Achieving A11y Automation Testing

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Accessibility testing has come a long way in recent years. We'll dive into how EmberJS prioritized A11y with meaningful RFC's, Addons, tooling and docs. Most importantly, we'll discuss how these successes can be applied to your very own apps be they Vue, React, Angular or anything else!

Ava Wroten
Ava Wroten
27 min
15 Jun, 2021

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Video Summary and Transcription

This Talk discusses automation testing tools and strategies for accessibility. It highlights EmberJS's approach to accessibility and the efforts of the developer community. The importance of prioritizing accessibility and using tools like Ember A11y testing and Axe-Core is emphasized. Integration with React, Vue, and other frameworks is made easy with NPM packages. The Talk also emphasizes the value of manual testing and user evaluation alongside automation testing.

1. Introduction to Accessibility Automation Testing

Short description:

Hello, everybody from around the world attending TestJS Summit 2021. I would love to speak to you today about some automation testing tools and strategies that everybody here hopefully can use starting today, if they wish to, around the topic of accessibility, specifically accessibility automation testing, this is a very exciting topic for me. My name is Ava Gayde-Rohten and I am a lead full stack software engineer at SkillsEngine where we build apps in rails and in EmberJS. So there's plenty of JavaScript, which is where I put my focus. And that focus is mostly in the framework of EmberJS. We will in this presentation, talk a little bit about EmberJS and specifically how it tackled accessibility, I believe it did a really good job and I'll get into how and why. And then we will cover some tools and strategies for everyone, regardless of what you're using, you might be on react, maybe you're on Svelte or Vue, for example, doesn't matter. We'll talk about those things. We'll also talk about how to automation test some of that, as well as generally taking ownership and being able to contribute perhaps back to some open source projects or the framework that you were working in. Ember has been embracing web standards for some time now. We like to say that we are very HTML first. We focus on W3C recommendations, MDN patterns, and HTML first allows us to inherently be very cognizant of accessibility. So let's get this out of the way. This is an important, I guess, let's talk about why accessibility is important. Not just some stories that I've had. People with disabilities are the world's largest minority.

Hello, everybody from around the world attending TestJS Summit 2021. I would love to speak to you today about some automation testing tools and strategies that everybody here hopefully can use starting today, if they wish to, around the topic of accessibility, specifically accessibility automation testing, this is a very exciting topic for me.

I want to get one thing out of the way. If you see in my slides, or I say out loud, A11y, which you can see on the screen right now, that simply means accessibility A11y accessibility, they are synonymous. Brief explanation of why that is. There are 11 characters between the A and the Y in accessibility. And if you've been working with internationalization in the past, you might be used to seeing I18N it's the same thing I18N for internationalization and A11Y for accessibility. But I digress.

My name is Ava Gayde-Rohten and I am a lead full stack software engineer at SkillsEngine where we build apps in rails and in EmberJS. So there's plenty of JavaScript, which is where I put my focus. And that focus is mostly in the framework of EmberJS. A bit of this talk will be in EmberJS, which I imagine not too many people here are using, but I would like to share some of my background in that and some success story. And then we'll get into how to apply that to what it is that you are working on.

So, as I just stated, we will in this presentation, talk a little bit about EmberJS and specifically how it tackled accessibility, I believe it did a really good job and I'll get into how and why. And then we will cover some tools and strategies for everyone, regardless of what you're using, you might be on react, maybe you're on Svelte or Vue, for example, doesn't matter. We'll talk about those things. We'll also talk about how to automation test some of that, as well as generally taking ownership and being able to contribute perhaps back to some open source projects or the framework that you were working in.

So last year, 2020 EmberConf, I spoke virtually at that conference about a slightly different success story around accessibility. That one was about how we were able to make a feature that we were shipping in our application even better by making accessibility a priority, we were able to have engineering, QA, design and product all much happier with the thing that we delivered, we were able to deliver some automated tests around something that was clicking draggy. And that's very difficult to write automation tests around. And because we added in accessibility, we were able to test that instead. That's a different topic for an update, but I have had multiple success stories, not just in Ember, but in accessibility as well. And I'll talk to you about some of that today.

Ember has been embracing web standards for some time now. We like to say that we are very HTML first. We focus on W3C recommendations, MDN patterns, and HTML first allows us to inherently be very cognizant of accessibility. So let's get this out of the way. This is an important, I guess, let's talk about why accessibility is important. Not just some stories that I've had. People with disabilities are the world's largest minority.

2. Accessibility Made Easy

Short description:

Accessibility doesn't need to be hard. Getting started, diving in, making some of it happen doesn't need to be hard. It can be automated and make your work easier.

There are some common things that go along with that. You might be able to argue that if you make apps that target people who have disabilities as well, you get more customers and more innovation in your product. And those kinds of things are very true. Those are legitimate and those are valuable. But what I want to talk about is a little bit different. And I wanted to also say that people with disabilities is a broad term that speaks to many different things. It includes, but it's not limited to visual, auditory and motor disabilities as examples. But what I want to tell you all today is that accessibility doesn't need to be hard. Sure, doing it perfectly, or even doing it extremely well. That's hard. Getting started, diving in, making some of it happen doesn't need to be hard. It can be automated and furthermore, it can make your work that you do on a day to day even easier.

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