Coding Accessibility: Developing Our Inclusive Future | GitHub

Coding Accessibility: Developing Our Inclusive Future | GitHub

Accessibility Importance and Benefits

  • Accessibility goes beyond ramps and braille, benefiting everyone and enriching society.
  • Building accessibility from the beginning is more efficient and cost-effective.
  • Including people with disabilities in the building and design process ensures accessibility.
  • Accessible software allows people with disabilities to work, learn, and participate in leisure activities.

GitHub's Mission and Accessibility Efforts

  • GitHub's mission is to empower people with disabilities to build technology by removing barriers, innovating for access, and advocating through examples.
  • Ed Summers, head of accessibility at GitHub, emphasizes the importance of accessibility for everyone, leading to better usability and inclusivity.
  • Open-source software lowers barriers for people with disabilities to learn software development and contribute to the open-source community.

Technology and Accessibility

  • Technology is a tool, not the solution; selecting the right tool and person to use it effectively is crucial.
  • Technology can be designed to meet diverse disabilities by adopting user-sensitive design and offering various accessibility options.
  • Digital technology is adaptable, making it easier to design for diverse disabilities compared to the built environment.
  • Curb cuts with tactile strips exemplify universal design customizable through digital technology.
  • AI, such as GitHub Copilot, assists developers with disabilities by providing code suggestions and answering open-ended questions.

Accessibility in Software Development Education

  • Software developers should understand accessibility policies and guidelines and incorporate accessibility training into mainstream software engineering education.
  • Raising awareness about accessibility is crucial, as many software engineers lack experience with it.
  • Incorporating accessibility components into student projects and providing hands-on experiences can cultivate considerate software engineers.

Promoting Accessibility in Society

  • Accessibility should be considered in all aspects of technology use, including workplaces, places of worship, and social venues.
  • Advocates should promote accessible venues, procurement processes, and standards.
  • Including people with disabilities in technology planning and development ensures their needs are considered.
  • Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies have potential for people with cognitive impairments and those needing to explore inaccessible places.

Accessibility Training and Resources

  • Improved marketing and outreach for accessibility training are needed, as many professionals lack awareness and knowledge about accessibility.
  • Accessibility training should be foundational and integrated into company practices, like computer security training.
  • Shifting left in accessibility means addressing issues early in development, rather than fixing them later.
  • Teach Access provides training and resources on accessibility to new professionals.
  • The Industry Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP) offers certifications in accessibility core competencies.
  • AccessU is a four-day training event dedicated to accessibility.

Allies and Advocacy

  • Allies can advocate for accessibility in undergraduate programs and encourage companies to create inclusive environments.
  • The ReadME Project on GitHub has an article dedicated to accessibility.
  • Companies should welcome and support employees, encouraging them to disclose disabilities and request accommodations.

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