One of the main goals for us at Vaadin is to make the world more connected, through the use of the web and by making it as easy as possible for you to create applications that millions of people can use, without you worrying about browser differences or which mobile, tablet or desktop platform your end-users use.
But just making your application work isn’t enough, you have to think about usability in order to ensure that your end-users get the most out of your application. Vaadin as a technology helps you on the way, but the responsibility is mainly on your UX team.
But not even extensive browser support, extensive device support and extensive end-user centric design is enough in all cases. There is a group that is too often forgotten and this is people with disabilities that make it impossible for them to read and access your web application in the way the rest of us do. Standards such as WAI-ARIA and the US Rehabilitation Act (aka. the 508) try to do exactly this. They ensure that web applications that comply with the standards fill the bare minimum of accessibility.
We’ve been working on accessibility support for Vaadin’s components for a very long time. We’ve added ARIA-attribute support to our components, created notifications that are readable by screen readers and by taking accessibility support as a central criteria for all new components that we develop, among others the upcoming Grid component.
Today we are thus happy to announce that Vaadin now complies with most of the 508 checklist sections and we’ve made the list available for you to see at vaadin.com/accessibility – it even has its own dedicated page on the site because of its importance.
Accessibility is, however, not a one-way thing, it is an ongoing process here for us at Vaadin and also for you as a developer or a project lead. It is not only fulfilling a checklist, it is designing your application in a way that it truly is usable by screen readers and by people with lowered vision. Vaadin as a technology helps you on the way and makes it possible for you to make your application real-life usable.