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Dungeons and Dragons and Accessibility

This Thursday, May 19th 2022, is the 11th annual GAAD (Global Accessibility Awareness Day). Here’s something a bit silly and nerdy to celebrate it.

Player characters in DnD have six stats: Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma. I like this daft tomato-based explanation:

  • Strength is being able to crush a tomato.
  • Dexterity is being able to dodge a tomato.
  • Constitution is being able to eat a bad tomato.
  • Intelligence is knowing tomato is a fruit.
  • Wisdom is knowing not to put a tomato in a fruit salad.
  • Charisma is being able to sell a tomato-based fruit salad.

What might these look like for an adventurer doing web accessibility? And what are the skills that support each stat?

(Accessibility) Strength

This is about doing. Some skills that support that:

  • Using standard controls where possible
  • Writing semantic HTML
  • Doing Static Analysis (Linting) and writing Automated Tests

(Accessibility) Dexterity

This is about flexibility. Some skills that support that:

  • Testing with the keyboard
  • Testing with browser extensions
  • Testing with Screen Readers

(Accessibility) Constitution

This is about persistence. Some skills that support that:

  • Shifting Left
  • Choosing accessibility as a priority
  • Offering feedback to the previous step

(Accessibility) Intelligence

This is about wide knowledge. Some skills that support that:

  • Understanding the accessibility tree
  • Understanding ARIA
  • Knowing the Standards

(Accessibility) Wisdom

This is about deep knowledge. Some skills that support that:

  • Thinking non-binary: acknowledging and embracing human diversity
  • Going off The Happy Path
  • Avoiding barriers to access: making it more usable for more people

(Accessibility) Charisma

This is about persuasion. Some skills that support that:

  • Offering good motivations
  • Being ready for objections
  • Celebrating good accessibility

Time to level up

How do you want to level up this year? What skill do you want to get a bit better at? I have two in particular that I’ll be focusing on.

  • Writing Automated Tests. I do a lot of manual testing, and some unit tests with axe. But I want to investigate efficient and useful end-to-end testing for a11y.
  • Celebrating good accessibility. I spend a fair amount of time talking about the pros and cons. But I often miss chances to celebrate the good work that teams do.