Auditing the Accessibility for Keyboard Navigation – Intuit
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Auditing the Accessibility for Keyboard Navigation – Intuit

Introduction

During the summer of the pandemic, Intuit continued to host it's internship program and I ended up working remotely. This was an incredibly valuable and definitely one of the most interesting projects I have worked on. This opportunity opened my eyes to the value of having accessibility and what designers can bring into Accessibility. Especially, this has inspired to look into the idea of interaction design and accessibility. I realized there was a lot understanding on the idea of accessibility but not a lot in actual application and more complex interactions. Thus, information about accessibility gets lost and not applied to it's best extent.

This position placed me in between designers and engineers. I was tasked to learn the most I can about keyboard navigation and how to look at code to be made accessible. It was kind of interesting to see how components are assembled, and see why accessibility is a huge thing in Intuit. Strangely, when we do our finances or taxes- there is a feeling of independence and relief that comes with it. The fact that Intuit is making their products accessible, reveals the impact of independence for these users that are often forgotten.

Accomplishments

During this internship, I wanted to keep my goals more low key. Also I felt like when Covid19 hit, it kind of made me feel some type of way especially with everything else coming into picture. I felt like I wanted to assure I make it through this internship building up on skills I wanted to work on.

  • Networked among those who are accessibility enthuastist
  • Presented and taught Keyboard Accessibility during a Lunch & Learn
  • Became an Accessibility Champion, Level One
  • Learned so much more about accessibility
  • Keep myself more organized

The Assignment

Audit Intuit's various products, and document different interactive components. The documentation includes the functionality, the location, and ways to improve the components. Then initiate the best practices for the overall components that's been documented. Later apply these accessible best practices into Intuit's design system for Accessibility Practices for engineers and designers to use.

The Problem

A lot of Intuit products were scattered, there aren't consistent uses of a specific component. This is due to a lot of things that are happening underneath the hood of their products. Many teams were switching from one framework to React due to accessibility reasons. There was also no clear case of what was best practice of a specific component for them to apply across their products.

The Process

Curated Components

What I learned from this project

Intuit has been transferring from a framework to a newer framework and it is honestly messy. However, the messiness is inevitable and there was a lot of discussion on how accessibility should be approached. Especially that there wasn't a clear guideline to how things should be designed. Another thing I learned is where accessibility can be applied, there is a disconnect between designers and engineers. The deliverables from designers wouldn't cover the accessible aspect nor how to specifically code a component to be the most accessible. Thus, a consistent guideline on how an accessible component could be constructed.

Improvements for Next Time

During the feedback sessions, I got from my managers and others I realized there a lot of mistakes I made during the internship. I feel like I did not communicate very effectively. Especially during COVID19, communication is an essential thing and not talking about what's happening clearly does not help anyone. Also, this internship was a true test on my motivation since it was work from home. I believe that, an essential thing to retain motivation is multiple projects and that is one thing I regret from this internship is being more initiative on my own projects rather than focusing on the internship project.

Inspiration

This internship really opened my eyes to what accessibility can do. Especially that I am one who takes interest in complex interactions. The vagueness of interaction for accessibility is very alluring and I want to learn a lot more about it. For instance, the interaction of Tabs or Accordions are highly dependent on the component and the keys used. If there isn't a clear cue of what separates one form the other it gets confusing. Then there is an interesting way of organizing components in terms by keys, too much of TAB can be exhausting and just plain annoying. Whereas, integrating arrow-keys into the Tabs versus TABBing through the entire thing.