SciPy 2023

Accessibility best practices for authoring Jupyter notebooks
07-13, 14:20–14:50 (America/Chicago), Amphitheater 204

So you’ve written the perfect notebook, but do you know who can read it? As a notebook author you have great stories, code, and visualizations filling your work, but how often do you consider accessibility? Jupyter notebooks seem like they are for everyone, but how a notebook gets written can greatly impact how usable it is for people with disabilities. We’ve curated authoring-focused best practices for notebook content to help your notebooks be more inclusive and reach a wider audience.

Accessibility practices are for everyone, but this may be especially important to notebook authors in academic and public settings where it is often legally required. Using staple accessibility frameworks, this talk will dive into what it means to make your notebook’s content accessible and provide actionable guidance on how you as an author can improve your notebooks. These skills can be applied regardless of preferred notebook interface, author skill set, or prior accessibility knowledge.

This talk is best for an audience that is familiar with Jupyter notebooks. Prior accessibility knowledge or any other Jupyter knowledge is not necessary. The content is likely to be most engaging for an audience who regularly authors notebooks.

The structure of the talk will be as follows:
1. Background and introduction to accessibility (7 minutes)
1.1 Why this talk? (Hint: community members have requested it)
1.2 Defining accessibility and scoping: what we will and won’t cover in the talk
1.3 Common terms (disability, WCAG, assistive technology)
2. Breaking down the notebook with WCAG (13 minutes)
2.1 Perceivable elements (Labels, colors, alternative forms of content)
2.2 Operable elements (Labeling for interactive areas, keyboard controls)
2.3 Understandable writing and structure (Markdown headings, summaries, plain language)
3. Adopting a notebook accessibility checklist (2 minutes)
4. What you can do next (2 minutes)
5. Questions (6 minutes)

At the end of this talk, attendees will
* Have an awareness of foundational accessibility principles and how they can appear in Jupyter notebooks.
* Be able to identify common accessibility pitfalls (ie. misused Markdown, incomplete visualizations, etc.) in Jupyter notebooks and what to do instead.
* Have a checklist for easy reference of accessibility best practices when writing their own notebooks or editing existing ones.

I've been working in open source since 2019 as part of multiple projects involving scientific computing and IDE development. The last two years a lot of my work has been focused on providing a better UI/UX of multiple applications. I've given multiple talks about different topics, the two most recent are available in the following links:

This speaker also appears in:

Isabela Presedo-Floyd (she/her) is a question-asker and UX/UI and Accessibility Designer at Quansight Labs. She is an enthusiasm enthusiast who works on tools that support open, reproducible science.