Less than one month ago, WPCampus put the capstone on six months of work aimed at providing the development community with an audit of accessibility issues present in the Gutenberg editor of WordPress. The director of WPCampus, Rachel Cherry, joins us in today’s episode to review the audit and what it means for the development community at large.
- Gutenberg Accessibility Audit: Executive Report (PDF)
- Gutenberg Accessibility Audit: Technical Report (PDF)
- Integrating Accessibility Into Your Development Lifecycle
- What Can Be Learned From The Gutenberg Accessibility Situation?
- The WPCampus Gutenberg Accessibility Audit
- WPCampus’ Gutenberg Accessibility Audit Finds “Significant and Pervasive Accessibility Problems”
- WPCampus Releases Results of the Gutenberg Accessibility Audit
The following is a machine-generated transcript of this episode. It will contain errors until it has been reviewed and edited, and we apologize for the difficulty that may cause for screen readers. Do you want to help us speed up our transcribing process? Consider sponsoring an episode.
Hey everybody, I want to welcome you to our show. This show is called the drunken UX podcast and I am your host, co host. Damn it, I had it. I was gonna come in saying I was the co host and I screwed it up. I let the cadence get to me. I was sitting in my head I was thinking about this Joe Rogan thing that that’s going around where an AI system emulated Joe Rogan’s voice they, they analyze, like hundreds of hours of Joe Rogan’s podcast and generated a computerized version of him and it was frighteningly good. Wait, wait, wait, is it where
an actual AI actually analyzes voice? Or was this a thing? It’s like, we analyze the thousand hours? I was worried.
No, no, no. Like they they had a machine learning system go in and remove the audio to like generate waveforms that do blood like, you know, like in sci fi when you know, you know, initiate self destruct authorization for car Delta seven, and you but you need the voiceprint. Right, you need the right voice for it. So what they did was they generated a system that unlike you know, you listen to Siri or Alexa or Google or whatever, and you know, they’ve got the kind of not totally human sounding voice.
Yeah, it was any Valley.
It was that but better. Interesting. It wasn’t quite as angry or energized as Joe Rogan but
computer drunk right or stoned?
Well, that’s that’s their business. I handle. I handle regular drunk just fine. Hey, Anybody? Anybody everybody. You’re listening to drunk new x podcast. This is episode number 37. We’re going to be going over the Gutenberg accessibility audit with a everybody’s favorite WP campus person, Rachel cherry. She is here on the other microphone across the table from me, but not really kind of a virtual table. I don’t know how this system works. Save Aaron.
I’m your other host, Aaron. And I’m also here with the VIP canvas. Rachel cherry. It’s weird. You’re too. It’s so strange.
The irony of this is right. So Rachel is joining us from Ithaca this evening. And Aaron is in Ithaca. But Aaron, I don’t think you’re gonna see Rachel Right.
I mean, it’s like a small but not that small.
And so next week is the web accessibility summit. So Rachel’s coming down to southwest Missouri for that, and I’m going to that, and I will actually get to see Rachel.
This is like the link is like the Lincoln Kennedy thing.
But yeah, yeah, it’s a very strange amalgamation of timing and people. Get the the normal well, crap out of the way. First off, if you liked the drunken UX podcast, if you enjoy it, we do go thank our sponsors, new cloud over at New cloud com slash drunken UX. They do interactive maps and have a back end and do illustrations, and have some other neat accessibility stuff that they’re going to be launching at the accessibility summit for the first time. That’ll be something to go check out there on Twitter and shared some stuff about that earlier today.
Speaking of Twitter, tweets, tweets, check us out on the Twitters at tracking UX, and also Facebook. And don’t forget about Instagram’s techniques podcast, and be sure to come over to drunk UX comm slash slack and come chat with us on there. Shout out to Jonathan and Justin em. I am drinking. Something that Justin recommended.
What’s that? Well, rum. I remember this conversation. I don’t remember what it was now.
The basil Hayden.
Oh, that’s right. Yeah, yeah, the bourbon.
It is quite smooth. It is a good recommendation. So thank you, Justin. I’m
now I gotta go buy another bottle of bourbon. I cracked open a brand new bottle of Monkey shoulder this evening. This is from batch number 27. I’m sorry, but even as somebody who like I I will drink a blended scotch, but I don’t love it. But man, monkey shoulder has earned a permanent spot in my bar. It is so good.
It’s funny when you I swear when you first talked about monkey shoulder. I thought you were making up. Like I thought I thought it was just like, like a thing. Like like, Oh, yeah, I got some monkey shoulder.
And then I gave you the history lesson.
Hey, everything’s got to come from somewhere. Speaking of everybody or everything coming from somewhere. Joining us this evening is the director of WP campus the solver of all your CSS placeholder issues. The the not quite late, but always great. Rachel cherry, Rachel, thanks for joining us this evening and taking some time away from the mountains of work. Take care of that could be doing right now.
Good evening, gentlemen. I am happy to be here. I am not drinking beer I am but I am nursing some caffeine.
Everybody’s got to have their vice. And I applaud you for that it’s certainly more responsible than what we’re doing. It Right, Rachel sounds familiar. Go back and check out the build process. I think it was episode three or four. I didn’t. So I didn’t pre check. But Rachel joined us back then and and talked about her career and how she got into development and all of this stuff. That’s very great. Listen, for anybody who is thinking about how they could get started in this stuff. So go check that out. But Rachel is a fountain of knowledge on just everything WordPress, right, you are the expert at this point, I think is the way that we should describe
a little, little bit of a stretch
too much, much there. That but you are important, right? Because when with all the Gutenberg stuff that was coming up, and when we’re not working press announce this and started rolling into all this development. I want to say, what was it about two years ago, at this point, the first sort of alpha preview plugin started rolling out and people started playing with this new moon, new editor that that was coming out. And it was about that time that the first concerns kind of started trickling out. And we’ve got, we’ll go back and we’ll throw some links in our show notes about this. Because we’ve we’ve linked to them before. Some of these articles talking about the different issues that people were worried about them that they saw things that weren’t putting accessibility first, that the you know, features were getting designed without a thought towards this. And that problem was something that started gestating. You know, what, 18 months ago at this point, 24 months ago, I think it was
episode eight was when we talked with Jeff right, Jeff Chandler, about gluten free? Oh, yeah. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And I remember we, we we’re talking about some of the, like, potential accessibility issues.
Yeah, that was that was right after that first big alarm got raised, I think. Yeah. Because that was, what was it last year? I can’t remember what what month it was. But I’m Ryan right felt if anybody’s familiar with with her she was the accessibility lead. For was and Rachel you can maybe you maybe know this. It was she she was the accessibility lead for WordPress, right, not just the Gutenberg side of things she
was. So WordPress has teams that focus on certain aspects. And so there’s a design team and a marketing team. And there’s an accessibility team. And she was one of the team, typically, their, their turn, their label is team Rep. And although that’s a whole other conversation, because they’re really team leads, you know, and a label is a label, in reality, they these people do lead these teams, they’re the ones that can the balls rolling, and the ones that, you know, keep their come up with initiatives and trying to move them forward, we can have a whole other conversation about the lack of governance and WordPress, if you want to have that conversation. But anyway, so she was a team rep slash lead. And she, among other people that were also team rubs and really involved possibility team. That was that was the height of months and months and months of frustration, because they were not only, you know, saying that there were problems, they were pointing the problems out. And they were, you know, trying their hardest to express this to the Gutenberg team. And a lot of it was falling on deaf ears, you know, why it was falling on deaf ears? You know, it’s I’m not on the inside. I don’t know exactly why. But on the outside, it was a point of constant intention. And just frustration, ultimately, from my we’re viewpoint, and mine is all my opinion looking in, you know, I owe a lot of the problems with Gutenberg in regards to accessibility, you know, really started early on, because it wasn’t, it wasn’t considered during the design process. So all along, there were a lot of the issues with Gutenberg are very much a base design issue. And you can run it through all your testing tools. And, and, you know, it’ll be HTML valid markup, but it’s still, if you know, we know that that doesn’t necessarily mean anything. That’s not the end all be all of us has ability. And so we have the Gutenberg, there’s a lot of design problems. And it’s really, it’s really hard to can stop, it’s not only hard to communicate that to designers, it’s but then you add on extra layers, where you’re, you’re trying to express this to a team that’s clearly being very much rushed. And they’re also you know, being frustrated, they, you know, it’s hard to hear, it’s hard to hear this stuff, it’s hard to sit there, design something, build it, and then have all these people tell you, there’s a problem, especially when it’s really hard to communicate how to fix that problem, there’s on an action item sit down, you know, change this thing here, and it’s fixed, like, ultimately there. You know, like, that would be nice if we could just, you know, and we do have a lot of that from the audit, we had about 90 of those things do this thing, and it’s fixed. But it still doesn’t solve the core problem that there’s a lot of, there’s just a there’s just a real problem with how it’s designed, and how the user, the user experiences, like there’s a lot of cognitive load issues. And one of my favorite phrases that came up in this whole process was, someone called it the thousand tabs of death. And
hopefully, my browser,
I mean, you know, like, all you can do at that point is kind of laugh at it. Reality is not funny, but the it is like, that’s just what it feels like to a lot of people that you have to use a keyboard, it does kind of feel like 1000 steps of death.
The reality, right, is that it’s a very forest through the trees kind of problem. That when you talk about being able to look at one little piece of it and say, Oh, it’s good. But when you put all those pieces together, that’s where it starts to kind of be like, oh, nobody’s paying attention to that picture.
Yeah, it was, I mean, you know, from, from a lot of people, myself included in the community and our outside perspective, very much felt like a lot of accessibility and user experience wasn’t really considered before it started being built. And during the design, there probably wasn’t user testing things like this. And on top of that, throughout the process, it felt very designers, you’d go, like, you know, that they would, they had a design, and then it was just like, they were figuring it out as they went. So this thing’s got placed as they were built out. And, and, you know, there wasn’t there, I’m sure there were a few times when they were able to kind of stop, okay, we didn’t make this design change. Let’s look at it from the top down and figure it out. But I imagine like 80% of the time, they just kind of like we need to think let’s just put it there and move on. And, you know, I was thinking about this earlier today. And, and that this isn’t like a higher ed specific phrase. But it’s something that I you know, you hear a lot, I think in our higher ed communities about like, it kind of feels like Gutenberg was like, a Campbell, you know, the horse designed by committee. Yeah. It was It feels very much like it was designed by a committee. It was designed as they went, and which is a whole other slew of user experience issues, too.
From it from an engineering side, I couldn’t first Bolton reactor. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. reactors is entirely component based. And so I think it’s if you’re approaching the problem, from the idea of building up from components, I think it can be easy to sort of fail to see the holistic picture. If you’re just building out these individual pieces.
Yeah, it is. It is challenging, and, and definitely, like,
I feel for the people building this, and I’m sure if they could go back and do it all over again, they did change a few things. It’s definitely I mean, it you know, at the end of the day, hopefully what a lot of people get out of this is it’s a learning experience they can.
And you’re talking about the the tool, this is about the tool itself, not what’s generated by the tool, right? That’s, that’s what the accessibility issue is with.
Yeah, for the most part, there’s a few pieces where the output isn’t accessible. But it’s only really a couple of components. And it’s very minor on the scale of issues. The biggest one, I think that that’s probably the most inaccessible markup that’s being created is the table block. It doesn’t work. It doesn’t even let you create header table headers.
I’ve tried it. It’s not even an accessibility issue at that point. Like for somebody like me, it’s literally just a usability thing that I can’t make a table do the things I need a table to do using that tool? Oh,
yeah. So like, you can’t even you can’t make table headers, which, basically, I mean, out the box that’s inaccessible. And like, right, and so there was something else that doesn’t do either. And so then there was a few other components very minor, like, like one little thing to add. You can add caption files to videos, or something like that. And but yeah, the output wasn’t too bad. It’s mostly the the add the Admin app itself. Yep.
And the audit itself, right, focused almost entirely on that, because there were three tasks that were involved in this that they asked the users to do. And they all were it was all a publishing process kind of thing we did was focusing very much on the the back end side, not that front inside, is that a correct? assessment of that?
Yeah, it was part of the part of our RFP and part of their project and audit was to was to look at the market that it makes. But for the most part, that I think what you’re talking about is like the user testing, so like, they did user testing, and obviously, the user testing, they didn’t do user testing on the front end market, they just did user testing on the Admin app itself. But they just, they just kind of looked at the markup that it makes and made sure it was valid.
What we call that in a lot of areas is, is ego garbage in garbage out. Like even if a tool is perfect in every way it can be like you can convert any block to HTML, you can always go in there and muck it up and cause output to be something that is non optimal. And even Aaron, you and I had this conversation, and I had to correct that. Because I commented on like a super early version of the color picker that I had seen, right. And I hadn’t used it recently enough to realize they had fixed it, but it was the same kind of thing that you you can and even with the warning, you can still pick two colors of background and foreground color on an elevated shooting bug that would don’t pass that contrast standards. And looking to publish that. It will warn you but it won’t stop you. I think
I think you can do like, you could probably do a green background with red text. And that would pass contrast standards. But oh, my
question your your intelligence.
There was definitely one component that I think it was, yeah, videos. So basically, in Gutenberg, you can tell a video component to autoplay, which isn’t accessible. So basically, it’s like, I was talking to some I was tweeting about it on like, I was literally I think I just tweeted like, yeah, we should just remove that. And keep, you know, somebody was like, well, we should you know, we should give people the choice. And I’m like, No, there’s like no, like, that’s there’s literally you’re enabling people to make inaccessible websites. If you do that. No, like, I don’t that point you don’t that’s like a really hard, you know, 01 situation just to move it was speaking of 01 wasn’t that our first episode was auto playing videos.
The irony of that is, I’m actually dealing with a use case right now in a Gutenberg block, that is trying to replace like an animated GIF.
you can thank Aaron for that one.
I almost sped up my whiskey. Oh, that made my night. Thank you Michael
we’ve got an animated GIF of an action being taken within a web app, no audio, it’s just just a purely, you know, motion based thing. And they want to replace that with an A video. Because the video is a smaller size as a consequence, because it’s properly compressed gifts are good for that very simple function. But a they don’t compress well. And they’re pretty. They’re pretty sizable. So that’s actually an issue that we’re running into right now in a discussion, I’m having a feature that they want an autoplay video, because they want it to be like an animated image and the back and forth it that is involved in that from an accessibility standpoint. Well, it doesn’t have audio. It has no audio.
so yeah, see, it’s it’s making the case for why you might want to allow that autoplay at that point, because it is just doing the thing. Another thing is doing just with a smaller file,
oh, my brain goes to me, I think I think the reason why it’s in a sizable is just because it’s hard to playing audio and audio. It’s just, you can’t quickly turn it off. And so if it’s, if it’s playing the video, I wonder if accessibility either API’s or, or devices still even register, like they know that a video is playing and do something even if there’s no audio?
It’s a an argument for making the right argument for the right reason, is the kind of thing that I see there in terms of, you know, should, autoplay should not should we have the ability to do that. And people saying, Well, yeah, sometimes I want auto playing video. But if they can’t make the argument for the use case that would be accessible. It makes it hard to understand. And that’s why, you know, we get into a lot of this. And I know, the accessibility topic is something we’ve covered several times, and it gets even boring at times. And I don’t care because it needs to be something thing that we go over and consider those kinds of things and help people learn not just to think about it, but also defend it in those cases. Yeah.
So you and I mean, General, you not Michael and Rachel, you may not care about accessibility. However, there are a lot of organizations that use WordPress, because WordPress is used everywhere, that are like federally required to worry about accessibility and five away issues. And so it’s, it creates a problem where they now have to deal with Well, you know, do we roll back to an earlier version of WordPress, it didn’t have Gutenberg? Or do we switch CMS is entirely What do we do? Because we are we’re bound to tweet here to this requirement,
I just gonna say and even if you’re not federally regulated, there are a lot of civil suits. And they are, they’re getting more and more by the day, like I hear about them all the time now. And so you know, just the other like, I mean, this is a big grand scale example. But I think like three days ago, they there was an article about that one in California, like Kellogg, basically all of California, like sued Xerox or something because they made this like reservation website that’s accessible. And it was like $22 million website or something like that. And
basic, was it because there are so many copies.
And so you do hear a lot about big organizations, and you know, but I hear a lot about smaller ones. I was funny enough, I was getting my haircut, it’s a movie ticket earlier this year, and I’m getting my haircut and this woman asked me what I do for a living? And I’m like, oh, will I make websites, you know, to kind of briefly summarize what I do. And, and I just like, coincidentally, she starts talking about web accessibility. And I was like, well, funny enough that you, you know, ask about that, because that’s what I do, basically. And she starts telling me about all these local businesses that are all getting sued, and how this the trouble they’re having, because there’s all these like mom and pop stuff and whatever. And, and so yeah, it can happen. And it can happen to anybody. And so that’s another reason to care about all this on top of like the 40 other reasons to care about it. But
so I’m curious, this is not specifically related to Gutenberg, but when when a mom and pop business gets sued, are are they liable? Or is the person that made the website? Why?
That’s a good question. I mean, it’s, it’s both
I think, Okay. I think developers are responsible to an extent that I, I think if you’re, if you are going to have a website, and you are going to use a website for your business, then you have a responsibility as well to make sure that your website is accessible. And part of that means like hiring Debs and making sure they know what they’re, you know, they understand that they’re looking out for that. And, you know, they’re doing stuff like that, but I don’t I do think the responsibility falls in the business owners hands as well as the developers hands.
The the analog, I think, or comparison, analog comparison. Analog bet, yeah, that’s correct. That falls there, I think is with copyright law. Because with when it comes to a civil suit under copyright law, it’s a, like Rachel, say, it’s very trickle down in terms of if you get sued, you will get sued as the business because you are the business displaying the image, if you have an image on your website that’s been copyrighted. And then if you are found liable for that copyright infringement, it is then your responsibility to turn around and go to the people that you hired as a consequence of that, and sue them. If you did, you know, if they chose that image, you know, shit runs downhill in that case, and so you can sue them for that, and try to pass that off, and and then so forth, and so on until the court says, No, you can’t hand this off anymore. It’s, you know, you are the terminal point of infringement. But there’s this sort of fall over affect that and I think, from an accessibility standpoint, I don’t know why that exact same thing wouldn’t apply. Like, if you’re sued. It’s it’s the businesses responsibility to be compliant. Yeah, it
does. It’s really tricky, though. Because if you have if you’re, if you’re a mom and pop business, if you’re locally owned business, and you have to hire out your website, it’s probably because you don’t really know much about that. And you may know, well, I need a website on that World Wide Web thing. But you may not even have heard of accessibility issues, or have considered how it might be an issue with that, like, you know, we know we all know about handicap accessible entrances, because that’s been in the Zeitgeist enough, but something like this, though, you may not even know to ask for
but that’s, it’s not appreciably different from the copyright at that point. Yeah, you know, you may know a little bit more about it, just because we’ve taught, you know, you hear it in the lexicon a lot more. But legally, the application is very similar. The purpose is very similar. And so the resolution, I think, judicially would be the same thing. At that point.
Yeah, somebody wouldn’t sue your website developer, they would sue the company. And then like Michael said, it’d be up to the company, whether or not they want to turn around and sue the developer. Because,
yeah, once you’re sued, then you’re going to really know about it. It is,
it’s, it’s, um, it’s, it is little, you know, it sucks for these mom and pops that are getting sued. And you’re right, in the sense that they just didn’t know. But that’s kind of like the, it’s a hard lesson to learn in the sense of this digital age ever growing, that we live in and out, you know, we’re kind of fake, a lot of stuff is so very ad hoc on the web, we don’t have, you do have ADA, you know, if you set up a mortar store, there’s all these things that you legally have to do before you can open up and you have to, you know, be accessible physically. But we don’t have that those laws for the web. And so it’s a whole, you know, I hope that one day we will, but we’re not there yet. And there’s definitely this, you know, I feel for these mom and pops or whatever. But that’s kind of the sadly, just right now one of the prices of doing business, and if you’re going to have a digital business, you’re gonna have a business that works online, then you need to understand the internet. And that’s just this,
this is like the, there’s like a talk to kids about drugs. This is like talk to your mom and pop about it
isn’t really that different from building a brick and mortar, you know, if you hire a contractor to build your business for you, and they don’t, you know, make sure you’ve got either ramps or an LLC, or you’re building a six storey building, and you didn’t put an elevator in it. You know, whose fault is that? Once, you know, the the doors have opened? And so that, you know, that process, I think, even though there is certainly that burden that falls to the small business owners, it’s also not something that they aren’t familiar with in other aspects. Yeah,
I mean, it’s something that you should be like I was saying, like, if you’re like, I mean, basically, it’s just that if you’re going to have an internet business, you need to understand the internet, you need to understand how the internet works, and how users work just like you would need to understand how humans, you know, might come into your brick and mortar. So it’s, hopefully people you know, learn more and more, hopefully, one day to get to the point where there are some better standards and requirements. Whenever that take comes.
I always come back to my dad, because he’s a shop teacher now. But he spent, you know, decades being in construction and the handyman and all that. I say handyman that really devalue the work, he kid, my dad is an amazing guy, he’s the best teacher I’ve ever met, probably bar none. And I don’t say that as a son. I say that as somebody who respects good teaching. But I always come back to the construction metaphors in the building metaphors, because it’s the idea of knowing that I can go in and if I nail some two by fours together and put a couple two by fours in the middle of my wall will stay up versus understanding why your tape measure is highlighted every 16 inches. It’s that kind of thinking that I put I think of with HTML and with web development, is there a lot of things you can do to get by that? Yeah, that will solve the problem, but aren’t correct. And there’s a lot of reasons why that’s true.
I’m often frustrated when I see the class equals address, like div class equals quote, especially when it comes from vendor provided code. Like Come on, guys. We’re paying you how many thousands of dollars and you’ve given us this like bush? What the hell come on, like just block quote it. And I actually, yeah, I yeah, I’ve sent us an email.
So back in October, everything hits the fan. Ryan says I’m taken off I’m done trying to push accessibility WordPress, I’m going to greener pastures that happened and caused a kerfuffle, as the words are used. Because everybody said, Oh, crap, Gutenberg inaccessible, the accessibility Rep. as it were, is leaving. And it brought a microscope down on that issue very quickly. And so that’s when Rachel WP campus stepped in and said, Hey, let us help with this process. Explain just real, you know, real quickly for me, what was sort of that inspiration? Because I, I presume that you know, this was something that had been you’ve been thinking about for a while because you guys announced this very quickly. After that happened.
We actually it we hadn’t been thinking it really about it. There was we were following along and I was following along there were Yes. When I think technically Her name is pronounced Rian. Right? There’s another there’s another Ryan and my WordPress core group and I can never remember how he
said from the Netherlands, okay, apologize. Somebody was a German last name. I’m used to mispronouncing names or hearing, it’s I asked forgiveness.
But I was just gonna say re on. She, when that happened on Yes, it blew up and that team have been trying to get attention for a while. And they had been working so hard to raise these concerns, and just nothing was happening. Part of when the audit finally came out, the report came out a lot of it was just confirming the things they’ve been saying all along. And I hope that they felt some joy out of that and just being affirmed for their expertise. There was some discussions on the Gutenberg repo because not modern way doesn’t need an access an actual accessibility lead. That’s good. His I forget his I think his name was also met. Yeah, his GitHub handle was like tofu mat or something like that. And I say this, I preface what I’m about to say with I don’t know, Matt, he seemed like a super nice guy, I kind of felt like he was tossed into the weeds, and ultimately, gave me a GitHub issues that basically was called do an audit and write a blog post about it.
Yeah, I remember that. I read it, I followed it,
which was a really interesting thread, I recommend you find it, it’s, you know, you can still go look at it. And so they at one point said they were going to do one, and then retracted that statement. And Avi and but but what a lot of us were trying to get out of them was to basically say, whether or not an audit would halt the release, like would be when we hold the release, depending on the results of an audit. before they even said no audit, they said they wouldn’t hold the release. So that was frustrating. And then they basically said no audit. I don’t know how much time pass between that. And every Thursday in the dopey campus slack. We have a community meeting. And you know, we all talked, I forget how the conversation started. But I was so proud of our group that day, because I I won’t take the credit. It wasn’t my idea. Like it, you know, like had doing the audit wasn’t my idea was someone mentioned it in the meeting? Well, why can’t we do the audit? And I said, Why can’t we? question
you’ve all been told yourself.
I mean, because we were there was lots of concern, because as we kind of mentioned earlier about federal regulation, those of us in the campus community are the majority fall under section five await because we work for universities that accept federal funding. And what that means is that we are required by law to provide accessible technologies, you know, if these campus community members, you know, upgraded to WordPress 5.0, and had an inaccessible editor than we could be breaking the law, you know, like, we have to have this audit, we have to know before we can use this editor. Yeah. And so why don’t we do it. And so Brian Taconic volunteered to organize to like lead the effort. So basically, behind the scenes, it was me and Brian, Brian did a lot of Brian did a lot of the words of making sure stuff got done. It was a pretty big joint effort. And we got the ball rolling, we announced he put he put together that RFP, we shared it with a lot of people got some feedback, released it.
There’s a timeline on the website, I can never remember. I think we started in like October,
I think was late October when it came out.
Yeah, we got about seven responses, I think it was. So we formed a selection committee. That that was, that was some rough work. I remember I was we I remember having a lot of our meetings I was in. I was in Asheville, North Carolina, sitting at a coffee shop,
to my offices.
But anyway, we had the selection committee.
And we went with 10. And it was basically came down to a lot of variables, price being one kind of testing principles. You know, another variable that took some people out of the running with are were we we wanted this to be open, we wanted the report to be shared. We wanted the information education to be available. And some people for Super valid reasons, their educational component in the sense of like, if you read their issues, you know, they’ll have links to like, had to learn how to fix it kind of thing. And they were private, like you have to have a login to get them. And it was like, well, we can’t do that. Because, you know, we want people to be able to see how to fix them and stuff. And so they couldn’t open that up to us. So that took them out. So there were a lot of variables came down to 10. And they did the report. And so we released that within like three weeks now. And they did a great job. It’s super thorough. And
it’s like a over 100 pages. They
know the technical reports like 329 pages are Yeah, with
the executive summary, his third executive
summary, a wellness 30. They gave a lot of materials and the staff is Yeah, it was super I spent the weekend after we released her reading the technical report and like live tweeting it and that was fun.
And if you if you aren’t following Carla groves, who is the guy who founded 10, and go check him out on Twitter, it’s just that Carl groves as just a weird irony I was I’ve been following him for some time on Twitter. So when I found out they were the ones doing the audit on top of that, it was like, Oh, that’s very interesting to see these sort of worlds colliding in that way. And his the stuff he shares is is fantastic. And yeah, there I think I certainly can’t complain about the choice of going with them by any means.
Yeah, I think anyone that we went with would have been, you know, would have done a great job. A lot came, like I said, it came down to the details. But they did a great job they were a lot of fun to work with.
Was I’m I don’t mean to make this a gossip thing. But what was the response from WordPress, like proper central WordPress, when the report was released?
Oh, well, the WordPress community has responded very positively.
Actually, like I was the day we released, it was a really great day, I just a lot of people just took hold of it and dove in they Carl and 10 and linen Did you know to the Gutenberg repo and added, like 90 issues. And so within like an hour of the report being out, I was monitoring a bunch of WordPress slack channels and like the bunch of like, the accessibility channel for obviously, and the design and the core editor channel, like leapt on it. They went into the GitHub repo and tagged all their issues and made a GitHub project and started having like triage meetings. And and you know, one group was talking about trying to organize a multi team visibility release or something. I don’t know if that’s still happening or not. But it’s so the general initial response was really positive. I haven’t really been monitoring it the last week or two, I don’t know if they’re still, you know, working on it or what’s happening. I,
I did actually check out GitHub ahead of time. And I know that, of course, FIFO went gold. What was the end of December, I think, because everybody was up in arms about it being over Christmas.
day before work camp us, wasn’t it? Yeah, I think so.
Surprise, came in in February five to one has will have shipped by the time you’re listening to this episode. And at my rough count, like, just in the last month, over 75 tickets had been closed in just the accessibility label on GitHub. So they definitely evidently are responding to those. And kudos have to go out to those folks for seeing those things and trying to jump on them. I think that’s that’s a lot of motion to see under, you know, one header so to speak.
It’s been great to see the response. And it’s been Yeah, definitely lots of kudos to all of them are jumping on it and with such a bigger? And so so basically, the bit, you know, what, what I really hope comes out of all of this is just a lesson learned that going forward, you know, we we think about these things before we put them in decor, before we design them before we you know, do all this stuff. And so we don’t have you know, we we learn from history, we don’t repeat ourselves. Yeah,
the so the tenant group in the review, and this is a quote I lifted straight out of the executive summary was during the technical review, tenants staff lava total of 90 issues across the 16 components tested as the data and this report will show there is an average of 18% failed check items per component with 63% of issues impacting at least three user populations. 69% of issues are medium or high severity. And finally, 53% of the issues logged in the technical report our level a success criteria. So it’s I mean, it doesn’t paint a fantastic picture. And I know the the ending of the report was tweeted around several places about how this is like a how it has I think the phrase is pervasive accessibility issues.
They’d be like making your car where you had to be like 510 to be able to reach the brake pedal.
The report is pretty scathing. You know,
it’s it is but i want to i, i think it’s worth pointing out that they were complimentary of the output for the most part.
The car looks nice.
Yeah, it’s shiny and sparkly. You know if you can see it.
It’s like those those like fancy cars they build out of Volkswagens that looks like super cool old, like BMW from the 40s. But they’re just VW bugs underneath. The they did they tested three things, right? They were looking at how to create content, how to edit content, and how to edit the options on those things. What do you mean, like, with a block, so a block has the Options panel off to the right hand side? So could you add a class to a block, you could, depending on the block that you’re working on, maybe you can set the font size, maybe you can set the color, you know, those kind of options at that point? I want to ask a question very directly to these results. I was reading through and reading like the the sub scores, the The score is the system usability for usability score, yes. So on creating content, they gave that a 90, which is a good score. 100 is a perfect score, they are very quick to point out that it’s not a percentage based system, it’s more of a core tile kind of measurement, but a 90 fantastic score, but it had a zero percent completion rate for visually impaired people. And
that was a
that was like a weird combination of scores to me when I was reading through it. And I didn’t see it explained. And I don’t know if Rachel, if you know more about that? That’s I know, that’s a really specific question.
It was something to do with like, they could use it. But they still couldn’t complete, like you could get through most of it, but you couldn’t finish it like you couldn’t complete it. It’s like, yeah, it’s like being able to go through Gutenberg and I can add all these blocks and do all this stuff. But you can’t hit the publish button with a keyboard, you know, like
that the reason why this I think is important, especially from a, you know, completion percentage type of standpoint is all of these were measured against Gutenberg, as it exists now in a sort of a vanilla state. But even like, I have started getting into Gutenberg block development, now I’m building my own block. So I’m adding my own different inspector controls and things like that to the to the options. Every time somebody like me is touching that system. And either, you know, maybe I’m extending the advanced options that are available for an existing block or things like that, every one of those is sort of an area to introduce additional failure. And so the results that come out of this are maybe somewhat frightening. frightening, Lee, a little bit optimistic, I think in that way, because the plugins, you add the code you right, as a developer, any of those things may impact the overall accessibility of the platform, then from that standpoint, and that’s, that’s a tough one, I think, for a lot of people to kind of grasp on to and realize,
I think one of the like a high level lesson from this entire experience is kind of addressing the reality that so you have a community and an open source project that is built off the backs of these volunteers that are a wide range of skill sets. For the most part, a lot of Gutenberg was built by automatic employees, which you should argue that they are website making professionals, not you know, random Joe McGee in their home office on their Saturday afternoons, there’s something to take away in the sense that there’s a lot of, there’s a big gap of knowledge and know how and experience when it comes to making accessible at web apps and technologies and things to look out for. And, and as we’ve learned, and as we discussed, like, basic HTML markup, that’s just not being used correctly. And that is an issue kind of with widespread across our community in general, in the sense that we don’t really have a focus on accessibility, we don’t, it’s not a priority, like I, there’s, there’s no getting around that it’s not a priority in our community. And until it becomes one. And we begin to focus on initiatives that promote and educate we are going to continue to have this problem where it’s not, you know, not only as core still struggle with accessibility in and outside of Gutenberg, but you know, that’s where these people that are building plugins and themes, you know, they look to coat, I’m sorry, they looked at core as a source of code examples, you know, and we can copy and paste that stuff. We copy and paste stuff from like top level plugins, you know, like jetpack and Yost, and whatever thing you know, and people replicate that and build other things out of it, we look to the Codex, you know, we look outside of WordPress, to, you know, Stack Overflow, and all kinds of, you know, crappy tutorials online. But, you know, this is where we’re getting our education from, for the most part. And until, you know, we as a community, have a priority on accessibility. And not only just in core, but in educating and requiring it from our community of Debs, this will always be a problem. We’re all looking for that source of truth, right? Like that’s, that’s ultimately what it comes down to. And that’s where some of that responsibility, I think comes into play from WordPress and automatic directly is, I, we all I think, appreciate the fact that they are offering a compelling, powerful, huge product to the world for free. But that doesn’t come without a certain responsibility when you run 30% of the internet at that point. And so for those developers, I think they very much do look for that as and like you were just saying, Rachel, you know, going to the developer docs, going to the old Codex, going to those resources, and trusting that that is guiding me in the right way. I think it’s very important to those folks. I know,
The big thing about the audit that came back from a problem area standpoint that I noted, like, they because they broke down, if you go check out the executive summary, they’ve got everything kind of broken up a number of ways, actually, one of the deals they were looking at where the problem areas kind of in a broad sense, between block panel, and editing, media uploading, which was a surprise to me, because me uploading and WordPress hasn’t changed for a long time. And the keyboard navigation is an obvious and clear one that we I think we all expected to see in there. But those were like the three big areas in terms of interactions that they found to be inaccessible. It’s, I think, very telling from a standpoint of how much we take for granted. point and click, quite frankly,
yeah, there were.
There was some stuff in here that was just really bad, especially with the media stuff, I have called medical people reached out to me like a couple of like WordPress core people that were like, Damn, there were like, that was hard to read. I was shocked,
by the way media popped up in that list, specifically, because that was the one thing that has been there forever. And all the Gutenberg block does is just in line, the button basically that says, click this and then upload the your stuff, and then it puts you into the normal uploader. But it’s, you know, it’s like, in lined into the page as a modal at that point. So it’s a little the flow has changed, so to speak.
Yeah, several people messaged me, and were like, or just commented in various forums that, you know, they were like, I thought this was about Gutenberg. Why is the media thing and here just like, well, you have to use the media thing and Gutenberg like, so that’s why I got audited. But yeah, there was some trying to remember, like, I just remember, right now I’m having trouble remembering exactly what the specific problems were. But there were a fair amount, like, you couldn’t like tab between some of the files, I don’t know. But there was that that was pretty rough. Some of the keyboard stuff was pretty rough. There, you know, the document panel, stuff was interesting. There’s, there’s lots of data, obviously, in this app, this is a super complex app that, you know, you when you have all this information, you gotta have some labeling for it. Otherwise, you know, someone who’s just like hearing all this text, read out to them has no idea what this context is. And so, you know, one of the problems was the document panel, and the document panel is that thing that pops up at like the top left section of the app, it’s like, you have so many headings, and so many, yeah, like, whatever. But I think it’s like, if you hear that with a screen reader, it was just like a bunch of like numbers next to like, some words and the head. And it was like, you had no idea what this data was. And so there’s stuff like that, that a lot of people don’t really think about, like,
is there is there accessibility report include, like links to people using it with a screen reader?
Maybe like the user testing itself like that they release the user testing? Yeah. But they might release it. But they they didn’t know
that that’s that’s always an eye opener for developers to hear what it’s actually sounds like that’s like, Oh, God, yeah, what are we
a couple episodes ago, we did that and included the the screen where you’re output of image, alt text as a consequence. They did though, while they don’t have like links to the actual output of that, I’ve got a dog barking in the back.
Whose house is the dog that we don’t know.
So what they did do is while they don’t have the actual audio output, we talked about that a couple episodes ago, right, where we included I forget what it was, we were going over specifically, but we had the audio output of some image alt, that were getting read out by a screen reader, and it was showing you how different applications kind of read it, you know, terribly as it were, they do have a section that is all issues by platform, while the output isn’t there. They did cover voiceover they covered dragon natural speaking, they covered ZoomText, in video, a Jaws, those things were tested, the thing that I found really surprising about that was when you look at the breakdown of the issues by technology, seven, the issues were logged that qualified as all. So the issue is applied, regardless of what you were using. Number two, was, yeah, windows with a screen reader was the the number two, it had 15. So number one is seven, the number two is 15. And it really goes to this point of when you think about accessibility, when you think about inclusive design and these concepts. It’s not about, you know, trying to compartmentalize different disabilities and and trying to treat this as a technical spec, it’s all about the technique, you apply. It’s about painting, right? When you paint and knowing how to use acrylics and and palette knives and things like that, like the technique you use to apply all of these technologies we talked about is almost artistic in nature, because you get back to that root problem that we started with the at the start of this episode forest through the trees, you’ve got so much detail that is getting so close to the issue that you lose the big picture. Yeah, they also broke it down. And this is one area where I actually, you know, find myself as a developer running into problems. When we talk about the specific accommodations, these things bring up. So 49% of the issues that were logged, fell into the area of visual related whether that’s purely blind, or just people who are visually impaired. But that’s half of all of the things. And we like that because it’s easy to think if I close my eyes, how can I do it, and that that affords and the way, you know, a developer, a 20 year old developer with great eyesight, and no color blindness, and no motor control issues, you know, with a sharp brain reading on caffeine and vodka, you know, the way they approach, web design is very perspective related. And that’s one of those big challenges that I always find I fall into is, I think about stuff like, I’ll just what if I close my eyes and think about how I use this with a keyboard. But all of these things, when you start reading about the cognitive and perceptive issues that were raised, like, okay, maybe I can get to it with a keyboard, but do I understand it, when I get there, those are really hard challenges, I think to the face and to, you know, get through at the end of this. And it’s something that Gutenberg has, I think specifically brought to the forefront because of how they nest, you know, the editor with the blocks with the inspector controls, and it creates this weird, lean, deeply nested environment that does just inherently bring with it a lot of cognitive load. And we’re not as good, we’re not good at that process.
I mean, even for, you know, in humans, individuals like myself that I can see just fine, I could use a mouse, I can click point, as long as the date, you know, it has a day as long and, and, you know, it’s still a lot of cognitive load just for me, and because of the way it’s designed, and the way it honestly is designed in a way where is assumed that you understand functionality. And things, you know, hide and show themselves, you know, depending on where your mouse is, and, you know, good luck clicking on some things, and it might go away, and it might be there. And a lot of accessibility is just inherent usability, whether or not you know, you are using an assistive device, or you are using a keyboard and a mouse, and you can see the page, it’s not all about, you know, blind people and deaf people.
Yeah, but each, but each component can be individually tested. And that’s
what I use, I use the app, I use the x tool, and it didn’t report any issues.
But it can be tested individually.
And that’s where WordPress is sort of inherent philosophy of democratizing publication comes into play that you can’t do that, if the platform itself is including these features that limit, you know, whether you’re blind, motor, impaired, cognitive, cognitively impaired, take your pick any of those issues, limit your ability to then publish. And that’s where, when we talk about this, and I see threads on Reddit, I see, you know, posts on Facebook, whatever the case may be, with people asking the question of why should I build for that tiny, tiny percent of people who may touch my thing? That’s where I get frustrated. Because that voice and that value is worth more than the numbers tell you to me?
It doesn’t, it doesn’t take that much more effort to do this, it just means you have to do it differently. Yeah, I like doing, doing your headings correctly just means you have to know like, what order to use them, adding scope, scope row or whatever, it’s your your table. And using table tags, you type th instead of TD and you do t head instead of T body. And you know knowing to make your knowing to use input checkboxes instead of gives. That’s less one couldn’t even so I it’s I think it’s bullshit. If you don’t want to do this, in there, there are unsolved problems still, but we have solutions for most of them. If you’re not doing those,
I mean, people who are people who say things like, why should I do you know, why should I make my website higher quality and actually make my website correctly so that, you know everyone can use it, or just, you don’t care. And if you don’t, I take some pride in your work to a lot of I mean, just, it’s just really frustrating to hear that kind of stuff. And
so at some point, those people will have like, they’ll make a website, and then they’re like grandmother, or their aunt who suddenly has visually impaired or something will try to use it and not be able to, and then we’ll have like a like it, it’ll make sense to them because it becomes personal. But like, you should not have to require it to be personal to care, it affects someone else, the fact that that person isn’t someone who’s in your sphere, I’m going to throw up a shield,
I’m going to put a shield over these people, and I’m going to make you to feel bad, because that just sounds fun right now. Okay, at this point, here’s the thing I’m going to put out there. And I say it’s a shield. But it’s also a warning, what you guys are referring to is a little bit of that unknown unknown. Because the way people learn a lot of the responsibility falls on you, Aaron, you Rachel, me Michael and everybody listening who gets this conversation understands the importance of it, the responsibility falls on us to make sure that we are teaching properly. Because when you are a developer who is self taught, who is learning from the ground up, and you are that person who is framing in a wall who puts their studs in every 24 inches instead of 16 inches, and you get away with it, because the wall stays up, it is hard to know those things that you you don’t realize, the you know, the load bearing weight that can be put on two by fours over the course of a run. You know, there’s a lot of that that comes into play. And so I’m I’m personally hesitant to like, go at those people real aggressively because I think a lot of it is just totally educational. And the only people who can teach it are us, I but we do teach it.
And I know that you’re being speaking generally. But like more other people like us need to also teach it.
Well, my perspective where I’m coming from, there’s a difference between you just didn’t know, now, you know, and you still don’t want to do it, which is what we’re at, I think what we were talking about, like people saying, Well, I don’t see the value in that. So I’m not going to do it. Like, they know, like they at that point, you know, and you have a choice to say you know what, now that I know I’m going to go fix that or, or you’re that garbage human says, I don’t care, and I’m not going to do it. And that’s what I we were talking I was talking about because we get that all the time, like now you know, but you just don’t care. And Michael
that’s our next t shirt is that if you don’t, if you hear about accessibility, and let me let me distill it down here, I’m just
gonna, it’s just gonna be a shirt that says, I know, I just don’t care.
I just don’t care.
Don’t quote me, like dash at the bottom dash. And, you know,
those are the people that are on Reddit that are reading about all this stuff and saying, you know, I hear you, and I see what you write, but I still don’t care. And, um, and so yeah, there’s also this big element to like building websites. And, and, you know, a lot of the web is very unstructured in the sense of education. You know, there are a lot of lot of us that, you know, get paid for this. And I consider myself a web professional. I’ve been doing it for a long time. I don’t have a degree in web development, but I, um, you know, I still hold myself, you know, to a certain standard, you know, like I, we should take pride in what we’re making. We’re going to put stuff on the web, then we do it right. And
it’s not my thing.
I mean, I’m sorry, like it’s your job.
to folks that it’s like asking a chef to make a five star meal and put always save vegetables in front of them. That chef would walk away from that they would not build the thing they are being asked to build, because they recognize the ingredients they are being given are not adequate to accomplish that. There’s a there’s a
it was at rails con this year, there was a talk about oma to Nashi which is this. I forget the exact translation for it. But it’s a thing in Japan, where if, for example, the example that they gave that I thought was really great was you go to a cafe, and then you sit down and you say like, and they offer you green tea. It’s like, Oh, I beg sugar with my green tea is like, Oh, we don’t do sugar with green tea. And they’re trying to get you to save face. Because it’s there’s a certain experience of trying to give you and and then the person insists and they’re like, well, we don’t do it. And then they insist again, and then they get the manager, the managers like, Oh, we don’t have any sugar. And they said like, Okay, well, I’ll just take a coffee then. And then bring the coffee out and has a side of it. And the point was that, that, you know, it’s like the customer’s always right. That’s the attitude we have here in America. But in Japan, they they are curating a very specific experience. And if you, if the customer tries to deviate from that experience, they feel they feel compelled to sort of guide you back towards like, well, thank you really what it’s like telling telling your client like, you don’t really want to care. You know, like, I know, you’re saying you want a carousel, but that’s not actually possible to do anymore. Someone changed the internet. Sorry, they
made a law.
It’s not possible when legally IV
invented the first web law that you can’t have
to wear this really hits the ground running, I think the the number that came out of the report was that 18% of the actions were completely prevented from completing tasks. That’s what in five, which most of us do more than five things, when we publish a post, they’ve got this barrier put in front of them that if they’re trying to whether that’s published media, get a video up correctly, do things that accommodate them, 18% of those people were stopped in their tracks. And out of the total number of issues that were raised with Gutenberg 63 of them were a level failures. That’s if you’re not familiar, the week egg spec is divided into a double A and triple a triple A is like the upper echelon, perfect across the board spec. Very hard to achieve that as it turns out, double A is just kind of like the you’re doing it right. If you can up comply with double A. A level certification is like when you go by the you know, the great a meat from your butcher or whatever.
It’s it’s rock, it’s rocks, Scott is texting.
But it really a level compliance is incredibly easy. And that made up 53% of the problems she sets in and found it in the audit. That’s the kind of thing where it’s like, if you were to tell me Oh, yeah, we came back we found you know, 20 issues at double A, we found 30 issues at double A, that’s okay, I get that. But 63 of the issues over half of them ours are single a level problems. And complying with that is so easy and basic. That’s where it’s like, that’s the head scratcher when I start looking at all of this data. And that’s where it does show how important it is. Go learn the specs, go read these compliance issues, because those aren’t technical things, those it’s not about just, you know, figuring out the right technology and and talking to 20 people and getting you know, an accessibility lab, you don’t need that to be a level compliant, you just need to look at the spec and know when to use the right markup at that point. I want to throw out there. This idea of a I respect everybody who makes WordPress because they are building an incredible tool that is free to everybody. And I know that the Debs that do this work are working their asses off for it. And that deserves respect. And I don’t want anything that we’ve said so far to come off as, like anything personal because it’s not it’s is absolutely not. And I know as much as anybody that sometimes you have extenuating circumstances that bear down on whether it’s a feature, release a deadline, whatever that case may be. So I want to just take my hat off to those folks, because I do think Gutenberg is the future of WordPress. I like Gutenberg. Now that I have gotten used to it, I think it works well. And I think that it will, in time be the thing that WordPress needs.
I don’t disagree. I think the arrows Yeah, I really schedule
the complaints and the issues. And I know that you know, there are different folks who are very integrally involved in those things. But I just want to put that out there that I do have a lot of respect for those folks. But I want to pivot to though and kind of round this out with is why this matters if you aren’t a WordPress Dev. Because everybody’s building stuff, and maybe they’re building it in react, but not WordPress, maybe there are building it in Java, maybe they’re building it in Jekyll. You know, maybe Gatsby, as the case may be, you know, view Angular, you know, take your pick of all of these different systems, maybe they’re Python people, Hell, I don’t know,
just plain HTML and then know CSS, just HTML. I want to ask
this question, Rachel, very specifically, how do you get out in front of these things? You know, what, what is the sort of the the key nugget in terms of saying I want to build a thing? And I do want to build it right? And I understand that maybe I don’t know all of this stuff. What is their course of action? At that point? What’s their resource? Should they go just read the the week egg spec? Should they you know, look up something else entirely? What is the advice that you would give that person?
So it’s a, there’s definitely different, like audiences, and for this question, whether you’re dev or you’re a designer, you know, and there’s definitely even realm for, you know, content creators and things like that. But a lot of the onus falls on designers, and Debs, and especially developers, I think, at the top, and what I would recommend people do is read the HTML spec, and read the Debbie keg, spec, they, they have a really great tool. To me, it’s it’s a lot of stuff to read, but kind of walks you through everything, it tells you what the rule is, and it tells you, it kind of walks through success criteria, and even give some examples and tells you really exactly what you got to do. So read that, it’s a really great knowledge portal to kind of give you an idea of things to look out for, you know, as we discuss a lot, this is just making sure you have valid markup. So on top of that, as I mentioned, you’re reading the HTML, but there’s depth, there are definitely some extra layers to really make sure you’re covering accessibility. And most of that is just becoming aware of what other you how other users surf the web. And I think, you know, a lot of people, they miss this, this particular gap in their web project, you know, timeline of user testing, before you even get started designing something, you know, you really should lay it out, you know, design wise, Think it through, you know, do some user testing, even with some visuals, start kind of the mock up process. Because as we discuss, you know, a lot of Gutenberg issues, our design issues where we had this really complex app, and all the pieces we don’t really thought through and, and so doing that from the get go, would have been more valuable. And then as you develop constantly, user test and iterate through it, you know, even if it’s just you user testing in the sense of when you every for every time you add something, you know, go through and turn on your screen reader and you know, listen to it, don’t touch your mouse and only navigate with the keyboard, you know, can you do everything, you know, these are really easy things that developers can do during the whole development process through each step as they go along. That can really make a difference. Because sadly, what a lot of people do is they don’t do that at all for one, and then they go in at the very end, and run and you know, some kind of testing tool. And then they do the keyboard testing, and then they find out they have to, you know, refactor their entire mega menu or whatever, because you can’t navigate through it. And if you had kind of thought of that beforehand, and really thought that through more how people might interact with it, then you’re going to save yourself a lot of kind of heartache. And ultimately you’re going to your you really do learn a lot, you’re going to create more valuable markup, more valuable user experiences.
And we’ve mentioned before, like, with, you know, Chrome has, and Firefox, the accessibility scanner, the side improve, and the Yeah, there are a lot of those tools. And a lot of us also emphasize the fact that those only catch so much, you know, they can catch those markup things. And the market things are certainly a big part of that. But a lot of it is very qualitative, and just even throwing something out on Twitter and saying, hey, will somebody go use this and tell me what you think of it,
if you if you, if you run a team, like if you’re a manager type person, one thing that we did it UFC is was we had one, or we had a couple of people who were like, trained on Fiverr weight stuff. And so no pull request, would, like every pull request had to be validated for five a week. Sometimes if it was like minor things, they would say like, Okay, I’m rubber stamping this for now. But I’m going to go back later and test it. But generally speaking, though, you couldn’t merge to master and push to production, unless you had a five a week approval. And so like, that is kind of testing at the end. However, what happens is that developers became very frustrated with, you know, like, Oh, I have to go back and fix all this crap again. And so you start building the iterative testing that Rachel was just mentioning, into your daily workflow, when you’re building thing you start checking for, Oh, do I have scope Do I have, this is this habit Next up, right?
Having standards that you setting standards, like if you are a manager, you are part of a team set policy and standards that you can’t publish something, if it can’t even converge, unless it passes you know, test A, B, and C or whatever. And it can be a little frustrating at first, but in like, as Aaron pointed out, over time, it just improves everyone, you know, everyone wants to it will slowly kind of iterate their practices and they’ll get better and better. And something that we struggle with in the WordPress community is that technically, we do have a standard we that we’re supposed to be Wk two point O double A, but as we’ve learned through the good birth thing is that we don’t enforce it. And, and which is what’s the point of a standard if it’s not a fault, or a policy if it’s not forced.
And I think that the bigger even part of that is developers need to stop looking at things, especially when it comes to accessibility very specifically, when somebody comes back and says, Hey, you know, this doesn’t, you know, I can’t use my screen reader with this, or we can’t focus this correctly, or whatever, they need to stop thinking about those issues as failures. Because I think that’s what happens is, you build something, it goes to QA, or whatever your version of QA may be. And when all of those issues start coming back, you start feeling like, these are all failure points. And it’s, it’s not those are learning experiences for you to realize, Oh, I didn’t know that, you know, the focus date on this wasn’t set, or whatever the case may be. And once you know that, it’s important to do things like set focus and hover together for a lot of things. You know, that’s just a technique issue that comes out of that experience. But too often we look at that criticism as criticism, and it’s, it’s not it’s their experience, not criticism of what you built.
Yeah, we, I mean, the web development community, we have a lot of problems with ego. And
that doesn’t happen. To
me at some point, like, it’s, it’s a hard thing to learn to recognize that if someone comments on your code, it’s like, they’re not commenting on you as a person. It’s like, I gave a talk one time was like, you’re not your code. Like, calm down. This isn’t about you. And that’s a lot. That’s hard for a lot of Debs to hear, like, I think I said this earlier, like, it’s, it’s, it can be, it can be hard to like build something, put a lot of work into it, put it out, and then someone comes back and basically tells you, you, you did something wrong. It’s I think, like, the biggest one of the hardest lessons that we as Debs can learn is that it’s okay. It’s, you’re going to make mistakes, and you’re going to miss things. The web is complex. And building for the web is really hard. Front End development is my right here, people will talk about how like me, because like, back in dev bros, talking about how front end work is not that hard. Just want to be like, yeah, I want to see you do it. I’m, like, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s the point is not to be perfect. The point is to give a damn, you know, like, and to give a damn about users and to give a damn about the quality of your work. And, and that’s what you should really take away from that is that like, you know, come on comes back and says, Hey, like, you know, this thing isn’t working. For me, it’s an opportunity for you to accept that feedback, and to accept it as a learning experience. And then and be like, Oh, you’re right, you know what? It did forget that. And I will fix that. And you will learn and hopefully the next time you won’t forget it, but honestly, you might forget it again. And that’s okay, too. But like, we’re humans, and no one’s expecting everyone to just be perfect all the time. They’re just, we’re just, we just expect you to try. You know,
what I think it comes down to is, we are critical. We are incredibly critical. My god, I am critical of things that I wrote myself to four or five, 710 years ago, wait, at
first developers or
developers are critical, the web is forgiving, and users are incredibly forgiving. All they want is accommodation. And if they find something that impedes them, all they’re looking for is acknowledgement that that will be accommodated. And if it is, then they are the happiest people in the planet. We are the ones who create that critical nature. And we are the ones who put pressure on ourselves and act like it’s a big deal. And even it sounds like it’s a it’s the worst, I complained to mint. I don’t know if any other US meant for like finance monitoring. I bitched at them earlier today, because they are still using flash to do data visualization on some of their their trend graphs. If they would just change it, they would find out that I am thrilled and happy and completely and totally resolved at that point. Yeah, my tweet was maybe a little rude, and maybe even antagonistic. But I’m accommodated. And then I’m done. And I’m happy. And I’m often and on to other things. And that’s really what this all comes down to. And it’s we put pressure on ourselves. And we read that, that meaning in the things that sometimes isn’t there and just listen to your users. I think that’s the best point to leave folks with. And, and to
But for me, a lot of it comes back to like, when we make the web and we’re Nikki was working with us. And I was I was talking about you know, like, how it’s not about us as developers, like we make these things for people to use. And it’s about the users that are using them. And when they come back with feedback, they most of the time, it’s like, they just want to be heard, you know, for a lot of people in the kind of Guttenberg frustration was that a lot of people didn’t feel heard. And kind of going back to like what we do as developers, and we make it about when people come back with feedback, we make it about ourselves, it’s ego, you know, like, we’re someone is telling us that something we built, we didn’t we messed up, and instead of taking it for what it is, and learning and moving forward, and like hearing the feedback, and whatever we we are, we can be quick to defend, make it about us make it into something critical, instead of looking at it from what it is, which is really it’s like this person wants to use your thing, but they can’t use it, and they’re trying to tell you something. And you know, we should be happy for that, you know, like, the alternative is if they don’t care, they don’t use it, you know, otherwise, why are we building things?
The big part of that I think comes down to this idea to that. Just because you hear their complaint doesn’t mean it’s their first. And it doesn’t mean that it’s their first with, you know, you necessarily they may have ran into the same problem. 20 times 20 other places before they got to your site or your tool. And you’re just the point at which they finally felt like nobody is hearing my concern. Yeah. And that’s where some of that frustration also leaks out. I think and that’s another reason why it’s so important to not take it personally. Because it may be directed at you. But that’s only because they are so used to being not heard on this platform.
Yeah, at some point. Yeah. At some point, like their frustration reaches a level where it is about you because they’ve complained like or they’ve commented like 40 times and you’ve ignored them every single time.
Yeah, or or everybody for you. Yeah.
Then it’s not about the code. It’s about communication and expectation.
Folks, kick back, take yourself a quick break. We’re going to take a break ourselves and come back here in about a minute and we will get you out of here. Thanks for listening, and stay tuned in 6564 6350 to
The drunken UX podcast is brought to you by our friends at New cloud. New cloud is an industry leading interactive map provider who has been building location based solutions for organizations for a decade. Are you trying to find a simple solution to provide your users with an interactive map of your school city or business? Well, new clouds interactive map platform gives you the power to make and edit a custom interactive map in just minutes. They have a team of professional cartographers who specialize in map illustrations of many different styles, and already did this design and artistic rendering to fit your exact needs. One map serves all of your users devices with responsive maps that are designed to scale and blend in seamlessly with your existing website. To request a demonstration or to view their portfolio, visit them online at New cloud.com slash drunken UX that’s in view cloud.com slash drunken UX. Rachel thanks for taking your time this evening and sit down with us I know it’s been long I know that there were breaks that were taken that folks listening at home will never know about because I’m trying to not take a tornado to the face at this exact second. It’s a little spooky outside I’m not gonna lie. I ran down to the basement one point in time.
Is it your turn to fight the tornado this week? With fisticuffs?
there? What isn’t it the story from Twister where you like walks out in the throws like a bottle of bourbon at the the tornado and it goes away? I mean, there is no better story of my life quite frankly, at this
point. You’d be armed to fight it.
Yeah, well, I am I am more than well armed at least the that was that’s the thing like a tornado hits. I’m good because I’m like a rag doll. You know, I’m gonna get bounced around. And I’m I’ve had enough scotch tonight that I’ll just land fine. Rachel, take a second though, before we get out of here because I want folks to know where you’re going to be what you got going on where they can find you all of those things. take a couple minutes and share that with everybody.
Yeah, so I am a freelance software engineer and consultant. I focus mostly on higher education and accessibility, and WordPress. So I do a lot of audits for people. And, or if you want me to go a step further and fix your problems, I have the skill set for that as well.
All the rest of my time goes to WP campus, which is an organization that I am the I founded and it is for people that use WordPress in higher education. We also do a lot of accessibility focus as well. We have two conferences every year. And right now we are we have registrations open for WP campus 2019 which is in Portland at the end of July. We’re about to announce the schedule, which I’m super excited about. It’s going to be really great. I’m finding karaoke locations. It’s tons of fun. Come join us. We have workshops and you know, lectures and just a lot of great networking and stuff. And
next week, I’m going to be the web accessibility summit. with Michael here in Springfield, Missouri.
good crowd gonna be there as it turns out the list here the other day and I was surprised by how big it is.
I’m super excited.
I’m Jeff should be a drunken you excellent. Sure. Sure. The be multiple drunken UX.
I remember last year was the first year and I remember sitting with Michael
that’s that’s kind of a you can bamadesigner.com is my website and @bamadesigner on Twitter. I do tweet a lot about accessibility stuff. And
the rest of my time just hanging out cold upstate New York and never seem to get warm.
You keep telling me the locals keep saying but I you know,
during one of the breaks, I told Rachel that our last official possible frost date is May 28, which is I believe factual. But that it does get warm. Yeah, sounds
like I’m just gonna
send you a weird.
we’re like the day after.
Folks, if you want to find us, check us out on Twitter or Facebook /drunkenux or on the Instagrams. We post the Insta giggles there at /drunkenuxpodcast. All the things are going on all I’ll share some stuff from the accessibility summit. While we’re there. I’m taking my mobile recording kit with me. Maybe I’ll sit down and talk to some folks at that point. We’ll see. I know everybody’s busy it happens. And in all of that nonsense and all of the stuff going on around your head in all the noise and all the work and all the fun. For one thing and the one thing I can leave you with is to keep your personas close but your users closer bye.
This episode of The Drunken UX Podcast brought to you by nuCloud.