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Rewiring Government

The Department of Better Technology helps governments deliver great digital services to the people who depend on them.

Making Bootstrap accessible

Recently I’ve been working on making Screendoor “508 compliant”. Section 508 is a federal law stating that all IT systems must be accessible to users with disabilities – kind of like WCAG, except mandated by the federal government. In it’s most simplified form, it’s basically a checklist of accessibility best-practices that all federal websites need to follow.

Unfortunately, everyone’s favorite Twitter Bootstrap is rife with accessibility issues. Things like using the <i> tag for icon classes, using anchor tags to toggle menus… and some trickier ones, like encouraging users to use non-semantic header nesting. (Is the biggest header on your site an <h1>? no? bzzzzzzz)

That’s why this weekend we’re hosting an informal gathering in Oakland (and virtually) to work on making Bootstrap follow accessibility best-practices. Where we need your help is filing issues – before Sunday, we would love to have a fairly comprehensive list of where Bootstrap fails 508 and WCAG guidelines. I’ve started building the list, and would love any and all help filling it out:


Bootstrap is already a great foundation for any web project. We hope that after some concerted efforts this weekend, that foundation will be accessible, too.

Adam Becker is a co-founder of The Department of Better Technology.

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