than when we are forced to do it at the end before release.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Accessibility testing is not scary
  2. It is possible to automate some of the accessibility testing
  3. How building in accessibility from the start leads to a better product for all the users


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  • Speaker


    Kristoffer Nordström - Test Developer, Northern Test Consulting AB, Sweden

    Kristoffer Nordström is a test developer who has worked with telecommunications systems, distributed compilers, cloud technology, smartphone OS development, embedded systems, and much more. As a testing devotee and a member of the context-driven test community, with his own company Kristoffer consults and teaches the course Python for Testers because he believes in tools-assisted sapient testing. Over the years he has seen the immense value of testers learning how to distill large amounts of information into the so-called “big picture,” and he advocates for learning the soft skills necessary to collaborate with the people making up the organization. Apart from being an avid software tester, Kristoffer is also a sci-fi reader, lamp maker, and craftsman.

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