Hey everyone! Happy New Year! I hope you are enjoying your holiday.

So I am working on improving the accessibility of the Ushahidi platform. Well, what would be the first step? Making a list of all the accessibility concerns present. So in this blog, I would be writing about how I found the accessibility issues present in the website and ways to solve them.

What is accessibility?

Web accessibility means that websites, tools, and technologies are designed and developed so that people with disabilities can use them. More specifically, people can: perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with the Web.

Still, confused? So in easy terms, accessibility is the practice of making your websites usable by as many people as possible(As cited by MDN in its accessibility definition). We traditionally think of this as being about people with disabilities, but the practice of making sites accessible also benefits other groups such as those using mobile devices, or those with slow network connections. We can also think of accessibility as treating everyone the same, and giving them equal opportunities, no matter what their ability or circumstances are.

Finding the accessibility concerns

Well so to find the accessibility concerns Anna2 suggested I create a checklist of all the accessibility features. So I searched on the net, read some blogs, and finally prepared a checklist of all the major accessibility concerns any website can have. She also suggested a course I should take a look at, which I found quite interesting. (Suggestion)

Here’s a great blog that I loved: The ADA Checklist by Kris Rivenburgh and a book that one can download from accessible.org which is amazing and I am still reading it.

Lighthouse is another great thing to check for accessibility on your webpage. It gives us some improvements and also a checklist kind of thing to manually check on any page.

Some of the key issues found were regarding the inconsistency in the tab order and some focus traps present in the platform. Why is that so? Well, I think because we don’t follow very strict coding guidelines and therefore many elements which should be buttons are represented by the anchor tag, making the inconsistency.

What next?

We made a list of all the accessibility concerns that we will be adding as issues on Github. We are labeling all the issues with the area concerned, so you can find any accessibility issue with the theme: accessibility label on it. We also created a project using Github projects for accessibility and we would be tracking all the issues using that project. Make sure to check it out if you want to contribute. And yes Ushahidi is an amazing community, you would surely find someone hanging around in the community chat or even if you comment on some issue you would get immediate responses.