The PowerShell Gallery is now more Accessible
Over the past few months, the team has been working hard to make the PowerShell Gallery as accessible as possible. This blog details why it matters and what work has been done.
Why making the PowerShell Gallery more accessible was a priority
Accessible products change lives and allow everyone to be included in our product. Accessibility is also a major component of striving toward Microsoft’s mission to “Empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.” Improvements in accessibility mean improvements in usability which makes the experience better for everyone. In doing accessibility testing for the Gallery, for example, we found that it was confusing for users to distinguish between “deleting” and “unlisting” packages. By clearly naming this action in the UI, it makes the process of unlisting a package more clear for all package owners.
The steps taken to make the PowerShell Gallery more accessible
The first part of the process focused on bug generation and resolution. We used scanning technology to ensure that the Gallery alerts and helper texts were configured properly, and were compatible with screen reading technology. We use Keros scanning which is Microsoft’s premier accessibility tool to identify accessibility issues and worked to triage and fix the detected issues.
For the second part of the process, we undertook a scenario-focused accessibility study. For the study, blind or visually impaired IT professionals went through core scenarios for using the Gallery. These scenarios included: finding packages, publishing packages, managing packages, and getting support. The majority of the scenarios focused on searching for packages as we believe this is the primary way customers interact with the Gallery. After the study concluded we reviewed the results and watched recordings of the participants navigating through our scenarios. This process allowed us to focus on improving our lowest performing scenarios by addressing specific usability improvements. After making these improvements we underwent a review by accessibility experts to assure we had high usability and accessibility.
- Screen Reader Compatibility: Screen reader technologies make consuming web content accessible so we underwent thorough review, and improvement, to ensure that the Gallery was providing accurate, consistent, and helpful information to screen readers. Some examples of areas we improved:
- Accurate Headers
- Clearly labeled tables
- Helpful tool tips
- Labeled graph node points
- Improved Aria Tags: Accessible Rich Internet Applications (Aria) is a specification that makes web content more accessible by passing helpful information to assistive technologies such as screen readers. We underwent a thorough review, and enhancement, of our Aria tags to make sure they were as helpful as possible. One improvement we made, for example, was an ARIA description explaining how to use tags in the Gallery search bar.
- Renamed UI elements to be more descriptive: Through our review we noticed we were generating some confusion by labeling the unlist button as “delete” and we worked to fix these types of issues.
- Filters: We added filters for the operating system to make it easier to find compatible packages.
- Results description: we made searching for packages more straightforward by displaying the total number of results and pages.
- Page Scrolling: we made searching for packages easier by adding multi-page scrolling.
Our goal is to make the Gallery completely user friendly. If you encounter any issues in the PowerShell Gallery that make it less accessible/usable we would love to hear about it on our GitHub page. Please file an issue letting us know what we can do to make the Gallery even more accessible.