Facebook Updates Accessibility Efforts

By David Cohen Comment


Facebook made two accessibility-related announcements Monday, sharing its HIKE primer and introducing an accessibility application-programming interface for React and React Native.

Rayma Sethuraman, who works on accessibility for the social network, offered details on HIKE in a blog post, saying:

The primer teaches some essentials of Web accessibility through simple exercises. HIKE is an acronym to help people remember the basic principles of writing accessible code for the web:

  • H stands for headings and semantic content.
  • I stands for images and non-text content.
  • K stands for keyboard navigation.
  • E stands for a little extra love to build custom components and to address issues of color contrast and text size.

She added:

If you’re interested in accessibility and know the basics of HTML, CSS and JavaScript, you will be able to use this primer. The concepts are easy to understand, and anyone with an interest in web development can take the tutorial. The acronym HIKE by no means encompasses the entire diverse field of accessibility, but our primer gives you a quick way to get your feet wet before you jump into the world of accessibility. Welcome, and join the HIKE!

Software engineers Georgiy Kassabli and Chace Lian discussed the new API in a blog post, saying that it enables developers to “make any React-powered experience usable by someone who may use assistive technology, like a screen reader for the blind and visually impaired.”

Kassabli and Lian also detailed an example of how the new API can be used, and they concluded:

React Native provides a powerful way for you to build applications on iOS and Android, and it enables efficient reuse of code. With the React Native Accessibility API, you can make sure the great experiences you are creating will be usable by people with disabilities and other users of assistive technology.

Readers: What do you think of Facebook’s accessibility efforts?