Friday, February 26, 2010

February 25, 2010 Lunch Meeting

Our lunch group was small but the sharing was spirited. Here are some of the topics we discussed:
  1. Thoroughly Updated VoiceOver for Macs

    • VoiceOver in Mac OSX Snow Leopard is much improved over previous versions and includes lots of new features.
    • Why buy expensive software like JAWS when in many cases VoiceOver will give you good workable accessibility to a wide range of sites?
  2. Conferencing Software is Not Very Accessible

    • Conrad Kuehn of CEC/IT, Rehabilitation Medicine is exploring the use of conferencing software for instruction and is finding that most are not designed with the disabled in mind.
    • Basic paradigm of interactive video conferencing is hard to translate into an accessible form. Would you want voice software to be reading the text a PowerPoint slide at the same time a speaker is talking about the slide?
    • Some basic conferencing software such as Talking Communities ( works, but functionality is limited.
  3. Time for a UW Accessibility Gathering?

    • Many groups on campus are doing very good work in the area of accessibility:

      • Disability Services Office
      • DO-IT
      • Computer Science and Engineering projects

        • MobileASL -
        • MobileAccessibility -
        • Tactile Graphics -
        • WebInSight -
      • Rehabilitation Medicine Center for Technology and Disability Studies
      • Disability Studies Program
      • UW Change
      • Disability Advocacy Student Alliance -
      • Disability Law Alliance
    • We don't have to import world class experts, they already are here!
    • How could we bring people together, help make connections, and ignite some synergy?
  4. HTML5 Struggles to Include Accessibility

    • Wendy Chisholm is following the HTML5 discussions
    • One point of contention is whether summary attributes in table elements should exist. Many developers do not use them, the information they contain is hidden from most users.
    • Editor of HTML5 project does not seem to have an inclusive mindset
    • Apple is betting the farm on HTML5 (as opposed to Flash). Apple has a fairly good record on accessibility; maybe Apple could take some stands on including accessibility in HTML5
    • Important to get the HTML5 features right before it develops installed inertia
  5. Noise to Signal Ratio Going Up on Tools

    • Tools once noted for their simplicity and usefulness are being subverted, raising the noise level

      • Google searchs get large numbers of aggregator sites (tripadvisor, yelp, etc) rather than what you are actually looking for. Many of the intermediary sites have no meaningful content, but they know to rank high.
      • Social networking tools are easily subverted by meaningless postings.

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