Inclusive Components: Book Reviews And Accessibility Resources

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Ari Stiles helps coordinate book production for Smashing. She uses her penchant for design, writing, research, and organization to foster meaningful … More about Ari ↬

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Inclusive Components started shipping this month, and the response is overwhelmingly positive. This book is an essential handbook on how to build the most common interface patterns in an accessible way, but it’s also a set of blueprints for building inclusively on every project.

Tuesday, December 3, was the official release date for Inclusive Components, and the reception has been overwhelmingly positive. The book is already an essential resource for accessibility experts and developers.

You Had Me At “Inclusive!”

As the book makes its way to offices, doorsteps, and accessibility meetups all over the world, here are just a few of the mentions we’ve seen so far.

A picture of a black-and-white book cover standing on a wooden surface abd tilted to the side titled Inclusive Components, Accessible web interfaces, piece by piece, written by Heydon Pickering
332 pages. Quality hardcover with a stitched binding and ribbon page marker. The eBook is available as PDF, ePUB and Amazon Kindle.
“While awareness of web accessibility has continually been increasing, the volume and types of errors on home pages suggests that awareness alone is not sufficient to ensuring a highly accessible web experience for users with disabilities [...] Inclusive Components provides precisely the type of guidance, examples, and knowledge necessary to help web authors not only consider accessible interfaces, but actually implement them.”

Jared Smith, Associate Director of WebAIM
“[...] a practical approach to explaining how to build fully accessible UI components with a lot of examples. Understanding and embracing how to build accessible interfaces will improve the quality of our work, but more importantly, it can—sometimes drastically—improve the experience of our users in many ways.”

— Holger Bartel (Source)

So many of us want to build inclusive interfaces, but don’t know where to begin. Heydon’s book provides an entry point: he takes some of the most common interface patterns and shows the reader how to build them inclusively from the start.

Developers can benefit from this approach right away, but accessibility professionals and consultants also gain a valuable resource for working with clients and teams.

“I have found Heydon Pickering to me one of the very best communicators about the subject of digital accessibility. He brings clarity to complex issues and is compelling about how and why accessibility is critically important.”

— Sharron Rush, Executive Director of Knowbility
A photo of Sharon Russ
Sharron Rush, Knowbility

Sharron’s team runs Accessibility audits for existing sites and apps, and they often have to help clients establish new development approaches.

“The Knowbility team loves ‘Inclusive Components’ and highly recommends it to anyone who builds with accessibility in mind.”

Through step-by-step instructions and coding examples, the reader quickly sees how existing habits can change to become more inclusive.

Heydon also guested on the Smashing Podcast last week and summarized the book’s central theme:

“The idea was to both bring accessibility to design systems, but by the same token, think systemically when it comes to trying to address accessibility.”

In Case You Missed It: Heydon Pickering at Smashing

Photo of Heydon Pickering

A Growing Library To Meet A Growing Need

WebAIM conducted an accessibility analysis of the top million websites at the beginning of 2019—the WebAIM Million—and the results made a lot of developers and teams rethink their workflow. Accessibility and inclusion have always been important, but seeing all of the errors and bloat spelled out was enlightening.

A bar graph showing the categories and numbers of errors found during the WebAIM Million survey. Of the million homepages tested, 85% had Low Contrast, 68% had Missing alternative text, 58% had empty links, 52% had missing form labels, 33% had missing document language, and 25% had empty buttons.
The overall results from the WebAIM Million. 97.8% of the sites tested had detectable WCAG2 errors. (Source)

The demand for accessibility resources continues to grow as more companies decide to build sites, apps, and platforms that work for everyone. Inclusive Components is just one of many accessibility resources Heydon has created to help meet this demand:

Heydon’s new project with Andy Bell, Every Layout, takes the same modular approach to CSS as Inclusive Components does for interface patterns.

Where Shall We Go Next?

Smashing’s accessibility resource list continues to grow, too. In addition to the accessibility articles and videos we publish, the community regularly cites Adam Silver’s Form Design Patterns book as a valuable reference for building inclusive forms.

Photo of Sara SoueidanWe also have some videos that you may like watching and listening to: Sara Soueidan held a talk on Applied Accessibility and Marcy Sutton once spoke about Garbage Components recorded live at SmashingConf in New York this past October. We’re sure you’ll find them useful!

We love advocating for an accessible web, but we’d like to know: What other accessibility resources would you like to see in the future? How can we help? Let us know in the comments section below.

Smashing Editorial (ra, il)