Strange Loop

Beyond Alt-Text: Trends in Online Accessibility

If you're like the 2016 version of me, then you think you have a decent handle on web accessibility. You put alt attributes on all your images (though you don't give much thought to the actual text) and you make sure your sites can be used with a keyboard (except for overlays sometimes). Then the day comes when you're given a 100 page accessibility audit from a client and a deadline for all issues to be fixed. What is high contrast mode, you ask yourself, and why does it matter if these links are implemented in a list?

The fact is that we take for granted that people are able to use the sites we create. As governments pass legislation enforcing accessible standards, the web is playing catch up to the physical spaces we use every day. User interfaces are becoming more sophisticated, and it's easy for developers & designers without disabilities to overlook the simple things that many rely on to make sense of your site.

In this presentation I'll share some of the hard lessons I've learned over the past few years, from both a development and a project management perspective. Topics discussed will include an overview of common accessibility problems, tools I use to validate accessibility issues, and best practices for training your team.

Ian Forrest

Ian Forrest


Ian is an Engineering Manager based out of Toronto. Currently he works at BiblioCommons, where he leads the development of a multi-site WordPress application used by public libraries in over twenty cities including St. Louis, Chicago, and Boston. He has also had some successful side projects including, a CSS generator for animated gradients. In his free time he enjoys watching old movies and hopelessly cheering for local sports teams.