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Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Accessibility Guidelines

Why This is Important

Our learners come from varied backgrounds all over the world. We want to create curriculum that:

  • is accessible and relatable
  • our learners see themselves represented in
  • promote our values of social, racial, economic, and environmental justice

Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Best Practices

Internationalize References

  • When choosing locations/currencies for an example, include non-U.S./European examples when possible.
  • Use the metric system unless the precise example or dataset you are using is focused on the U.S., Myanmar, Liberia, or another place/culture that uses a different system of measurement.
  • When requiring learners to use specific strings or variable names, write tests that will pass with inclusive linguistics (color/colour, favorite/favourite, etc.)

Include and Empower Underrepresented People in Tech

  • When choosing names for an example, include non-Eurocentric names and female names.
  • When choosing a name for an example, avoid putting female names in novice examples and male names in expert examples.
  • Avoid making religious references and do not assume learners have the same background as you have.
  • Avoid giving bots female names.
    • For an existent bot with a female name (Alexa, Siri, etc.), refer to it as "it," not "she."
    • Codey (Codecademy's unofficial mascot) is gender-neutral. Refer to Codey as "they" or "them".
  • When submitting an art request featuring a person, be specific about race/ethnicity, age, gender, and ability. Include people from marginalized communities.

Highlight Ethical Quandaries in Tech

  • When selecting an example dataset, consider choosing one that has clear social consequences impacting people's lives.

Accessibility Best Practices

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is the Internet's main international standards organization. W3C maintains a set of guidelines for web accessibility. The most up-to-date version of W3C's Web Content Accessibility Guidelines is WCAG 2.1.

Follow accessibility best practices, according to W3C’s guidelines. Use the following list of best practices as a reference.

To learn more, check out the Accessibility Notion page and Writing for accessibility Notion page. Reach out to the #accessibility channel in Slack if you have questions.

Accessible content best practices to keep in mind

  • Use clear, simple language: Use short, clear sentences and keep your language simple. Aim for a reading level of 7th grade or below, when possible. Use a tool like Hemingway App to find opportunities to simplify.

  • Use descriptive links: Ensure the purpose of a link is evident, ideally even when the link is viewed on its own.

    • A link description should clearly indicate where the link will take the learner
    • A link description should be long enough to easily click on.
    • An optional step is to note media types for links. You can do this by adding "[VIDEO]" or "[PDF]" after links.
  • Write meaningful alt text: Make sure that all non-decorative images have meaningful alt text.

    • Be as descriptive as possible for diagrams and gifs, particularly when they exemplify new concepts. Don’t worry about making alt text too long; alt text should be as long as it needs to be!
  • Write for screen readers: Avoid language that relies on traditional viewing of a page as some user may use screen readers or other assistive technology.

    • Avoid directional language (“above,” “below,” “to the right”).
    • Avoid keyboard/mouse-first language (“click”, “tap”, “press”) and instead use inclusive language (“choose”, “select”, “view”).
    • Write in chronological order, using clear headings to structure your content as headers are used by screen readers to navigate content.
  • Use HTML for structure and emphasis: Use appropriate semantic HTML elements to define the structure of content. This includes proper heading usage:

    • Don’t skip headers in HTML or markdown.
    • Don’t use specific headers to create a specific visual; use them for content organization.
  • Avoid reliance on visuals: When able, include text alternatives for non-text content.

  • Design visuals for accessibility: Ensure all assets meet color contrast requirements, ensure text that appears in a gif is on-screen long enough to be read.

  • Include captions: Add captions to all video and audio content.