Accessibility Team Meeting Notes: October 22, 2021

These are the weekly notes for the AccessibilityAccessibility Accessibility (commonly shortened to a11y) refers to the design of products, devices, services, or environments for people with disabilities. The concept of accessible design ensures both “direct access” (i.e. unassisted) and “indirect access” meaning compatibility with a person’s assistive technology (for example, computer screen readers). ( Team meeting that happens on Fridays. You can read the full transcript on our Slack channel and find the meeting’s agenda here.

Results from bug-scrub and meeting time change poll

The results are officially in. The new bug-scrub time will be 16:00 UTC and the meeting time will be 17:00 UTC. The first bug-scrub and meeting to be affected by this change will be Friday, November 12, 2021 16:00 UTC.

Nominations for new team reps

It is that time of year again when the Accessibility team is looking for new team reps. @alexstine is coming up on a year and @ryokuhi on sixteen months. Check out Team Rep Nominations post for some background.

This is the process that was followed before and that will be implemented again for the process.

  1. A call for Team Reps post was published: add a comment to this post to nominate yourself or someone you think is fit for the role.
  2. We’ll leave the post open for comments for a couple of weeks. During the next but one meeting, we’ll review nominations and, in case there are more than two candidates, we’ll organize a poll to select the next Team Reps.
  3. We’ll leave the poll open for one extra week, so that the new Team Reps will be chosen by November 19.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out @alexstine or @ryokuhi on SlackSlack Slack is a Collaborative Group Chat Platform The WordPress community has its own Slack Channel at either via DM or in the accessibility channel.

Accessibility improvements to the Media Library regarding infinite scroll

In response to a comment on infinite scroll by @priethor, @joedolson left some notes during the chat, which are reported below.

Navigating items with arrow keys, being dependent on relative visual location, are difficult for screen reader users to use. Arrow key navigation of a grid is spatial, and spatial relationships change based on viewport, so they lose pattern repeatability for screen reader users between devices. It’s easy to get lost, because there’s no real point of reference or order.
What I’d like to see in a new media library is to give list & grid views equal importance. Right now, the grid view is extremely dominant: there’s no list view available anywhere outside of the library, so using media is heavily dependent on navigating the grid.
The media library, as it stands, doesn’t offer a lot of flexibility in navigation, so all users are forced into the same interaction set. Media absolutely benefits from a visual navigation, since it is a predominantly visual medium; but since the people using media are not necessarily able to benefit from visual navigation, there needs to be a mode of navigation that is better suited to those needs.
For example, if what you’re looking for is a Word document in the current media grid, the visual layout is really not helpful at all; visual scanning provides minimal benefit.
Finding a way to make a fundamentally spatial/visual navigation usable for all is a limiting approach; it’s always going to be a fairly crappy experience for people who don’t benefit from spatial/visual information. While it’s beneficial to have keyboard navigation within a spatial grid, the accessibility problem is communicating meaningful information about current position within that grid to non-visual users. It’s better overall to have multiple navigation methods, so that users can take advantage of the mechanisms most suitable to the type of media they’re handling and their preferred method of locating media.
The crucial thing for accessibility is that there is an accessible way to accomplish every task. It is not necessary for every method of accomplishing that task to be equally accessible to all users.
With the addition of an effective alternative view, the ability to flex other options in the grid view increases significantly.
In summary:
The fundamental point is that trying to find a perfect solution to the grid navigation is solving the wrong problem.

As @priethor wasn’t able to attend the meeting, the topic will be considered again when he’ll be able to join for one of the next meetings or asynchronously.

GutenbergGutenberg The Gutenberg project is the new Editor Interface for WordPress. The editor improves the process and experience of creating new content, making writing rich content much simpler. It uses ‘blocks’ to add richness rather than shortcodes, custom HTML etc. adding an announcement on formatting change for screen readers

@alexstine asked for feedback and some extra testing from screen reader users on the related pull request.

Open floor

Next week there won’t be an extra bug-scrub in view of the 5.9 release; maybe an extra bug-scrub will be held during the following week, but it’ll be decided during the next weekly meeting.

Given the large participation during the extra bug-scrub held last Wednesday, it was proposed to change the bug-scrub time once a month, but this will be reconsidered after the meeting time change.