Those who review or develop code are often relied upon to proactively identify and/or resolve accessibility issues during the pull or merge request process. This reliance on individuals increases the likelihood of preventable accessibility issues being missed, merged and released due to human error. We sought to find an automated method to identify accessibility issues in software prior to the manual code review process.
Accessibility automation helps reduce the number of accessibility issues by offloading part of the accessibility review process to automation and enforcing accessibility rules and standards during a project’s build process. Expedia’s Accessibility Team analyzed the many different technology stacks in use enterprise-wide and developed a set of patterns for integrating accessibility automation with native and web-based projects alike.
Expedia Group created The Expedia Accessibility Automation documentation based on the patterns we identified. This documentation guides developers of web, Android, and iOS disciplines through a collection of open-source accessibility automation technologies that can be used within their project to create a comprehensive accessibility automation strategy for their applications.
The described accessibility automation patterns contain three degrees: Minimum, Recommended, and Strict. This effectively allows teams to grow into different target levels of automation and continue to refine their accessibility automation strategy as their internal understanding of accessibility evolves. Comprehensive accessibility automation in a project can warn, instruct, and even stop a developer when it detects an accessibility issue. This is not only useful in improving accessible code quality but is also a mechanism for continuous accessibility learning.
Several teams have integrated varying degrees of accessibility automation within their project. For those who have implemented automation within their project’s build, it has shown to be beneficial in reducing accessibility issues from being merged.
Trenton Lawton, Accessibility Engineer