Using Pattern Lab and Drupal 8 to Stop Reinventing the Accessibility Wheel

Handouts Media

Scheduled at 8:00am in Waverly on Wednesday, November 20 (2019).



  • Carly Gerard, Web Accessibility Engineer, Western Washington University

Session Details

  • Length of Session: 1-hr
  • Format: Lecture
  • Expertise Level: Intermediate
  • Type of session: General Conference


In 2018, Western Washington University completed a redesign of their homepage. This time, it was redesigned with accessibility in mind. Learn how Pattern Lab and Drupal 8 together created an elegant yet accessible website, with a reusable pattern library so developers can stop reinventing the wheel of accessibility.


In December 2018, Western Washington University unveiled a completely redesigned homepage. Redesigning a homepage that met branding guidelines was important to us, but this redesign gave us another opportunity: to build accessible design into the theme from the ground up, into each aspect of the future website.

In "Using Pattern Lab and Drupal 8 to Stop Reinventing the Accessibility Wheel", we will cover the following topics:

Tools used to complete our redesign from the beginning, including Pattern Lab and Drupal 8; Creating and incorporating accessible components into larger templates using Atomic Design; How developers can reuse components so that their accessibility is maintained; and, How to maintain the accessibility of a living, ever-changing style guide.

By creating patterns that have accessibility baked into their design, we can help developers across campus create accessible content with ease and more certainty.


  1. Having tools for building a pattern library with accessibility in mind
  2. Learning how to maintain style guides and patterns so accessibility doesn't break
  3. Using accessible templating for platforms like Drupal, WordPress, and static HTML sites

Disability Areas

All Areas

Topic Areas

Uncategorized, Web/Media Access

Speaker Bio(s)

Carly Gerard

Carly Gerard has been contributing to the digital accessibility field since 2015, providing training and expertise to institutions such as Gonzaga University and currently Western Washington University. As a Web Accessibility Engineer for Western, Carly implements theme fixes for the university's Drupal, WordPress, and static HTML sites. She also provides accessibility training for web content creators and developers, leads the WWU Accessibility Consortium consisting of key accessibility stakeholders across campus departments, and serves on RFP committees as an accessibility subject matter expert.

Carly earned a certificate with distinction in Assistive Technology Applications from California State University Northridge in 2016, focusing on user populations that benefit from assistive technology as well as web accessibility.


Final Slides: Pattern Lab, Drupal 8, and Accessibility: Don't Reinvent the Wheel