Episode Description:

For front end engineers there are so many frameworks that abstract away the actual HTML sometimes making accessibility and web fundamentals an afterthought. Accessibility in 2023 must be a 1st class citizen. How do you know if you are making things accessible for your users?  Today we are joined by, Derek Fons, a passionate engineer to discuss building a community with empathy, web fundamentals, simple things you can do to make a more accessible website and more.

Derek, has been in the tech industry for over 20 years and has found a home in coding, mentoring and building community. Growing up he barely graduated high school - having to take night school to graduate on time, and he never went to college. His past struggles and overcoming this adversity, has given our guest a unique perspective on building software for people, with empathy at the center. He has held roles at companies like Apple, Amazon, Conde Nast, Everywell and now is a Staff Engineer at Restore Hyper Wellness.

When our guest is not solving technical challenges and creating accessible software he is spending time with his children, mentoring, playing video games, reading comic books and doing CrossFit. It is his mission to help others be their best selves.

Connect with Derek

Show Notes and useful resources:

  • More on Accessibility: Episode 1 with Dezireé Teague
  • More on Mentoring: Episode 3 with Dan Degreef
  • Helpful WCAG Patterns
  • AXE dev tools by deque
  • Lighthouse dev tool
  • Clean code is easy to delete
  • A few tips to test for accessibility:
    • Navigate through your app with just your keyboard
    • Place yourself in the shoes of your users - if building mobile make sure you test it on a cell phone
    • Leverage your built in screen reader utility to test your application
    • Observe how your users use your software if you can
  • Its our job as engineers to make sure we are solving problems for our users and if we are not, our software is useless
  • HTML Links - Make sure you have proper text describing where your links go - not CLICK HERE
  • HTML select drop downs and inputs MUST have focus- Do not remove the default outline!
  • HTML labels are big! Make sure you use labels properly with inputs

Building something cool or solving interesting problems? Want to be on this show? Send me an email at jointhepodcast@unfilteredbuild.com

Podcast produced by Unfiltered Build - dream.design.develop.