Building accessible-app.com: Very first steps

In this article series I will be revisiting the idea that I had recently and put in a tweet, labelling it "shower thought": A kind of todomvc.com for building accessible single page apps. The comparison to todomvc is wrong insofar, that it won't be about the selection of the best framework, but about building a showcase on how to solve accessibility problems in different frameworks. But I guess even the skewed comparison in my tweet communicated the idea good enough.

This is part 1 of an article series on building "accessible-app.com".

Read the other posts:

So, how to start? By piling up ideas, prioritizing them - and trying to write about my thought processes while doing so. Usually, I write this stuff down in a non-public note-taking app somewhere, but this time I decided to plan this project in the open and not just to write a list of bullet points, but complete sentences. A catalyst for this decision was also Sara Soueidan's article "Just write."

Name that thing

I know, branding mustn't be the first part of evaluating an idea, but this is a Side Project™ on the internet and tradition demands to think about the domain first 🤓 (also, I need at least a working title for this blog post series!). To cut this short: I registered the domain accessible-app.com.

Brainstorming

Right now I feel as if I need to get keywords and ideas out of my head (or browser bookmarks). I very much expect to get back to this list later.

As I mentioned my favorite web accessibility people in a follow up tweet about this idea (both a pleasure and a pain how easily you can annoy specialist folks with your obsessive ideas on Twitter), Heydon Pickering answered:

I think a resource on all aspects of progressive (single page) apps would be great, covering document structure, focus management, session timeouts, "loading..." etc etc.

That's a good starting point.

The brainstorming list

  • Showcased technologies/SPA-/web-app uses cases
    • Session Timeouts
    • General focus management
    • Modals
    • Tabs
    • Drag and Drop
    • Pop-Up menus/layers
    • Routing/Change of location/window.history
    • Loading content via AJAX
    • Notifying users of changes/ARIA-live or with other measures (e.g. the page title)
    • Custom components (where you can't style the native ones but need more functionality)
    • Buttons
  • Frameworks
    • VueJS
    • React
    • Angular
  • Approach and communication
    • Open Source on GitHub
    • Communication along the lines of: "I'm not an web accessibility specialist but eager to become one. This project is me learning the stuff I feel I need to learn - in the open. Outside contribution would be really great"
  • Misc
    • The classic side project approach: Creating the resource that I think should exist
    • At the same time consolidate my knowledge of VueJS and learn more of React (and maybe someone else could do the Angular part 😇)

Phew.

I guess the following thought is quite normal at this point: "You bit off more than you can chew". But, on the other hand - I have got no deadline, no customer, nothing. Just an urge to learn. And I think even if I'm going to trash this idea in four week's time (and shamefully hide this blog post) - even then I'm certain I learned a lot of things I did not know about regarding web accessibility, or at least planning projects.

If you have any feedback on this whole endeavour, please reach out. Be it via twitter, Mastodon, Webmentions under this or the other blog posts, or blog@marcus.io.