JHipster Creator Keynote at Devoxx UK

The rapid transition to a hybrid workplace has also resulted in an acceleration in the consumption of digital content. Even though online means global reach, part of the world’s population does not have access to it due to various types of disabilities. In his keynote on Devoxx UK, Julien Dubois presented a set of best practices and design principles that could make the software more accessible.

Julien Dubois: 15% of the world’s population, or more than 1 billion people, have accessibility problems, which means that some of us are less fortunate than others.

From the design principles of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG):

Dubois compiled a decalogue of practices that would enable software development professionals to create software that is more accessible to everyone, regardless of condition. By adapting the tools and processes we currently have, one can easily modify the development chain to also include accessibility checks and adjustments.

By giving accessibility the well-deserved attention, we help improve the way people with disabilities interact with our software and help improve their quality of life. As Bill Gates said:

As we live longer, we focus on improving our quality of life

As a first step, companies must adapt and plan for accessibility. By defining what accessibility means for their field and by allocating the necessary resources to move in this direction (points 1 and 2 of the decalogue). Moreover, by using personas, a concrete audience is targeted, which makes it possible to test with one but to reach all (points 3 and 4). By adapting existing software industry knowledge and processes, one can iterate and integrate accessibility in smaller steps, rather than relying on the last phase of development (points 5 and 6). As with many things in software development, accessibility can also be checked, therefore tools can be used to validate if an appropriate level has been reached.

Currently, Accessibility Information provides tools for checking various conditions for Android, Windows, and Web. And, like most other code verifiers, they can be integrated into the pipeline (points 7 and 8). Even though this is a long list for developers, coding with accessibility in mind is actually an opportunity to innovate more and also to train (points 9 and 10).

But leaving aside the ethical and fair aspects of weaving accessibility into the fiber of the software we build, it’s easy to see the opportunity for companies to tap into more sources of capital: in the UK United alone, the #PurplePound – the purchasing power of people with disabilities and their families – is worth £274billion and is expected to grow by 14% a year, but less than 10% of organizations have a targeted plan to access the market of disability.