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Accessibility Review of kexp.org

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Okay, so let's do some demo time. I'm going to go and test a website. Really don't want to trash on this website because it is a international treasure, but we're going to talk about, the user impact of a website that has accessibility problems. So we'll keep in mind things like what's at stake for people who can't use something.

Who are we excluding really, you know, people with disabilities who can't interact with content, you know what what's at stake here. And then how should these issues be addressed through product, through design and through development? So like what can we fix and development, what needs to go back to the drawing board and really be rethought from a product perspective.

So I'm going to get out of my slides and go over to my browser. The site is KEXP. Which I love, I love KXP. It's a Seattle radio station and I definitely do not mean to just isolate them and pick them out. Cause a lot of the things we'll see here are not unique to KXP. I have given them accessibility feedback in the past.

They haven't done anything about it. And that's so common. So for instructional purposes, we are going to navigate KEXP right now to see what the user impact would be. So anyone, you know, who can hear music, listen to sounds, even hear vibrations, would benefit from a music website and being able to play the radio on demand.

Maybe you're not in Seattle, like I'm in Bellingham. So I listen to KXP through the website. So, if I were trying to navigate this with my keyboard, I could start tabbing through here and okay. I've got some visible focus outlines. If I keep tabbing, I can get through some of this content. There's definitely some spots in here where there are like right now, I'm looking at the bottom of my browser and there's a status bar, but I don't know where my focus is.

So there's some keyboard access issues here. I'm going to go back a little bit and see what was that. I think if I keep going back, I can show you what those links were. So there is a menu I can use my keyboard. There's a little menu that slides out. And so here's where those hidden items were. There was a menu that had not been properly closed, you know, a slide-out menu.

And so when it's not visible, those items are still reachable. Which is not a super hard thing to fix. But for a keyboard user, you know, the experience is not ideal. And right now I have this menu open cause I navigated with my keyboard, which I'm glad it opened. That's awesome. But if I hit the escape key or try to get out, there's really no way for me to do that.

And this was inserted into the DM or the document object model after. Like this comes much later. And so it's not the next tab stops. You get into the menu. I can get there. So I got there. That's, that's cool. There's a lot of these menus that you can't reach at all. So that's cool. It's just a little bit of a cumbersome experience.

And now if I close that. I'm in the menu items still, even though I've closed it. So some keyboard, accessibility issues, like if I can see, I can hear, but I don't have great mobility and I need to use the keyboard already. I'm having some challenges. I'm having kind of a one-to-one experience with what a mouse user can do.

Now, if I can't see the screen at all, but I still want to listen to music because you know who wouldn't, I'm going to go and inspect this play button. Cause there's a big, bright white button with a circle and an arrow. And you know, it makes me want to click it as a sighted mouse user and I can reach it with the keyboard because it is an anchor with, an HRF attribute on it.

I think a button element would make sense since this doesn't navigate anywhere, but that's kind of a development detail really. I could reach it. I could make it play with the keyboard, so that's good. But if I'm a screen reader user, and I end the development tools, I can go over here to the little accessibility inspector and see that this link has no text on it.

So it has an image in it. Or, you know, SVG that is being interpreted as an image. It's. The play pause. So if I'm using a screen reader and I can't identify what's on the screen, I, I either just don't I take a guess or I. Use another tool, like, be my eyes or some sort of like image recognition technology to try and identify what this button is.

But already I can't hit the play button with a screen reader alone, and it's kind of a pain. So I think what's at stake here is that people who want to listen to music from KXP. The web experience, excludes them in large and small ways. And so I think for sites like this, sometimes folks, this is where the, I don't know, the importance sort of gets muddied where they're like, oh, it's a music website or of, you know, they're a nonprofit and.

Sorta like muddies down this experience problem of well, but what if someone wants to listen to music? Like, shouldn't it be an equal opportunity to do that? And so kind of, you know, really what's at stake here. This is, this happens on websites all over. Like I said, I don't want to like totally trash and KXP, cause it's not unique to them.

And I know they have limited resources. But even if we give them feedback, they don't act on it necessarily. So like this happens and this is how accessibility persists across the web. And, I bet we all have examples that we can point to that, that do things like this. And so, I mean, the good news is that some of these things are easy to fix.

My hope was that when I wrote to them about color contrast, which I can show you as well. So I'm going to go to an article. Like this one about the band spoon. There's some color contrast issues here. So like the right column has all of these links that have a light gray on white. And when I hover, they have an even lighter yellowish orange, the text in the body of the article.

This is what I wrote to KEXP about and the answer that they would pass it on. And my hope with how I worded it was like, and by the way, like there's some other problems here that would be really important for your audience to fix. And it's been six months at least. And I've had, you know, I've given feedback to other sites, you know, much more, money-making endeavors, you know, I've given lots of accessibility feedback over the years and sometimes it gets addressed, sometimes it doesn't, and there's various reasons, but kind of at the end of the day, The user experience is still not working for a lot of people.

And so it's a real shame. And I think anytime that we're in a position to fix accessibility, we have to think about what's at stake if we don't. And so these systems, you know, we're kind of able ism and discrimination gets up here. A lot of times, it's it sort of gets excused away, you know, because they're a national treasure or they're a nonprofit or they've limited resources, or, you know, this, like the excuses come and go and it gets, yeah, it's kind of, frustrating.

So we have to do what we can to like, feel like we're, we're boiling the ocean, and trying to bring people along and, and make them feel encouraged and not criticized even though. This is where they have criticism. We want to encourage people to come with us on this journey to make things more accessible, to make our national treasures of radio websites more accessible so that we can get the music to more people.

Like that's really the goal. Right? So how will we write that feedback? How we. Communicate what's at stake, but always want to try and be diplomatic and strategic about how we get people on board. And we want to influence people to do the right thing. And even if we have to follow up and go, Hey, what's going on with this color contrast thing.

And by the way, your play button needs a label on it. You know, I think that's probably my next task after this workshop is to go try, go try and, you know, shake the tree a little bit and see what we can do because I love KXP and I want more people to be able to listen to it. So yeah, this one example that how many other websites are there out there that have very similar problems?

Oh, they're playing Fleetwood Mac landslide right now. We're not going to play it, but that's a good one.