Accessibility Technology

A Pattern Library as a Foundational Sketch for Web Accessibility Efforts

This is my seventh session from the first day at the CSUN conference.  This session covers LinkedIn’s DaVinci UI Pattern library, which “…demonstrates accessible web patterns that designers and developers can combine into a work of art.”  I’m a big believer in the idea that having published standards can help guide an organization to be consistent with how they do things across channels.  Very much looking forward to this session.






Some details about LinkedIn and their mission statement…



Accessibility Task Force

  • 12 cross-functional team members
  • Design, web dev, iOS engineering
  • Weekly meetings
  • Review designs and code in progress
  • Working a prioritized backlog of enhancements in existing products

Scrum-style process.  We’re building out a group of full-time professionals to help us with accessibility.



A set of pictures that highlight LinkedIn’s mission to help everyone



Getting leverage

  • Company has 1000+ developers
  • Size of dev team has tripled in 2 years
  • Leverage methods

A driving question:  how can one person (or a small team) effectively communicate with such a large development team?



The DaVinci Pattern Library (brings together art & science)

  • Online library of UX patterns for web and mobile
  • Design variants documents
  • Dev implementation documented
  • Accessibility notes (when appropriate)
  • A common language

LinkedIn is considering open sourcing this…”dust” framework and “archetype” are already available.



Library overview

Have several sections to their library; there are separate sections for mobile and desktop.  Each section has samples with “exemplifiers” that highlight what it actually looks like in action.

“Patternable things” can be contributed to the library after at least two development teams have done something that looks like – and they have been identified as – a pattern.


Drew took over and reviewed the iconography the site uses.  They’re switching to use webfonts now instead of sprites because they scale better and are much smaller in size.  They also have an accessibility that explains how the icons should be coded so it is properly represented by screen readers appropriately (and not read out loud as unicode).  Drew then spoke a bit about dialogs and how they should look (modeless and modal).  Dialogs are given focus, are dismissed by the escape key, and place focus back on the previous element after dialog is dismissed.


Sarah then talked about the slider control, an emerging pattern at LinkedIn.  It can be used with numeric values ranges and also discrete values i.e. for privacy (more open, default, private).  Arrow keys move it one increment, while page up/down moves 10, home/end keys move to lowest/highest values respectively.  Both HTML samples and Dust partials are available for implementation to internal developers.


Drew then described how forms are implemented.  Stacked forms are preferred to “sided forms” because some languages are more verbose than others.  They’re replacing JavaScript select boxes, which is saving load times.



Sarah talked a bit about Future Patterns

  • User cards
  • Drop down/overlay controls with full aria
  • Global and page-specific keyboard shortcuts
  • iOS7-style toggle to represent a checkbox


Q & A

Question:  How old is DaVinci?  Answer:  about a year and a half.

Question:  This is a lot of overhead, is it worth it?  Yes, developers are expected to deliver value horizontally and contribute to this.

There were a number of really great questions about practical implementation details as well, sorry but I didn’t catch ’em all 🙁

By Paul Schantz

CSUN Director of Web & Technology Services, Student Affairs. husband, father, gamer, part time aviator, fitness enthusiast, Apple fan, and iguana wrangler.

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