Monthly Archives: January 2016

Slack’s interface is not accessible to screen readers – Don’t use Slack? — Hacker Daily

Slack’s interface is not accessible to screen readers as – despite the fact that it is HTML – there is no semantic value to speak of in it. It’s all DIVs and SPANs, monkeys and undergrowth – nothing to guide you.

Seeing that I enjoy Slack at work, I set out to consider running a community on my own. Then life and work happened. But when yesterday my friend Tomomi Imura asked if there are any evangelism/developer advocacy Slack groups, I told her I’d started one a few weeks ago and we now have it filling up nicely with interesting people sharing knowledge on a specialist subject matter.

And then my friend and ex-colleague Marco Zehe wanted to be part of this. And, by all means, he should. Except, there is one small niggle: Marco can’t see and uses a screen reader to navigate the web. And Slack’s interface is not accessible to screen readers as – despite the fact that it is HTML – there is no semantic value to speak of in it. It’s all DIVs and SPANs, monkeys and undergrowth – nothing to guide you.

What followed was a quick back and forth on Twitter about the merits of Slack vs. open and accessible systems like IRC. The main point of Marco was that he can not use Slack and it isn’t open, that’s why it is a bad tool to use for team communication. IRC is open, accessible, time-proven and – if used properly – turns X-Factor dropouts into Freddy Mercury and pot noodles into coq au vin.

Marco has a point: there is a danger that Slack will go away, that Slack will have to pivot into something horrible like many other community tools have. It is a commercial product that isn’t open, meaning it can not easily be salvaged or forked should it go pear shaped. And it isn’t as accessible as IRC is.

Curated by (Lifekludger)
Read full article at Source: Don’t use Slack? — Hacker Daily — Medium

The Future of Accessibility Innovation | Foreign Policy

The 2015 FP Global Demographics Student Essay Contest, underwritten by AARP, invited college and graduates students from around the world to participate in an intergenerational discussion about the opportunities presented by a rapidly aging world. Dozens of students from nearly every continent shared their ideas with FP. The winning essay is presented below.

The development of accessibility innovation products and services is the greatest opportunity presented by the aging trend to the global community. Not only is the market opportunity tremendously attractive, but the resources available to entrepreneurs and innovators — ranging from start-ups to small- and mid-size enterprises to multinational corporations — to develop products and services aimed at people with disabilities have never been better.

Age directly correlates with disability: As overall personal health declines with the development of acute and chronic diseases, such as diabetes, arthritis, cardiovascular diseases, and respiratory problems, disability rates increase. Seniors with a mobility disability may have difficulty walking up and down stairs, standing in one spot for prolonged periods, or moving from one room to another. Agility disabilities include difficulty bending down, dressing or undressing, getting in and out of bed, or grasping small objects.

The primary goal and benefit of accessibility innovation products is to allow the aging global population to continue participating in the social and cultural life of their local community.

Curated by (Lifekludger)
Read full article at Source: The Future of Accessibility Innovation | Foreign Policy

Accessibility is More Than Code: Takeaways from the Future of Web Design SF Conference 2015 — Medium

v long, v good…

There were many talks that struck chords with me, but none so much as Jennison Asuncion’s talk about digital accessibility. I have to say sheepishly, that before this talk, digital accessibility was not something that I ever prioritized or even designed specifically for, nor has it been something a client has ever mentioned as a priority…

In this blog post I want to give some quick information bytes about digital accessibility and easy ways to start becoming more inclusive with our work, some things that we may already do but not realize their impact on accessibility!

As the senior staff technical program manager handling digital accessibility efforts at LinkedIn, Jennison is a major force in the digital accessibility movement. As the co-founder of Global Accessibility Awareness Day, the founder of the Bay Area Accessibility and Inclusive Design meet up, and the co-director of the Adaptech Research Network, he is leading the way people approach accessibility on many levels. I also have a feeling that he was the only other Canadian at this event, so there was a little home-country connection too.

What is digital accessibility??

The first and most important thing is to define what we are really trying to accomplish. Jennison uses the W3C definition of “Designing and developing UX that everyone can independently consume.” The everyone refers to: people with mobility problems, cognitive disabilities, sensory disabilities, even aging adults, people with short-term disabilities and people who simply only use keyboards.

A key principle of web accessibility is that the designs, in the end, should be flexible and meet many different user needs, situations and preferences. This is a more familiar concept to us as designers and developers, but in my case and I’m sure many others, the question is: where do we start?

Curated by (Lifekludger)
Read full article at Source: Accessibility is More Than Code: Takeaways from the Future of Web Design SF Conference 2015 — Even More Dynamo — Medium

accessibility videos for iOS and android

According to the National Health Interview Survey, there are over 20 million people with vision loss. If you need access to the Internet, it can be upsetting that as devices get smaller, so do the font sizes. The good news is that there are a lot of new and innovative ways to access the web.

… Check out these great features and innovative ways to navigate the websites that you want to access.

Curated by (Lifekludger)
Read full article at Source: accessibility videos for iOS and android

Games reveal the contrasting colors of accessibility

I had to hear it from Wil Wheaton.

Talking to the creators of open-world hit game Uncharted on his show,Conversations with Creators, the geek legend praised a feature that helps you guide protagonist Nathan Drake around its vast, sprawling environment: “And I love there’s that subtle yellow path,” he said. “I never got lost!”

When I heard him, my eyes widened. …

Why didn’t I know about the yellow path? Because I never saw it. I was born with an extremely rare eye condition known as achromatopsia nystagmus.


I know what you’re thinking. “Okay, Anton. We get it. Gaming while achromat is tough. Did you have any solutions?” Yes. Yes, I do. And the cool thing is that some solutions are so easy, AAA developers will facepalm for having not considered them before.

Curated by (Lifekludger)
Read full article at Source: Games reveal the contrasting colors of accessibility

How this portable wooden ramp is changing wheelchair accessibility – The Globe and Mail

You don’t really know the meaning of accessibility unless you use a wheelchair or hang out with someone who does. I only started to understand one fall evening while wandering the streets of downtown Montreal with my friend André, in search of a bar or restaurant where he could get his wheelchair through the door.

It took us 45 minutes to find a place, by which time I was feeling quite indignant. How could so many places not bother to make the small ascent to their threshold – usually just one step up from the sidewalk – manageable for people with disabilities? André seemed to take the hassle more calmly, because he had been dealing with it for years.More recently, I went with Omar Lachheb and his girlfriend, Luz, to a Montreal sushi restaurant that we knew had no way of allowing his wheelchair in. But they had brought the solution with them: a wooden ramp, custom-built for that very doorway.

It was one of 20 that Lachheb had arranged to supply to businesses in Montreal since September. A waiter laid down the ramp and voila! – instant accessibility.

Lachheb’s not-for-profit program is called the Community Ramp Project, and its initial goal is to get customized portable ramps around town and into public consciousness. The brightly coloured ramps not only get people in the door, they make visible a problem that’s often easy for the able-bodied to ignore.Laccheb’s approach to most businesses is direct and dramatic. “I knock on the door or the glass, and just wave and say, ‘Hi,’” he said, during a chat in his condo. “I can’t go in, so I have to wait outside.” By the time someone comes out, they know, if they didn’t before, that there’s a problem with the doorway. Rather than complain about it, Lachheb offers them a simple fix, and a clear business motive for doing it.

“Accessibility is a social issue, about equality and dignity for people with disabilities,” he said, “but it’s also about considering people with mobility issues as customers. They have jobs and money to spend. Having a ramp and being accessible is a smart choice for businesses.”

Source: How this portable wooden ramp is changing wheelchair accessibility – The Globe and Mail

EdTech and the accessibility paradox | Christensen Institute

Summer Cox is an exceptional student education coordinator at Henry County Public Schools in Georgia. For a number of years, her district has pursued personalized learning. That’s given Cox a front seat to a new movement in education, which calls for recreating classrooms in a manner that supports learning for each child.

Cox has a unique outlook on where personalized learning is headed: she helps oversee the district’s special education programs and strives to ensure that students with disabilities are included in the overall vision for structural and instructional reform. In some ways, personalized learning is catching up to what special education advocates have long believed. As Cox explained:

It’s my opinion as a special educator that not all students are the same. Therefore, we should not present them with the same learning experiences. … Different students need the ability to access their learning differently, and we should help facilitate that as teachers.But in her role, Cox has also seen where school districts like hers struggle to ensure that software programs actually align to student and teacher needs, especially when it comes to providing content appropriate for different learners.

“Our teachers need the ability to modify the content if needed to fit individual learning needs or the needs of small groups of students, if they don’t fit into the ‘packaged’ curriculum that is provided with the software,” Cox said.

curated by (Lifekludger)
Read full article at Source: EdTech and the accessibility paradox | Christensen Institute

Articulating and Advocating for Accessibility by Matt May | Model View Culture


Tech workers should be advocating for accessibility – how to get started and what to expect. by Matt May on June 9th, 2014 I have one technical specialty to speak of: building systems and processes that make technology easier for people with disabilities.

Most people in technology, surprisingly, don’t know what accessibility means. It’s either never come up, or it never actually caught their attention when it did. When I ask an average tech crowd how many have listened to a screen reader, I rarely see more than a quarter of the hands go up. It’s easy to write off that other 75% as being deliberately ignorant, but there are lots of potential reasons someone may not have been exposed to how people with disabilities use the web. We didn’t all learn the same things at the same time, and if you encounter someone who hasn’t learned what you understand, you are the person who can fix that.

What luck! Wouldn’t you hate going through life thinking how many times you could have made the difference to someone in their project, or career, or life?I’m an evangelist not for a product, but for a set of user scenarios that tend to be ignored. My goal is to ensure that people know about their role in enabling the broadest possible audience to enjoy what they produce.

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Read full article at Source: Articulating and Advocating for Accessibility by Matt May | Model View Culture

PDF Accessibility Checker (PAC 2)

PAC 2 tests PDF files quickly with respect to accessibility. PAC 2 is the support of experts and stakeholders in the evaluation tests.

The completely newly developed version of PAC 2 examines the PDF / UA-conformity of PDFs. The PDF review has been further improved, so that PAC 2 You can even better assist you in creating accessible documents.

Curated by (Lifekludger)
Read full article at PDF Accessibility Checker (PAC 2)