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indieweb carnival: march round-up

March has finally ended, and with it, another IndieWeb Carnival topic. This month, I hosted the carnival under the theme, Accessibility in the Small Web. Excluding my own, we saw 20 submissions in March, which I'm extremely grateful for, especially considering Manuel Moreale had 44 submissions last month. Which is frankly just insane, he's a legend for getting through all of those posts.

So thank you to the posters, thank you to Manuel Moreale for giving me reference material on how to organize this post, and thank you for reading this blog!

Without further ado, let's comb through these posts:

1. Accessibility from Sara Jakša

I think it was the Berlin's IndieWeb Camp. There were just a few of us, so Joschi ended out having a two hour practical session on the accessibility.

It was during this session, that I found out about the forced colours. In the Firefox, one can go to Setting, search for colours and pick the different colours. One can choose the background, foreground, unvisited links and visited links colours. And one can choose to override the colours for the websites.

Love this post because I too did not realize browsers had settings to override default colors. I knew extensions existed for overriding stylesheets, but I might give the "forced colors" setting a try to see if my browsing experience improves.

2. When web accessibility felt restrictive from V.H. Belvadi

Now with this design, Lighthouse hit 100 on all counts, which felt great. Lighthouse score showing 100 on performance, accessibility, best practices and SEO. Despite this I was weary. I had had enough experience with accessibility to know you could never check enough.

This is a great point. The author's site was hitting a perfect score with Google's Lighthouse product, but the second they turned to another tool to check their a11y score, it told a different story. Trusting one source can sometimes bite you when working through accessibility issues.

3. Complex images can paint a thousand words from Paul Watson

This seemed odd, so I took this question to social media, soliciting the first-hand experience of accessibility experts and people who actually use screen readers, and the results were unanimous: the supposed character limit is not true.

In this bit, the author is explaining how they took a piece of information they learned from one site, and fact checked it with another source. Similar to my last point above, you can never be too careful when taking a11y advice. There's a lot of it out there, and while most of it is good-intentioned, it's not always correct. When researching usability best-practices, always do your due diligence.

4. Being an Inclusive Being in 2024 from Andrei

Don’t load hundreds of megabytes of useless scripts, don’t send me the entire npm library in a minified request. I mean, look at this list of Javascript bloat. A small footprint helps a lot users with low end hardware, or coming from countries where broadband is scarce.

In this snippet, Andrei links off to one of my favorite blog posts I've read this year. Being cognizant of the devices your users are browsing with is a huge skill when it comes to being a more thoughtful webmaster. Most people are going to be using phones because they're cheaper and more widely-used than desktop computers. Which means cutting down on assets the user needs to download is going to save them time, battery life, and frustration, so make sure you're not making them download MBs of JavaScript.

5. Accessibility in the Small Web from Manuel Moreale

It’s a shame that so much of the web has become an unusable mess. At the same time though, it’s refreshing to see that a good chunk of the small web seems to be heading in the right direction: simpler websites, less complicated and more focused layouts.

Agreed. If you're ever feeling fatigued on the fact that most websites today are at least 3MB large, spend some time on blogs and personal sites and let these tiny sites wash over you.

6. Accessibility? You Just Walked Right Past It from Devastatia

Want accessibility? There's a minimal HTML version of every page of this site. It's called an RSS feed. Subscribe to my RSS feed! There are links to it on the front page, on the hamburger menu, and in the footer on every page of this site. I promise you it's easy to read on any reader you choose to read it on.

Most of this post is counter-productive to the goal of this month's theme but to each their own hah! Either way, this is a fair point. If you just want to work on something for yourself and don't care about making it accessible, but still offer an RSS feed, that's better than nothing!

7. Thoughts on accessibility in personal web from Juha-Matti Santala

One tech hack that I have to help make sure I don’t forget writing them is to have a custom CSS rule (using Stylus browser extension) that is active on localhost addresses and adds an orange outline on any element that is missing an alt text. This way, when I’m previewing my blog posts or new pages in the site in development mode, I see all the missing ones. This does not guarantee that they are good but at least it helps me spot the ones that are completely missing.

This is truly one trick that the haters don't want you to know. Honestly, this is one of the oldest tricks in the book for identifying pieces of your site that need to be looked at, but somehow I still always forget about it. Props to Juha-Matti for reminding us to work smarter, not harder.

8. Accessibility and Empathy from Yaidel

On this occasion I saw the prompt, and not knowing much about it, and not knowing where to start writing something about it, I considered not participating. How mischievous coincidences are! I decided a few days ago to educate myself on the subject of Web Design, since the code of my website (HTML and CSS) is only comparable to Frankenstein and my Emacs init.el.

When I came up with the idea of this carnival theme, I thought that if I could get just 1 person to go out of their way to educate themselves on a11y, I'd be satisfied with that win. Thanks for making the month a success, Yaidel!

9. this is the title of a blog post from Jess Driscoll

I'm a hearing person, but I love closed captions. I use them almost all the time I'm watching video. Sometimes it's because the sound design is subpar, and I'm struggling to hear. Or I'm watching something short on mute because I'm in public.

Subtitles are another important side of this conversation. To this point, I recommend watching Vox's video about why so many of us need subtitles these days. Subtitles should always be available, since the ability to hear depends on your hardware and how the audio was mixed, which is often subpar.

10. Accessibility notes from your headache-prone friend from Alex

Make your links big: never link on a single word (especially not « here » or another short word), try to link groups of words or even full sentences. It’s easier for Team Big Thumbs, and more readable.

So important. If you really want to put your links to the test, turn on a screen-reader, close your eyes, and just tab through your site. If you can't tell where you're being linked to, change the text inside the anchor tag. It's really that simple.

11. Revisiting my accessibility statement from Nick Simson

If you decide to publish an accessibility statement on your site, I recommend keeping a ‘Known Issues’ section. I add possible accessibility issues here as I become aware of them, and keeping these notes in public is a way to stay accountable to fixing them in a timely fashion.

This should be a reminder that you are one person, and can't possibly do it all. Nobody expects you to fix every a11y issue overnight and sometimes you just don't have the time. Consider putting a "known issues" section for things that either are out of your control or you don't have the bandwidth to fix.

12. European Accessibility Act from Murray Adcock

So, I sat down and read through the latest version of the technical spec behind the EAA – the catchily named EN 301 549 version 3.2.1 – to try and work it out. Having done that, I figured I'd write up an overview of the impact of the EAA for the web[1], mainly so I never have to read it all again 😂

I don't have much color to add here other than "thems the rules." Try giving this post a crack if you want to read about the guidelines in plain english.

13. On Math Equation Rendering and Accessibility Conflicts from VM

This is where MathML comes in: it is an extensible markup language (XML) for describing both the content and structure of mathematical notation on the internet. It has been a W3C recommendation since 1998 and an ISO standard since 2015.3 Most screen readers can parse MathML and read it aloud for low-vision users. Plus, MathML can be embedded into other XML formats like DocBook documentation and EPUB ebooks.

Math equation formatting on the Web is something I recently learned about through bearblog when they added support for it. Honestly, it just amazes me that there is yet another massive part of the Web that I'm learning about now, and how it has its own unique set of issues when it comes to being accessible for everyone.

14. Walk the Way from

There’s A TON to learn in web development. So much, that sometimes I feel it’s too easy to get stuck in the weeds. For example: Topics like accessibility, while meaning well, can sometimes be too much for a budding webkeeper to handle. It’s valuable to remember that: There’s nothing less accessible than your site not existing in the first place.

100% agreed. The purpose of this month was to celebrate accessibility, but for some people it can feel overwhelming, which is what I touched on in previous blog posts. I think if you aim to make your Website better, little-by-little, week-by-week, you are succeeding. There's no deadline when it comes to working on something that you own, and nobody should expect you to fix issues overnight.

15. the personal web made me re-think accessibility from Martín Morales

Then I met with QA team, who told me: what if the user has a non-touch screen? what is the focus behavior of those input fields when there is not a digital keyboard?. Accessibility was the first thing that came to mind for me, even though I had never considered it.

A good reminder that accessibility also applies to work projects (if you work in Web developement). Be like this QA person and give your co-workers a hard time about the usability of their work!

16. IndieWeb Carnival 2024: Accessibility on the Personal Web from starbreaker

If it doesn’t work in Lynx, it doesn’t work at all. If it doesn’t work on 56K dialup, it doesn’t work at all.

starbreaker's posts are always a good read because while he often takes an extreme side in terms of best-practice, there's still much to be learned from this! Like I said before, much of the world is on low-speed internet and only equipped with smart phones, so if you start with the assumption that everyone has bad Internet, you will make much smarter decisions when creating a Website. Period.

17. Accessibility on the small web from Zinzy

The right questions are these. What’s the difference between a content-centered website, and one where form is content, where non-words carry much of the intended meaning?

This is a question that gets brought up frequently in the Personal Web. "What if I'm creating a site to express myself?" I think caring more about the creative aspect is valid - people just want to make art, and they aren't concerned with who's visting their sites. Web development is simply an artistic expression for some, and I think there's value in appreciating a site for what it is and moving along if it's not usable to you.

18. Accessibility and the small web from Grigor

I've seen some fantastic websites in places like neocities, with information organized in very creative ways, which are also visually very appealing, but that fail (at least my) expectations upon pressing TAB: focus indicator is nowhere visible, and active elements never receive focus, to name only the most immediately apparent problems.

This touches on my last note about Zinzy's post from above. Neocities is prime real-estate for sites that are made with the explicit intention to be artsy. I agree with the author here that if you have the means to make your site accessible, you should, but sometimes as the user, you just have to take the site at face value and let people have their fun.

19. Accessibility, Part 1: Why I Care from eladnarra

"Not everything is for everyone." The idea is that some websites have artistic goals and techniques, and that adding a warning or giving the option to change or remove them, even for accessibility, would compromise that.

Going deeper on the "my website is for my eyes only" conversation, elandnarra brings up a great point that if you are creating a site that is meant to be purely an artistic expression, a warning message would be an easy way to make clear to users early-on that the site has usability issues. This is just one of the low-hanging fruit-type features you can implement, while you learn more about usability barriers.

20. Great User Experiences For All from Anthony Ciccarello

The best people to learn from are those who live with a disability themselves so find other people on the internet who are eager to share their experiences.

This is underrated advice. At my previous job, one of the developers on my team went out his way to reach out to disabled users to get their feedback, which I thought was inspiring. There's an abundance of information to absorb from disabled people online - you just have to go looking for it.

And that's all 20 posts! Again, thanks to everyone who submitted and thank you to the people who read some or all of the blogs this month. Now, go check out April's theme on being "Good Enough".

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