Creating Accessible Software Development Tools

Conversations about accessibility in tech typically center around end users. But, asks Suz Hinton, “how accessible are the tools we code for other developers?”

Developers want to create the best tools they can for their peers, Hinton writes in a recent article for Increment. “They want to make their tools easy to use, help save others’ time, and preserve their cognitive load, … and accessibility is an important and integral part of that strategy.” 

When creating accessible software development tools, Hinton says, the following areas are important to keep in mind:

  • Creating highly accessible documentation can have a large impact on both the usability and popularity of a project. Hinton recommends the Hemingway app as a tool for assessing your documentation’s accessibility. The app analyzes text and scores it based on tiered reading levels, starting at the U.S. fifth-grade level.
  • Translating your docs into languages other than English can increase the accessibility of your software for other developers.
  • Creating visual content, such as diagrams and charts, with color blindness, blindness, and vestibular conditions taken into account. For example, ask yourself whether the information can be easily understood without reliance on color.

“Accessibility is one of the yardsticks for evaluating the quality of a tool,” Hinton notes. “The more accessible you make it, the more the community who uses it can grow. Accessibility is not just an end user concern, it is a peer concern.”

Read the complete article at Increment.