Digital accessibility is more important than ever. With millions of people across the globe confined to their homes as a result of the global pandemic, digital tools and technologies have become the main mechanism to work, learn, and buy essential goods and services. And the more than 1.3 billion people worldwide living with disabilities can’t be left behind.
But meeting web accessibility guidelines typically increases the requirements in your software projects, which means adding development time when there is no time to waste in getting your apps to market. And this is why accessibility is often left behind, despite the host of benefits that creating accessible applications can bring. At OutSystems, we think that building applications at speed can’t be at odds with ensuring they comply with the highest accessibility standards.
How OutSystems Makes Developing Accessible Applications Easier
Since 2019 we’ve been investing heavily in understanding how we can better support our customers in meeting the accessibility standards. Back then, we made it easier for developers to create accessible web applications that comply with WCAG 2.1 AA on our traditional development model.
Today, as a celebration of the Global Accessibility Awareness Day, we’re happy to announce that we’ve brought these capabilities to our state of the art reactive model, to support developers in creating accessible applications for both web and mobile. This means you can now take advantage of the more than 70 accessible patterns, widgets, and screen templates in OutSystems UI.
You can also create any custom accessible pattern or interface you need, using low-code to set styles, colors, HTML tags, and ARIA roles. And we’ve made new accessibility features available that will enable you to implement focus states, skip to content options, accessible links, contrast enhancing, and text spacing, among other actions.
Accessibility Development Accelerators
We wanted to ensure that developing accessible applications with OutSystems is much faster. This is why we’ve created a set of development accelerators to enable accessibility features and a UI framework with 70+ prebuilt WCAG 2.1 AA compliant patterns and widgets. These patterns come with built-in accessibility, containing:
- Compliant contrast ratio for typography, icons and content placeholders
- Semantic tags added by default
- Pre-configured ARIA roles to work with assistive technology
- Built-in keyboard navigation
We’ve also adapted our set of ready-to-use screen templates to include all the accessibility accelerators by default. These screens combine accessible out-of-the-box components with compliant page layouts.
All of this means you’ll have less coding work to implement common, accessible screens, and user interactions such as carousels, accordions, and drop-down search boxes. Check the OutSystems UI Live Style Guide to try-out all the available accessible components.
Accessibility Customization With No Limits
While we wanted to give you as much built-in accessibility as possible, we also wanted to ensure you weren’t limited in any way if you needed to create your own custom accessible patterns, widgets, or screens.
You can use low-code to easily set styling, color contrast, HTML markup, and ARIA roles to ensure that whatever you create can be suitable for keyboard-only navigation and assistive technologies, such as screen readers. You have full freedom to create even the most complex and rich custom UI patterns and interfaces in a fully accessible way.
Scale Accessibility Best Practices Easily
Documenting, sharing, and reusing accessibility best practices across your applications can also be a big help in scaling your efforts and ensuring your projects are on time and budget. This is why we’ve made the OutSystems Live Style Guide fully accessible on both the traditional and reactive models.
You can use it to create your own accessible design system and easily reuse branded accessibility-friendly components and styling. This will reduce duplicated work and ensure visual consistency so that inclusive design takes center stage across all your applications.
Automated accessibility testing has a fundamental role in speeding up design and development and in assisting developers with ensuring nothing is forgotten while developing accessible applications. So we’ve made sure you can use widely-adopted accessibility testing tools in your OutSystems apps like you would in any website or application generated by other means. These include SiteImprove, AATT, and A11Y compliance platform, among many others.
Make Your New and Existing Apps Fully Accessible Today
If all of this made you wonder if your applications are accessible to everyone, you can start improving them now. Whether you’re creating apps from scratch or updating existing ones, all you need to do is sign up for a free personal environment, if you haven't yet, and go through this accessibility configuration guide. You’ll make your apps fully accessible in no time!
We will keep pushing to improve accessibility in all our customer's applications by continuously improving our style guides, templates, patterns, and widgets, keeping them up-to-date with the latest guidelines from W3C-WAI. Our goal is to make sure everyone has access to applications you create with OutSystems.