Building accessible apps and websites

New IBM Equal Access Toolkit integrates accessibility into your development workflow

Maika Möbus
© Shutterstock / Viktoria Kurpas

Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2020 is tomorrow, on May 21st—so let’s take a look at IBM’s Equal Access Toolkit that launched this week and see how it can help improve app and website accessibility. It takes the different phases of development into account and provides developers with guidance and tools.

On the IBM Developer Blog, the launch of the open source Equal Access Toolkit has been announced in light of the upcoming Global Accessibility Awareness Day. IBM refers to the WebAIM Million study, in which the top 1,000,000 home pages were analyzed and over 98% of them were found to have a detectable accessibility error in 2020. The most common failures turned out to be low contrast text and missing alternative text for images.

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So, let’s see how IBM’s new toolkit can help improve this situation.

Equal Access Toolkit

IBM’s Equal Access Toolkit is designed to support developers in creating more accessible websites and applications right from the start—by implementing accessibility considerations directly into the workflow. The toolkit consists of two parts.

The first component of the Equal Access Toolkit is a public set of phase-based guidelines for all members of a team creating an enterprise application or website. The phases are divided into plan, design, develop, verify, and launch.

The Accessibility Checker, which is the second part of the toolkit, checks web-based components or solutions for accessibility issues. It is available as a browser extension for Chrome and Firefox or in the form of plug-ins and modules for Node.js and Karma via npm.

The Equal Access Toolkit is available at IBM, and the IBM blog post illustrates how it works. The tools can be found on GitHub.

SEE ALSO: UX and DevOps: “Every app you uninstalled probably had UX failures”

Global Accessibility Awareness Day

Global Accessibility Awareness Day is taking place for the ninth time this year on May 21st, 2020, as always on the third Thursday of May. To find out more about the current state of digital accessibility and this year’s events, which have of course shifted to online events due to the COVID-19 pandemic, head over to the Global Accessibility Awareness Day website.

Maika Möbus
Maika Möbus has been an editor for Software & Support Media since January 2019. She studied Sociology at Goethe University Frankfurt and Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz.

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