Rachel R. Vasquez, also known as Rachie with a Vee, is a WordPress enthusiast who loves writing, drawing, animation, and a million other things. She hopes to at least share her WordPress joy with others.
Are you a web developer who doesn’t write code outside of work hours? One of those web developers who don’t have an active Github account and loads of side projects? Have you ever felt less valuable than other developers due to not staying after hours or weekends for your job? Less valuable because you haven’t tried all the latest and greatest frameworks/languages?
And finally, have you ever been told or made to feel that you “lack passion” due to the above mentioned points? Then this post is for you. Let’s chat about the feeling of passion in web development.
What’s a girl to write about after so long? Why, things that she loves of course – WordPress and Accessibility. I’ve been getting to know WAI ARIA in recent months, specifically using ARIA landmark roles in WordPress. This seemed like a great place to start as it was a handful of markup to memorize in an otherwise vast amount of ARIA to learn. It’s also familiar to developers if they’ve browsed through WordPress.org themes even if they haven’t realized it yet.
Before we move on, if you’re unfamiliar with what WAI ARIA is ( ARIA for short ), I’ll direct you to W3.org’s reference first.
Now if you’re like me, and stopped reading by the second line of that massive intimidating wall of jargon, I’d advise reading something easier on the eyes ( and brain ) like the A11y project’s, “Getting Started with ARIA“. I also found this lengthy article recently, “Introduction to WAI ARIA” written by Gez Lemon, and although it’s from 2008, it cleared up a lot for me. I’d recommend giving it a read through.
Now that we have a basic understanding of what ARIA is ( not the pirate Queen of Omega* ), let’s go over what ARIA landmark roles are and how they can make our WordPress themes more accessible.
* A Mass Effect reference that I couldn’t help, but take advantage of.
It’s been half a year since I joined the 10up team and I’ve been learning so much about the CMS I love so far. Working with a company where I can continue my WordPress adventures full time has been a rewarding experience. I’ve met new people, dived into open source, and made new discoveries in WordPress. Since it’s long past due for a new post here on RachieVee, I’d love to share 10 WordPress things I’ve learned working with 10up – a mixture of newly discovered tools, techniques and functions!
Spoiler alert, I’ve written more than ten and there are front-end related things too. Confession, I just wanted to use the whole 10 things with 10up title.
I’m still here on my ongoing mission of coding accessibly. There is one HTML element that has become a huge stepping stone for me once I learned how to properly use it. That stepping stone was the button element. What? The button element? Why the heck do we need that? Well, if you’ve ever seen code like below, or have written code like this ( points to herself ), then this post is for you:
<!-- Have you written this for modal integration? -->
<a href="#">I trigger a modal</a>
<!-- Or how about for carousel navigation? -->
<a href="#">Previous Slide</a>
<a href="#">Next Slide</a>
<!-- Or how about a show/reveal effect -->
<img src="images/some-image.jpg" alt=""/>
<a href="#">Click for more!</a>
<p>Some more info is here!</p>
<!-- There's something wrong with the above methods. -->
<!-- We're going to go over what they are. :-) -->
To be honest, I’d been writing code like the above for years until I realized I was missing opportunities. I know other developers that also write code like the above. Why is this the case? Well, there have been some theories of ignorance and fear being the source. In my case, “semantics” was just one of those words that I didn’t come across in the beginning. I just wanted to build things that I could see. It was like trying to build a cabinet with a box full of tools without truly understanding the tools. Sure I can hammer in all the nails and call it a day. Or I can take the time to see what’s in the toolbox. Maybe I’ll find that a screwdriver might be a better tool for some areas of the end product then a hammer. In the end, using the right tools for the job will result in a higher quality product… or cabinet?
And semantics – what does that even mean? Take it from a gal who was thrown head first into web development from a fine arts degree and had to google words like “repository” during her first week. There’s so much lingo out there! Even now, as a more experienced dev, it makes my head spin. So let’s go over it all, shall we? How to use the button element and when it’s the right tool for the job.
I know it’s the last day of 2015, and new content has been less frequent than usual. However, I wanted to take time this morning to write as so much has happened throughout 2015. 2015 was a year of changes, for this blog, RachieVee, personally and professionally. It’s pretty amazing to see how far I’ve come and I’m looking forward to what the new year brings.