What's new with Stark

Release Notes

See what’s new, what’s changed, and what we’re working on here at Stark.

Introducing our new free resource: WCAG Explained!

Understanding the WCAG can feel daunting. To help, we went ahead and wrote summaries for each and every criteria. Yep. All of them. Let’s talk about how to use them and why we did it.

February 20, 2024

Introducing filters and WCAG conformance level settings for real-time reports in Stark

Bug fixes and improvements in Figma:

  • Optimized the Annotation Sidebar by adding live updates to any changes in copy from the annotation tools: Focus OrderAlt-Text, and Accessibility Notes.
  • Optimized live updates from Typography and Touch Targets: if you make any changes to the type or target size in a selected layer, the plugin will update automatically to match these changes.
  • Optimized image rendering performance for the Vision Simulator.
  • Updated the display of users’ profiles by showing their full name and avatar in the plugin.
  • Updated Accessibility Notes by adding the count of each of each annotation type to the menu.
  • Updated the design system in the plugin.
  • Improved performance when repositioning annotations in the canvas.
  • Improved Alt-text and Accessibility Notes performance when adding an annotation without having previously selected a layer.
  • Added the ability to reorder Focus Order annotations.

Bug fixes and improvements for the Web App:

  • Optimized the Navigation bar by adding the ability to sort through Projects and simplified the steps to access multiple teams within an organization.
  • Optimized the Web App for Dark Mode.
  • Updated the design across the app to a new design system.
  • Updated the WCAG downloaded report to the new design.
  • Implemented the ability to filter through all the WCAG conformance levels for GitHub and URL assets.

Bug fixes for the browser extension:

  • Optimized the issue cards for the WCAG results to match the new design system and cohesively display the same content length across every tool.
  • Updated the design system in the browser extension.
  • Implemented the ability to filter the audit results across all the WCAG conformance levels.
  • Improved mobile usability by adding the ability to close and open the extension in small displays.


January 25, 2024

Introducing Project Management Integrations, all-new Annotations, and major Sidekick updates

Bug fixes and improvements in Figma:

  • Fixed overlapping of annotation badges by adding a Sidebar Panel that contains written annotations and optimized the positioning of multiple badges across all selected layers.
  • Improved overall performance and speed for annotations to display in the new Sidebar Panel.
  • Optimized and improved Alt-text annotations with three text options to choose from, and supporting translations to German, Spanish, French, and Italian.
  • Implemented a brand new set of Accessibility Notes including VoiceOver, TalkBack, Narrator, and General Notes.
  • Optimized migration of new annotations by continuing to support existing annotations in a file and selecting the right repositioning of badges on each layer.
  • Fixed Sidekick instance where Alt-text issues that were resolved were not removed from the plugin.
  • Fixed instances where landmark annotations were displayed outside of the frame or got clipped when the selected layer was too close to the edge of the frame.
  • Updated touch targets around the eye dropper tool in our Contrast Checker to improve the experience when changing Contrast models.
  • Improved navigation on the Dev Mode annotations by optimizing the scrolling and padding between issue cards.

Bug fixes and improvements for the Web App:

  • Implemented the ability to create tickets across multiple Ticketing System Integrations including Linear, Asana, Azure Dev Ops, ClickUp, Gitlab, Bitbucket, GitHub Issues, and Trello.
  • Fixed an instance where a specific Figma file was causing the scan to fail on the Web App.
  • Updated security practices to our team invite protocol.
  • Improved performance of the Project creation workflow.

Bug fixes for the browser extension:

  • Formatting fix for the downloaded Report of the WCAG audit on the browser extension.
  • Fixed a line-height bug that created accessibility issues (SC 1.4.12) when the browser font size was adjusted.
  • Optimized performance by removing false positive results on the WCAG audit and streamlined results across the browser extension and the Web App.
  • Optimized icons for dark mode.
  • Implemented a bug fix for an edge case bug where zooming at 200% was limiting the extension’s navigability.


November 21, 2023

Meet Live URL Scanning, and brand-new team admin controls

We’re adding live URL scanning to the Stark platform to provide full end-to-end accessibility from design and code to the live product.

New Team Admin Controls 

  • Avatars and Names: added the ability to upload avatars for teammates and the organization's logo. 

  • Teammate Invites: added invitation status to the team management view.
  • Search for teammates: added a lightning-fast search on top of your team member list.
  • Activity, roles, and open seats:  added the ability to see the number of total seats and remaining seats, as well as the ability to filter the list by activity status.

Updates to Figma

  • Updated the color picker to show an “Input of type color” popup.
  • Improved the Contrast Checker by adding Variables to the color menu dropdown (as long as they’re local to the file).
  • Added the ability to annotate Reading Order. 

Updates to Plugins and Extensions 

  • Removed false positives from showing up in the results.
  • Updated the WCAG results to show in numerical order based on every rule.

October 17, 2023

Meet Stark's Compliance Center

Stark's Compliance Center and Stark Universal Accessibility Framework (SUAF)

  • Stark's Compliance Center is the central place to manage companies' entire accessibility posture transparently, efficiently, and evidence-backed. Deeply integrated with our tooling and the Stark platform, Compliance Center is the best tool in the market for companies of all sizes to manage accessibility in the same agile, proactive way as we do privacy and security.
  • Stark Universal Accessibility Framework (SUAF) is a collection of actions, best practices, and process guidelines to make meaningful, measurable progress toward accessibility compliance, and increasing your company’s accessibility maturity.

Bug fixes and improvements to the Figma Plugin

  • Fixed hidden image fills on layers showing up in Sidekick Alt-text results.
  • Fixed boolean nodes (i.e., a layer cutting out another layer) from not correctly getting simulated in Vision Simulator.
  • Fixed the Vision Simulator: now the preview image math so it doesn’t sometimes overflow and cause scrollbars on the first load.
  • Fixed Sidekick not remembering the tab selection.
  • Enhanced handling of 1:1 or mixed color fills in Sidekick contrast results.
  • Made it so that in Sidekick, Aria-notes, Alt-text, etc., whenever you click on something, it will scroll to that layer in the canvas.
  • Made it so that we remember the scroll position for things like Alt-text that have a detail view. If you go into edit Alt-text and click back, it will no longer scroll users to the top.
  • Changed the size of the tab font in Sidekick so that 4-digit numbers didn’t cause overflow issues.
  • Added a setting for “Show suggestions”, you can either select it in the Settings menu or it will remember whatever you do on the Contrast/Typography pages. This is a global setting so, for example, hiding suggestions in Contrast will cause them to be hidden in Typography.
  • Removed the Frame/Artboard select from both Simulation and Generate tabs - we will now simulate or generate whatever element you have selected.

Updates to Browser Extensions

  • Fixed the selected Vision Simulation state to match the plugins’ design.
  • Updated the score box styling to better fit higher digits.
  • Added the “Show suggestions” feature from the plugins.
  • Improved annotations to match the plugin’s designs.
  • Adds a filter menu to the Alt Text page to select between Written, Decorative, To-Do, and Incorrect items.
  • Changed font size of tabs in WCAG audit so they don’t overflow when there are too many issues being flagged.

September 20, 2023

Meet Stark for Developers Beta

This package of developer-focused integrations and features has been more than a year in the making. Just as Stark has redefined how accessibility is woven into every design pixel, we’re now also transforming the way accessibility is checked in every line of code.

Stark for Developers Beta 

  1. Stark for GitHub: users can now sync GitHub repositories into their Stark Projects.
  2. Stark for Dev Tools: developers scan their live (or staging) site/app right in the browser’s developer console and get detailed information on the accessibility issues we found with live code highlighting. 
  3. Figma Dev Mode Support: All accessibility annotations made with Stark will now automatically show up in Figma’s new Dev Mode.

These new developer solutions give teams a way to ensure continuous accessibility across the entire product development cycle and make Stark the only end-to-end accessibility solution from design to code.

More tools for our Free Users

We’re making all our manual tools available for free:

  • Contrast
  • Typography
  • Alt-Text
  • Touch TargetsFocus Order
  • Landmarks
  • Vision Simulator
  • Headings

Sidekick as well as the Stark Web app with Projects, Reports, and Insights will be only available for Stark Team and Enterprise customers.

Community bug fixes

Feature update for Stark for Figma and Sketch: 

  • Updated the annotation cards, so that empty annotation text no longer shows a white annotation box on the canvas.
  • Updated the Sidekick icons to prevent the tool icons from getting pushed out of the bounding box if the title was very long.
  • (Finally) updated the ability for the Generate feature in Vision Simulator to work with images. This is done asynchronously so depending on the image size it might generate the Frame and then a second or two later pop in with the simulated image.

Feature update for Stark for Figma: 

  • Updated the Typography tool not loading if the font sizes were mixed.

August 15, 2023

Expediting handoff with annotations and a smarter Sidekick

Stark keeps getting better for designers, developers, and product makers with our latest updates to Stark for Figma, Stark for Sketch, and our browser extensions. Best of all, these updates were inspired by feedback that came from our wonderful user community.

Feature update for Figma, Sketch, and Browser Extensions

  1. ARIA notes: improves accessibility for assistive technologies like screen readers.
  2. Headings annotations: allows power users to add annotations directly on the canvas that them to communicate the hierarchy of the designs to developer teammates. 
  3. Touch Targets: offers suggestions for AAA WCAG compliance, in addition to AA compliance.
  4. Sidekick: gets a lot of new user controls, inspired by feedback from our power users:
    • Filter your Sidekick scan per frame or artboard: With this update, users have the option to scan specific artboards or frames. Since not all of those design concepts will make it into your final product, users might want to omit those drafts from the Sidekick accessibility scans. 
    • The ability to ignore issues: This update enables users to tell Sidekick to ignore a particular design issue. When you click “Ignore,” the item will be moved into a new “Ignored” section at the bottom of the issue list. You can undo these Ignored issues at any time and move them back into the active scan.

June 7, 2023

Introducing Stark Web App with Projects, Reports, and Insights

The Stark Web App currently works with file connections in Stark for Figma but keep an eye out for more connections soon 😉. This launch enables Team and Enterprise users to have new ways to centralize, connect, take action, monitor, and report on the progress of all of their accessibility work. In a first for accessibility design and coding solutions, the Stark Web App brings all of these capabilities together into one web-based app. 

Projects, Reports, and Insights

  • Team projects are shared with every person on your Stark team or enterprise account so that every member of your team is always up-to-date and in the loop on the latest accessibility status. Private projects are only visible to the person who created them. 
  • Reports show a snapshot-in-time on the accessibility status of each asset in your projects. Stark automatically runs a scan every time you open a project. With every scan, we generate a report of that project and all the assets connected with it. Your latest report can be accessed from your project overview page. (Keep in mind, scans can be triggered manually as well). 
    • Reports can easily be shared with a single URL.
  • Report Breakdown shows all accessibility issues detected and it’s grouped by “violations,” “potential violations,” and “passed checks.”
  • Insights give you an accessibility snapshot over time. Teams have the ability to track the progress you’re making over time (we offer weekly or monthly lookback views). 

Stark for Web App and Sidekick

  • After scanning a Figma file on the Web App, users can jump from a report directly to the specific artboard in Figma, and with the help of Sidekick correct issues with just a few clicks while the rest of the team (or the manager) can keep an eye on the issue count for the project going down and cheer them on. 

 


May 3, 2023

Introducing Sidekick, your new AI-powered accessibility assistant in Stark

Sidekick is available in Stark for Figma and Sketch. This tool empowers any user on a Stark Pro, Team, or Enterprise plan to scan their design files and fix accessibility issues instantly with AI-powered suggestions for color contrast, typography, alt text, and more.

Instead of needing to manually check every single design element and component, Sidekick automatically scans your design and categorizes the issues it finds into “Violations”, “Potential Violations” and “Passed.”

Feature update in Sidekick for the Plugins 

Color Contrast:

  • Pick any color from the AI-generated foreground/background colors to fix contrast ratios.

Typography:

  • Select from the AI-suggested font size and/or text alignment to fix typography issues.
  • Localize all your typography issues by clicking on the highlighted issue.  

Alt-text:

  • Insert the AI-generated alt text suggestion, and make edits as needed to add alt text annotations to your design.

April 6, 2023

All-new Alt-Text, Focus Order, and Typography tools

Check out the big new updates we made to our Focus Order, Alt-Text, and Typography tools in Stark for Figma, Sketch, and our Browser Extensions. This update includes Stark’s Live Preview to automatically reflect your changes as you make them accessible.

Feature update for the Plugins and Browser Extensions

Alt-text:

  • Cross out and rectify the use of emojis in the text field
  • Check and fix errors in context by highlighting them directly in the text field

Focus order:

  • New simplified flow to add focus items with a click
  • Checkbox to mark an element as skippable
  • Free-form annotation field

Typography:

  • Text alignment best practices recommendations
  • Text size suggestions

March 30, 2023

Introducing Stark for Firefox

Meet Stark for Firefox, our newest extension for creating, auditing, and testing web products in record time.

New browser extension: Stark for Firefox

  • Download the Firefox extension right from your browser or by following these steps
  • Check contrast and apply Color Suggestions with Live Preview
  • Audit images on your website or your product for missing alt text. Plus, get tips for making your alt text better
  • Test your Landmarks and Focus Order to ensure your products are easy to navigate
  • Use the Vision Simulator in Live Preview to see how people with different vision types will experience your website or product
  • Surface issues with your Touch Targets and get recommendations for resolving them
  • Find text on your web page that's under the recommended size of 12px and use Live Preview to see how Stark's suggested changes will look

March 16, 2023

Community bug fixes

Feature update for Figma and Sketch

  • We have updated the Color Picker drop-down menu that pulls in all the colors in a selection or page so the color suggestions are correctly displayed, and the background selection doesn’t get cropped by the plugin.

Feature update in Stark for Figma

  • Updated Focus Order, Landmarks, and Alt-text features so the annotations are placed correctly when using Auto-Layout.
  • Updated Alt-text annotations to work within Figma Sections.

March 3, 2023

We’ve added new beta features: APCA and WCAG audit

Turn on the new APCA mode:

  • Click the new settings icon in the top right corner of Stark’s Contrast tool.
  • Select Perceptual Contrast (APCA).
  • If Stark detects a contrast violation, we’ll suggest alternate foreground or background colors to fix any contrast issues.

Run a WCAG Audit and Report in Stark:

You’ll see four big numbers: Score, Violations, Potential, and Passed. Here’s what each of these numbers means.

  • Score: The percentage of scans that passed tests over the total number of elements scanned.
  • Violations: The number of elements that didn’t pass because they don’t meet the WCAG standards.
  • Potential: We flag issues where context is important and we couldn’t reliably confirm a failed test; we make it easy for designers or developers to quickly review these items.
  • Passed: The number of elements that meet WCAG standards and passed the Stark Audit.

March 1, 2023

Introducing even more Vision Simulations

Feature update for all plugins and browser extensions (Chrome, Arc, Safari, Microsoft Edge, Brave).

Meet the five new simulations to Stark’s Vision Simulator 🎉

  • Ghosting
  • Yellowing
  • Loss of contrast
  • Bright Fight
  • Tunnel Vision

We acknowledge that simulations are perfectly imperfect. In that spirit, it is our intention to provide you with a set of tools to get exposure to others’ experiences as a first step.

📝
Note: the plugins include all of these updates except the Tunel Vision simulation.

January 31, 2023

Introducing the Stark for Mac Library

We’re kicking off 2023 with an update to Stark for Mac.

Feature update in the Mac app

  • We’re bringing our extensive library to Stark for Mac. If you’re a Stark for Mac user, you can now browse and read resources in the app, like on Stark’s site.
  • Whether you need an in-depth guide to accessibility basics or a checklist of WCAG requirements for contrast ratios, you can access all the information you need right where you do your work.

November 20, 2022

Introducing an all-new Color Picker for Pro, Team, and Enterprise users

We’ve rolled out a Contrast Checker to Stark for Figma and Sketch—complete with advanced layer detection and the option to check all colors on a page and from your design system. 

 Feature update to Contrast Checker in Stark for Figma and Sketch 

  • Improved accuracy in identifying colors you’re comparing in a selection 
  • New Color Picker drop-down menu that pulls in all the colors in a selection or page
  • For Figma users: Check local styles in your file 
  • For Sketch users: Check local colors from your document, default colors from Sketch, and global colors from remote libraries 

November 3, 2022

We've added new browser extensions to the Stark Suite

Meet Stark for Safari and Stark for Arc, our newest extensions for creating, auditing, and testing web products in record time. 

New browser extension: Stark for Safari 

  • Download the Safari extension from the Mac App Store or by following these steps 
  • Check contrast and apply Color Suggestions with Live Preview 
  • Audit images on your website or your product for missing alt text. Plus, get tips for making your alt text better 
  • Test your Landmarks and Focus Order to ensure your products are easy to navigate 
  • Use the Vision Simulator in Live Preview to see how people with different vision types will experience your website or product 
  • Surface issues with your Touch Targets and get recommendations for resolving them 
  • Find text on your web page that's under the recommended size of 12px and use Live Preview to see how Stark's suggested changes will look 

New browser extension: Stark for Arc

  • Download the Arc extension from the Chrome Web Store or by following these steps 
  • Check contrast and apply Color Suggestions with Live Preview 
  • Audit images on your website or your product for missing alt text. Plus, get tips for making your alt text better 
  • Test your Landmarks and Focus Order to ensure your products are easy to navigate 
  • Use the Vision Simulator in Live Preview to see how people with different vision types will experience your website or product 
  • Surface issues with your Touch Targets and get recommendations for resolving them 
  • Find text on your web page that's under the recommended size of 12px and use Live Preview to see how Stark's suggested changes will look 

October 20, 2022

We're giving more people than ever access to Stark

There are 2 requests we've heard most from customers who want to bring their teams or entire organizations to Stark: Free trials for teams and free accounts for Students and educators. Here's what we're offering: 

New Education plans 

All students and educators from primary and secondary schools, colleges, universities, and alternative education programs are eligible for a free Stark Pro account when they sign up for an Education plan. 

If you think you qualify, here's what you need to do: 

New 30-day trials for Team plans 

Once you create an account, you and your team members will have 30 days to try out the plan before you decide to fully onboard your team. 


September 27, 2022

Find and fix accessibility issues fast with Stark for Mac

Tired of messy spreadsheets, confusing handoffs, and expensive retrofitting? Making your software accessible doesn’t have to be that way. Stark connects with Figma and Sketch to meet your team where they already work. With all the tools you need in one place, find accessibility issues in your design before it goes to production, or fix what’s already in flight.

All-new Stark for Mac works with Figma and Sketch

  • Get automated accessibility audits of your Figma and Sketch files 
  • Use the Contrast Checker and get smart Color Suggestions 
  • Generate simulations for various vision types with the Vision Simulator 
  • Get tips and suggestions for writing alt text 
  • Establish Landmarks and a Focus Order to make your design easy to navigate 
  • Learn on the job with in-app education 
  • Copy and paste Objective-C, Swift, and HTML code snippets
  • Connect to Stark plugins to get live updates to your design file 

September 26, 2022

A simplified account dashboard and improved Team subscriptions

New account dashboard 

The next time you log into Stark, you’ll notice a new dashboard that gives you a few ways to customize your experience:

  • Download and install our plugins, browser extension, the Mac app, or a combination that suits your unique needs 

  • Choose the communications and educational resources you receive to ensure you’re learning what you want

  • Upgrade your subscription, change your payment method, and manage your invoices all in one place

  • Connect with Support or visit Stark’s website from your dashboard’s side panel

Feature update for Team subscriptions 

  • Upgrade to a Team plan directly from your account without reaching out to a customer representative to set it up 

August 23, 2022

Keep your team on track with role-based accessibility checklists for Figma and FigJam

We’ve brought our beloved accessibility checklist widget in FigJam to Figma, streamlining your team’s workflow from ideation to production.

New in Stark for Figma and FigJam

  • Updated UI to match our redesigned plugins and extensions
  • Create new checklists tailored to a designer’s, engineer’s, and product manager’s expertise
  • Get educational guidance about tasks included in each checklist
  • Use sticky notes to comment on UI, share ideas, and collaborate asynchronously with members of your team

August 10, 2022

Supercharge Accessibility with the all-new Stark Suite

Our all-new Stark Suite connects the tools you and your team already use in a streamlined end-to-end accessibility workflow you'll actually love. Whether you're building a website, online shop, mobile app, or SaaS product, Stark gives every designer, engineer, PM, and QA expert the manual and automated tools to make it accessible in record time.


July 26, 2022

Welcome to the Stark side

Dark Mode in Stark for Figma, Sketch, and Chrome is here. Whether you prefer low light because it's easier on your eyes or you just think it's beautiful, Stark's new Dark Mode gives you maximum perceived contrast and legibility to support you throughout your workflow. 

New in Stark for Figma, Sketch, and Chrome 

  • Designed to work with your OS preferences
  • Provides maximum contrast and legibility 

July 6, 2022

Say 'hello' to an all-new Stark for Adobe XD

We've rolled out the updates from the latest redesign to our plugin for Adobe XD. 

Feature update in Stark for Adobe XD 

  • A redesigned sidebar where you can do your work with your design always in view. 
  • A clearer design for our Contrast Checker that lets you see color swatches, hex codes, and suggestions at a glance. 
  • A simplified UI for the Vision Simulator that makes it easier to see which simulation you've selected on the Generate tab. 

June 28, 2022

Easily access Stark via the command palette

Jumping off our big redesign from last week, we’ve finished rolling out UI changes to all our plugins. We’ve also been busy squashing some bugs and making improvements with fast follows based on your feedback.

Feature update in Stark for Figma 

Feature update in Stark for Sketch

  • Minimize the Stark menu as you do in Chrome with the 2 minimize arrows we’ve added. This makes it easier for you to move Stark out of the way if you need to take a screenshot or work on your design without distraction. 

Fixes 

  • Overflow scrollbars appearing on simulations in the Vision Simulator in Stark for Chrome.
  • An “Upgrade to Pro” message popping up when color suggestions are clicked in the Contrast Checker.

June 23, 2022

Introducing a fresh new design for Stark for Figma, Sketch, and Chrome

Your Stark experience just got simpler! Our biggest redesign to date introduces an all-new Stark that’s more organized, more streamlined, and even more user-friendly.

Want to learn more about this design update? Get your insider’s look here

Feature updates for Stark for Figma, Sketch, and Chrome 

  • A new tools menu that appears as soon as you open Stark to keep you organized and speed up your workflow
  • A clearer design for our Contrast Checker that lets you see color swatches, hex codes, and suggestions at a glance
  • A simplified UI for the Vision Simulator that makes it easier to see which simulation you’ve selected on the Generate tab

June 9, 2022

An update to our Vision Simulator based on community feedback

Feature update for all plugins

  • Next time you use the Vision Simulator, you’ll notice fewer simulation options that cover a wider range of vision types and allow us to generate more accurate simulations for the most severe cases of color blindness. Find out more about this latest update

May 23, 2022

Community requests come true

Feature update for all plugins 

  • We heard your feedback about the Contrast Checker, and we delivered: Open the Check Contrast window even if there’s an error with the current layer you’ve selected. This lets you choose another layer and keep working without disruption. 

Feature update in Stark for Figma 

  • The blurred vision simulation in the Vision Simulator will now apply the blur effect to the parent frame instead of each individual layer.