Together with Mathura Govindarajan I received a 2018 Processing Foundation Fellowship to further develop p5.accessibility.js and create accessible learning resources. The Accessible p5 project was started in 2016 by Claire Kearney-Volpe at the NYU Ability Project. I joined the team in January 2017.
When we talk about “coding for all” and “coding literacy,” people who are visually impaired are most of the time left out. Tools for programming have limited accessibility features and are generally directed toward computer science curricula and not to promote programming as a tool for expression. Accessible learning resources are also limited, with examples being displayed through screenshots or videos that are not screen-reader friendly. Similarly, in code editors most of the feedback is visual and cannot be understood through screen readers.
Because almost all of our communications are now mediated through computers, understanding computational media and computational thinking is essential, and the concept of coding literacy is more important and popular than ever before. Coding literacy is a gateway for thinking about the role code and computing play in our everyday lives and how code shapes the way we communicate.
Processing, the mother of p5, was created with the dual aims of demystifying programming and of approaching coding as a creative and exploratory process that should be accessible to all; p5.js continues these intentions. With this in mind we started the accessible p5 project.
Through this project we:
created p5.accessibility.js, a library that makes any p5.js sketch more accessible to screen reader by providing accessible outputs.
worked with community members to build accessible programming learning resources
developed accessibility features in p5’s web editor