Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Setting and Achieving Doable Accessibility Goals

AccessibleWeb@U - May 22, 2014

  • Meet Hadi Rangin
    • Studied computer science at University of Karlsruhe in Network Management
    • Studied Computer Science and human computer interface at Oregon State University
    • Spent last 25 years working on IT accessibility
    • Worked for the past 10 years with University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign
    • Recently hired by UW-IT Accessible Technology
  • Components of web accessibility
    • three components
      • application framework
      • content
      • assistive technology
    • All components must work together to get the job done
    • Accessibility is a chain with interconnected rings/path with many possible barriers
  • Web Accessibility problems we are facing
    • Websites/application developed by our on-campus developers
    • Content created by various entities, departments, or people
    • Third-party applications purchased from various vendors
      • Applications we are using here at the UW do not give positive experiences
  • Problems with publishing content
    • Publishing on the web is very easy
    • People publish content without knowing anything about HTML; they use the technology at their disposal
    • Documents often published as images, inaccessible PDFs, Word, Flash, other proprietary formats
    • Content creators do not have formal training in creating accessible content
      • Accessible design is often not included in the curriculum of college courses
  • Problems with locally developer websites/applications
    • Website/application developers do not have any formal training in universal design
    • Accessibility is not on their radar
    • They do not know about accessibility of the technology they use.
    • Not every developer follows Best Practices
    • Not many developers know how to test for accessibility
      • Do not know which tools to use to test, or how to use them
  • Problems with third-party applications
    • There is no formal accessibility requirement for purchasing a product
    • Administrators/purchasing officers are not aware of accessibility or not comfortable with it
    • VPATS (Volunteer Product Accessibility Template) are misleading and confusing
    • No formal verification of accessibility claims
    • No fully accessible product in the market
  • Accessibility versus usability
    • Most problems we are facing are usability issues
    • Keyboard accessibility, focus management (so you can tell where focus is)
    • Examples
      • Focus location indication often turned off
      • Submitting a form with no confirmation/verification
      • ProctorU (http://www.proctoru.com) provides proctored online testing, but forms do not provide confirmation messages
    • Accessibility is much more than a touch-up or after the fact fix
    • No magic automated testing tool that can fix all problems
    • Accessibility must be considered in design, implementation and quality assessment
    • Accessibility is free if you consider it from the beginning
    • The after-the-fact approach is wishy-washy, incomplete, and too expensive
  • Collective approach
    • Bottom-up approach; begin with you, the people who make the stuff
    • Collaborating with the developers
    • Collaborating with content creators
    • Top-down approach; work with decision makers at the same time
    • Collaborating with administrators and vendors
  • Collaborating with developers
    • UW-IT Accessible Technology is at your disposal
      • Send email to hadir@uw.edu or danc@uw.edu
    • We can meet in person and help with accessibility considerations of your project during its development phases
    • We can help with accessibility of your templates for your content creators
    • We offer a workshop on accessible design
    • We offer workshop on how to test for accessibility including with screen readers
    • Or just meet and explore with Hadi (coffee provided)
    • Goal: To make you all accessibility experts
    • At Illinois, Hadi conducted developer meetings every Tuesday. People could participate online. Do we want a similar series of meeting here at the UW?
  • Collaborating with Instructors, Instructional Designers, and Content Creators
    • Instructional designers have a key role in accessibility of course contents
    • An online course on "Universal Design for Online Learning" will be offered
    • Customized workshops for departments/colleges will be offered
    • We can meet in person and help with accessibility of the course contents (coffee provided)
    • Goal: To have at least one accessibility expert/liaison in each department
  • Collaborating with Administrators/Vendors
    • Accessibility can sometimes be too abstract
    • Awareness is the key; we need to educate them
      • Often think accessibility is something you do after the fact
    • Accessibility is as important as security and personalization
    • Making accessibility part of their agenda is not easy and takes time
    • Demo of accessibility problems with the application are extremely helpful
    • Support of people managing the product is very essential for vendor collaboration
    • Vendors must be asked for accessibility features in the bidding process
    • Vendors claims must be verified by local experts
      • Identify show-stopper issues; must be fixed before deployment
    • No lip service, please
    • We need to collaborate with vendors on enhancing their applications
      • At Illinois, Hadi had ten years of positive response from vendors
    • Goal: Define and agree on minimum Accessibility Requirements especially for high impact applications
    • Goal: Contractual time-lined agreement with vendor to resolve issues
  • Conclusion
    • Accessibility is an approach
    • Depends on many dynamic factors
    • Very impressed with the level of accessibility support at UW
    • I am positive that we collectively can take UW to the next level
    • Let's develop a roadmap we can all agree on?

Friday, March 28, 2014

Accessibility and Inclusivity

On Tuesday, March 25, Dan, Terrill, and I presented at the TechConnect conference here on campus at the University of Washington. We walked through the following material:

Accessible Technology at the UW

Visit the Accessible Technology at the UW site and learn all about what is happening at the UW in making technology work for everyone.

The Basic Methods for Accessible Websites

  1. Validated HTML
  2. Semantic element types (headings, paragraphs, lists, tables, etc.)
  3. Headings and sub-headings used hierarchically
  4. ALT texts on images, where meaningful
  5. Page titles
  6. Meaningful link texts
  7. Form labels
  8. Table headers and captions
  9. Captioning on videos

Useful Tools


Download-ables and Plug-in-ables

Accessibility Problem Examples

Problems With Focus Indicator

No Focus Indicator

Reverse Focus Indicator (for mouse)

Mystery Focus Indicator

  • ESPN — http://espn.go.com/

Enhanced Focus Indicator


Tab Order

  • Olympic College: Unexpected, goes to central pane first — http://www.olympic.edu/index.htm
  • Yahoo; Left nav first, skips top nav:  — (due to cursor in search box by default, something to discuss, is this a good technique? On most pages, probably not, but on portal/search pages, it's probably appropriate, esp. with proper form label in place) — https://www.yahoo.com/
  • Oklahoma State University: Lots and lots and lots of menu items to tab through — http://go.okstate.edu/

Contrast and color

  • Yahoo: High contrast by default (except purple nav bar) — https://www.yahoo.com/
    Oklahoma State University — http://go.okstate.edu/
  • Martinsburg Police Department: Too much contrast? Does it hurt? — http://www.martinsburgpd.org/
  • CSS Teagarden: Where is nav, where is content? — http://csszengarden.com/213/
  • CSS 204: Foreground vs background problems — http://www.csszengarden.com/204/<</li>
  • CSS 186: Fade to invisible — http://www.csszengarden.com/186/


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