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What does accessible code mean for the end user?

Late at night, Amir get’s a phone call from his neighbour Ally. “Please, can you help me again? I’m ordering groceries online, but this stupid website… I don’t understand what to do and my screen reader won’t read what’s on the images! I haven’t got food for over two days now!” Amir rings her doorbell and together they make sure that her groceries are ordered. Ally has gone fully blind not so long ago and is not yet able to do her own shopping at the grocery store. But online, she can! Or can't she?

The significance of accessible code

The situation above is just an example of what can happen if a website or app hasn’t got accessible code, alternative texts for images in this case. For most people with sight, it’s probably a piece of cake to do grocery shopping online, or to order someone a present from a webshop. But you as a developer shouldn’t only write code for people without disabilities, in any form. For Ally, ordering online isn’t just something fun or easy. It’s essential! She should be able to use such important websites with her screen reader and voice recognition, because then she can participate in this society on her own. She will then become more and more independent of others, giving her a better quality of life.

Write accessible code for everyone

Of course, you as a developer are not only coding for people like Ally, who have a disability. You do that for a whole variety of people, including yourself and your colleagues. Because it makes sense to develop a website as logical as possible, right? We think so too! Writing accessible code is just good practice. It’s not something you do for that one particular person who has a disability, but because it makes your code better as a whole. It is just the way you should write code.

Practice makes perfect

There are a lot of things you can do to make your code more accessible. For example by making sure you always write code in a logical way. Reflect the reading order in the code order, this also helps your colleagues who are working on a project with you. You can also give focus to your content by making use of headings. These headings enable your user to scan of tab through your website by eye, but also with a keyboard and screen reader. Also, work with ARIA (shorthand for Accessible Rich Internet Applications). ARIA is a set of HTML-attributes which help to make web content and web applications more accessible to people with disabilities. 

There is a lot to learn about writing accessible code and what it means for your end user. Need some help with that? We got you, follow our course “Accessible code (coming soon)”! Are you also interested in accessible design? We have some great tips for you which you can read in our previous blog “Why every designer should design accessible”.

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