AirTable is not accessible and fails to meet WCAG 2.1 Level A criteria

The University of Michigan Library Digital Accessibility Team conducted a brief accessibility evaluation of Airtable to evaluate its conformance with WCAG 2.1 Level A and AA Criteria. This evaluation did not include all functionality or content of the site or all WCAG 2.1 Level A and AA Criteria.

Airtable is not accessible because it fails to meet many WCAG 2.1 level A and AA success criteria such as not being usable by keyboard (2.1.1).

View the full report: bit[dot]ly/2lUsbVz

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Hi @Jonathan_Earley, and welcome to the forum.

It’s unfortunate the Michigan Library Digital Accessibility Team found Airtable non-conformant to the recently established WCAG 2.1, but they certainly have reasons to ensure accessibility - after all, they’re in the media accessibility sector.

To be clear, I am not a representative of Airtable nor am I remotely expert in WCAG standards; I simply build solutions using Airtable as a development platform. And I think the fact that Airtable is a development environment plays a key factor in applying WCAG standards because WCAG was created to make documents more accessible, not specifically every aspect of every development tool or entire platforms more accessible.

There’s certainly plenty of evidence of the vast benefits that adoption of WCAG provides across the globe and the Internet and all web information providers should do more. But let’s be clear - even the WCAG standards themselves – especially WCAG 2.1 standards – are not 100% accessible by everyone [yet]. :wink:

I also think it’s reasonable to consider the WC3’s WCAG exclusions - even they have a difficult time disambiguating the definitions of what constitutes a document, a software application, and bundles of software features.

Consider the following exclusion in the context of Airtable - this counter-example alone, one could vigorously debate the applicability of WCAG to Airtable because it is a pattern that exists pervasively in Airtable solutions.

An office package consisting of multiple programs that launches as a single program that provides multiple functionalities such as writing, spreadsheet, etc., but the only way to navigate between programs is to open a document in one of the programs.

It’s not easy building good software and it’s likely more challenging addressing all the compliance issues, let alone accurately interpreting them.

AirTable is not accessible and fails to meet WCAG 2.1 Level A criteria

Lastly, this title seems a bit sensationalized to me.

The brief evaluation discovered a handful of issues related to keyboard compliance. I suspect there are more that could be found in Airtable with a deep assessment, but this is likely the case for all “web content” and all web apps. It seems a bit of a stretch to lead with “Airtable is not accessible”. Surely, we can agree that vastly, Airtable is accessible and meets many of the WCAG standards by virtue of its deep support of HTML5 and its ability to include and make accessible a broad array of document types which are accompanied by user agents - also a tenet of the web itself and a requirement of WCAG.

In summary, I think everyone supports continual improvements to comply with these standards including the University’s Digital Accessibility Team which apparently has some work to do with its article entitled ‘Baking in’ digital accessibility at the Library.