in Accessibility, Rails

Why Accessibility in Rails is a Non-issue

Maybe a better title for this post would be “Why Accessibility in Rails is Currently a Non-issue”. Last night was the core team panel discussion at RailsConf and there was a question about what the core team was doing to increase accessibility in Rails.

Someone in the core team answered rather vaguely (or maybe I misunderstood the answer) how they had used Rails in a project that required high accessibility. My view is that for the Rails framework accessibility is currently a non-issue. Here is why:

As long as the developer has control over the view code (HTML and CSS) it will always be possible to create an application that is accessible. What happens if you remove that control? Microsoft tried to remove that control in the first incarnations of ASP.NET with the result that some really crappy (and inaccessible) HTML was genereated on the server.

Potential risks?

DHH presented an upcoming plugin: simply_helpful. This plugin will provide convenience methods to create markup in your views. Currently it provides an excellent support to do standard stuff. As long as this plugin doesn’t go haywire with regards to semantics Rails will continue to be an excellent framework for accessible applications.

Could something be made better in the current version of Rails? If scaffolding should be a way to show best practices in accessibility there is a small detail that could be changed right now. Add a lang attribute to the html element (lang=”en”) to indicate the natural language. But, I guess it is up to me and other accessibility advocates to submit as a patch.

Maybe it could be the smallest patch (9 bytes) ever submitted?

  1. I think your presentation and Dan Webb’s talk about the Unobtrusive JavaScript Plugin made alot of attendees aware of the way rails makes it easy to make inaccessible websites. The panel discussion seemed to show the core team is clueless when it comes to accessibility.

    I really hope your talk and Dan’s will have some effect. Your patch and deprecation of the

    bGlua190b19yZW1vdGU=

    method and family would seem like a nice step.

    Anyway I liked your talk and loved your t-shirt!

Comments are closed.

Webmentions

  • Anonymous September 17, 2006

    Why Accessibility in Rails is a Non-issue…

    Peter Krantz talks about accessibility and the recent railsconf europe core team panel discussion….