Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Take Away the Pictures: 30 Days of Accessibility Testing

The Ministry of Testing has declared that May should be "30 Days of Accessibility Testing". As in the days of yore when I used to take on these challenges and blog regularly, I'm in the mood to get back to doing that. Therefore, I am looking to write a post every day around this topic and as a way to address each line of their checklist.

All right, post nine for Day 9. All caught up :).

9. Disable images in the browser. Can you understand the page?
Seems the only fair way to do this is to look at my own page again. I think it will be OK, but let's see if I'm good about my design choices:

Testhead Page without Images


Well, on the whole, that's not too bad. Notable things I "see":


There's no indication there's a graphic at the top of the page (my "Tachikoma Interrogation" image is just rendered as a black background. It's decorative, it's an inside joke to readers of my blog, but it's not an essential design element. Alt tag or something indicating what it is would be a plus, but its absence does not have any significant effect on the content of the page.

There are a number of little images that are normally represented as Edit boxes. Now they appear as squares with no content. For a viewer that would not be relevant, as they would not have permissions to edit the page, but if I were the owner and I wanted to make adjustments, the images don't tell me what they represent or why they might matter.

The LinkedIn button has alt text.

The Twitter app that I have embedded has no indication of the images that go with the tweets, but that's not all that important. I care more about the tweets being available and readable than whether or not the pictures are there. Besides, that's out of my control as I don't own the widget code (or do I? Need to look into that).

The On Facebook Widget has been rendered unrecognizable. Again, I don't have control over the widget to the best of my knowledge.

The On Google+ grid just shows a table of squares and no indication what the squares are.

The image showing the cover of Inclusive Design Patters book appears with a descriptive text.

The Social promotion tools are not accessible, they are missing.

Several other images that don't give any indication as to what they are.

Granted, that's just one post. I'm sure if I went far enough back in time I'd find a lot more, but just that one page gives an indication as to how many images creep into pages. Without a way to describe them, or alert individuals that they are decorative and don't add any semantic meaning to the site, it's hard to tell what they are or might represent. Looks like I have some template diving to do to see if I can do something about the number of blank images that appear. If I can't and the widgets are out of my control, then perhaps it's time to consider an alternative way to display that information.
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