Important Accessible Design Updates, Salesforce Spring ‘23
March 6, 2023

Salesforce has a LOT of accessible design issues that need to be fixed and each release, we get a few updates that make our end product a little more accessible. The changes affect both LEX and Experience Design sites and while I wish there were many more updates each release, I’ll take what I can get.

Sadly, one of the updates I was really looking forward to was pushed to the Winter ’24 update. So no improvements to color contrasts on about 80 out of the box elements we use to design with every day. However, let’s get into what was updated for this release.

Alt Text Editing Added To Rich Content Editor Component

Before this update, there was no way to add alt text to images in Experience Cloud’s rich content editor. Well, friends, the time has come at last. With this update, all you have to do is right-click the image when the component is in edit mode. Then select “Add Alt Text”, enter your text, and click “Add”.

This is what the alt text modal looks like in experience cloud.

Overall rating? Stephy-approved.

High Contrast Option Added to Dashboards

Dashboards in Salesforce are super useful, but the default chart colors remind me of the old Microsoft or the 1970s.

What the standard dashboard colors are in Salesforce

And there are definitely some accessibility issues there. That orange! With black! Ewwwuh. Bu my color preferences aren’t the point (the black and orange pass, BTW). However, the adjacent color contrasts in relation to each other don’t pass the contrast standard when you check them out on Eighy Shapes color contrast checker.

grid of color contrasts showing which don’t pass AA standards

When a user hits the high contrast button, the colors shift to this:

And this is what I find perplexing. Fewer adjacent colors in THIS chart pass AA standards. In the original color scheme, the black labels pass over each color.

In the high contrast color scheme, they have to switch up black and white labels. Sooooo…..

Yeah. I’m happy they put a high contrast button in there. Nice thought. However, the high contrast mode is arguably LESS accessible than the original.

Now if they added a “direct labelling” option that included the name of the category along with the number, THAT would have solved more problems.

Overall rating? Definitely not Stephy-approved.

Ability to Style Map Markers More Accessibly

Apparently we only had some boring map markers to use before this update: circle, rectangle, and polygon. I’m not sure, this is not a feature I have used as a Salesforce UX designer yet. The update adds “standard, accessibility-compliant colors and shapes” to the mix.

map marker UI

Am I excited about this one? Not really. It’s a good update, I just haven’t had a chance to play with it yet.

Overall rating: Meh, ok.

Add “Next” and “Previous” Buttons to Grid Components and Avoid the “Show More” Button

The next on is simple. Instead of being restricted to a “Show More” button a the bottom of your grid components, you can now choose to use “Next” and “Previous” pagination navigation. It’s definitely a step up for keyboard navigation. Good job, Salesforce team.

Overall rating? Stephy-approved.

More Control Over Component Margins In LWR Sites

LWR experience sites are evolving and this update is a great one. It might seem minor and not necessarily an accessible design update. However, having control over margins in components allows us to control the white space more. In turn, we can help alleviate cognitive overload for our neurodiverse users.

Overall rating? Stephy-approved.

Hopes and Dreams for Future Releases

While these updates (except for that high contrast button) are pretty good and do increase accessibility, there are a mountain of other things I would rather have seen updated. Things like:

  • Bigger default checkbox and radio sizes
  • Move the required asterisk to end of label
  • Give options for placement of error, help, and description text at the very least, move them all between the label and the input, ideally.
  • More visible default focus states for buttons
  • Ability to set default focus state in experience site options
  • Fix the focus states in the top level navigation when a second level exists
  • Fix all of the contrast issues on about 80 or so items.

So I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what’s going to happen in the Summer ’23 update. Fingers crossed.