Slides: Frontend United 2017

Posted on Tuesday, 30 May 2017 by Léonie Watson

Frontend United is a conference for web designers and developers, held this year in Athens. I went along to talk about JavaScript and ARIA.

My talk borrowed the classic quote “You’re only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!”, from The Italian Job starring Michael Cain. It looked at ways to avoid blowing things up with JavaScript and ARIA, when you really didn’t mean to.

There were some great questions from the audience:

Is there a convention for informing screen reader users about JavaScript shortcuts?
There isn’t one that I know of. Twitter displays a notification to screen reader users that is hidden visually, and that does work for screen reader users at least. It would be good if browsers could indicate the availability of keyboard shortcuts to everyone – unless you know that the question mark is the keyboard convention for discovering which shortcuts are available, there’s a good chance sighted people will miss out on the shortcuts too.
When I test with Jaws and NVDA, how do I get them both to do the same thing?
This is a bit like the CSS cross-browser compatibility problem we had a few years ago. People would fret if a site didn’t look exactly the same in two different browsers, but eventually we realised it didn’t matter as long as the site looked good in both browsers. It’s the same with screen readers – the question isn’t how to get Jaws and NVDA to behave the same way, but to make sure the site works well with both screen readers.

About Léonie Watson

Léonie (@LeonieWatson) is Director of Developer Communications at TPG, co-chair of the W3C Web Platform Working Group working on HTML and Web Components, writer for Smashing magazine, SitePoint.com and Net magazine, and regular conference speaker.

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