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Webform Accessibility @ Design4Drupal

· Drupal,Webform,Accessibility,Design4Drupal

Putting together my presentation about Webform Accessibility for Design4Drupal proved to be more challenging than I anticipated. I proposed this session to force myself to begin to address accessibility in the Webform module for Drupal 8. I mistakenly thought that I could do some research and become an accessibility expert. I assumed learning about accessibility was the same as learning a new programming language - you read a book, review the docs, write some code, throw out some code, refactor other code, learn about design patterns and - voila! - you now know a new programming language. I was wrong - getting up to speed on accessibility is very challenging.

Learning about accessibility can be overwhelming

Between screen readers barking text at you and massive well-thought-out guidelines, I discovered that understanding accessibility could be overwhelming. I thought I could enable VoiceOver, the screen reader built into OSX, and start using it. Instead, I was only able to digest VoiceOver in small five minute bites, trying to reckon one of the most challenging pieces of software I have ever used. I found myself empathizing with anyone with a disability attempting to navigate a website. Frankly, many people with disabilities are likely forced to give up trying to browse websites that don't care about accessibility.

My experience with just using a tool to assist with accessibility made me want to give up.

Why do I care about accessibility?

My difficulty loomed large enough that I considered coping out and seeing if I could just do a general Webform presentation at Design4Drupal. There are three other accessibility related sessions scheduled, and I am willing to assume that these presentations are going to be more thorough and educational. But that thought nagged at me and I wasn’t so sure I wanted to relent in defeat. My hesitation made me ask myself why I was doing a presentation about accessibility in the first place, and the answer became the below slide in my presentation.

About Me & Accessibility - I know accessibility is important. I chose to ignore it for years.  I now have a responsibility to address it.

I realized that I had a responsibility to address accessibility and I was determined to make a presentation that explains how I can discuss this topic. This led to the next slide and rendered an unexpected central theme to my presentation.

We don't have to accessibility experts. We just need to care about accessibility.

Of course, the purpose of my presentation is to begin the ongoing process of addressing accessibility within the Webform module for Drupal 8.

Learn more about accessibility

If you can make it to Design4Drupal, please attend my presentation and/or the three other presentations about accessibility.

If you can't make it to my presentation, you are in luck because one of the things I do to prepare and practice my presentation is record it. You can watch my rehearsal presentation and review my slides below. If nothing else, it’ll show that while I am no expert, I do care.

Get involved with accessibility

The most important thing that I want people to take away from my presentation is that they need to care about accessibility. You don't need to be expert to get involved.

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