July 20–24, 2015
Portland, OR

Listen to the difference: Using a screenreader to compare before/after code of 5 top accessibility barriers

Nicolas Steenhout (Part of a Whole)
10:00am–10:40am Friday, 07/24/2015
Design E145
Average rating: *****
(5.00, 6 ratings)

Prerequisite Knowledge

No specific knowledge required ahead of time.


This presentation will demonstrate what the top five accessibility barriers are for screenreader users. Working with a free open source screenreader called NVDA, we will interact with problematic code to get a good idea of what the issues are. We will then discuss simple rewrites to improve accessibility. We will compare the behavior of the improved code to the old one.

Using a combination of real-world examples and code snippets, we will go through problematic alternate text, poorly labelled forms, lack of headings, badly formed data tables, and keyboard navigation.

You will gain a greater understanding of web accessibility barriers, and acquire some specific ideas on how to resolve them.

Photo of Nicolas Steenhout

Nicolas Steenhout

Part of a Whole

Nicolas Steenhout is a veteran of, and passionate advocate for, web accessibility. Nic had taken the lead in building several websites prior to taking up a federally-funded position in the disability sector in the US in 1996. An international speaker, trainer, and consultant, Nic works with government, corporations, and small teams in the areas of both web and physical accessibility. Working with and for thousands of people with disabilities in North America and Australasia, while working with web technologies and their impact, has given Nic a unique insight into the challenges, solutions, and nuts and bolts of web accessibility.