Your company needs a website. So you’ve decided to seek out a talented individual to build you one. You know you want a site that is functional and accessible. What questions do you need to ask to ensure that the person you’re hiring knows what they’re doing?
Here are a few to get you started.
What Standard of Compliance Do They Aim For?
We’ve written plenty about the various accessibility standards for web content, as well as the legal requirements for accessibility. Any web developer you interview should, at minimum, be able to recite these standards for you and give you some context as to what they mean for your specific project. It’s important to recognize that WCAG 2.1 AAA compliance is not always possible or realistic. So if your candidate doesn’t want to commit to that standard, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should rule them out.
How Will They Test Your Site’s Accessibility?
Testing is an important part of the development process. And a comprehensive testing process is important for ensuring equal and intuitive access across many devices and use cases. Automated tests like AXE by Deque or AChecker are a great place to start. But these tools only scratch the surface of accessibility. And they don’t provide any real insight into what the user experience is like for users with disabilities.
The best way to test accessibility is to actually use the technologies that you’re building functionality for. A web developer who has experience using screen reading software, for example, can create a superb experience for users accessing your site on screen readers. And automated tests don’t always get these things right. In certain cases, your site could pass these tests with an output of “image, image, image”
Accessibility overlays are a huge red flag when it comes to web accessibility. These shortcuts provide, at best, a mediocre experience—and more often than not, an inaccessible, non-compliant experience. Be wary of anyone who proposes one of these as their accessibility plan.