Recently I was asked if there were any products or services that would give users equivalent or greater accessibility than WCAG 2.0 Level AA. This is part of the feedback process for a report on web accessibility for state and local governments . In addressing this I wanted to make it clear that, at the root accessibility is about eliminating barriers to communications. Tim Berners-Lee saw the potential for the web being a great equalizer as it could allow people to communicate in a way which was completely inclusive. In practice, the web has evolved to provide barriers to 10-20%...
I was happy to be asked to talk about Certified B Corporations as part of the 2016 Leveraging Our Strengths conference in Ottawa. With the growing focus on innovation in Canada, it felt good to be surrounded by exploring ways to adopt Social Innovation strategies. It is so encouraging to think about different models which we can organize in order to improve our world. Ottawa’s Impact Hub was one of the key organizers. I’ve always been impressed with the work of Hubbers and I sit on their Champions Circle to help support their great work. It was an event that...
ThinkShout! Booth at DrupalCon
This article was initially posted on July 7, 2016 in the Green Ottawa: Gateway to a green, sustainable Ottawa . Are you an entrepreneur who would like to run your business in a way that also benefits society and the environment? Or are you a consumer who would like to deal with some of the most ethical, sustainable firms? “B Corporations” may be what you’re seeking. There are now 155 “B Corps” in Canada, including 72 in Ontario. My first experience with the concept of Fair Trade was in a church basement in the 70’s. It’s grown a lot since...
The White House's DJ Patil Presenting at the Open Data Conference
This article was initially posted on July 5, 2016 in the Ottawa Business Journal . Justin Trudeau arrived at the White House in March for his first official visit as prime minister at the exact time as the White House announced its release of a draft policy for the U.S. federal government on reusable and open-source software . A coincidence, sure, but in this information age, it highlights how far behind Canada is in adopting a forward thinking open-source software policy. The U.S. government is very clear on this. “By harnessing 21st century technology and innovation, we’ve found new ways...
Push button for accessibility.
Drupal 8 was released in December and it provides - by default - accessibility that is better than any other enterprise content framework. For the last 8 years we have been working on implementing defaults that are good for everyone, but this is only possible if you think about your website’s ecosystem. Adapting To The Ever Changing Web Web accessibility is a difficult challenge. When WCAG 2.0 came out in 2008, people hadn’t really starting thinking about how mobile devices would impact user behavior. Since then we’ve also seen the W3C release HTML5, WAI-ARIA and ATAG 2.0, which are huge...
Open standards, open-source, open data, open government and open dialog. These are just some of the great benefits of the open web and why you should consider getting involved in the Open Source Initiative. It represents a real shift toward transparency that allows citizens to become engaged and can empower civil servants in their everyday work. The Open Source Community In Canada, the biggest success for open thinking was the Web Experience Toolkit. This project engaged existing open source projects like jQuery & Bootstrap to address the challenge of providing a multi-lingual, performant & accessible responsive interface. These are huge...
This article originally written for OpenSource.com Optimized websites are better for the environment. Why? They are significantly faster, more usable, with content that’s optimized for SEO and user experience. This means that both computers and users spend less time waiting for the page to load. Back when I first was creating websites, back in 1995, the Internet was considerably simpler. People were using the web at that point, but it wasn't embedded in our lives like it is now. At that time the ecological footprint of the Internet was pretty small. Sure, there was already a network of computers that...
This article was initially posted on Dec 22nd, 2015 in the Hill Times . If you have been on a federal government website in the past year, you may have noticed that it looks a bit different. Or you might not. The differences to the look and feel of the sites are a bit subtle for your average user. Almost all Canadians are unaware of the imminent plans to shift these sites to a proprietary content management system hosted in the US. The move from having government sites hosted in Canada and supported by Canadians, to being managed in the...
This article was initially posted in on Dec 29nd, 2015 in the Ottawa Business Journal . Most of us are more connected to the Internet than ever before. Not only do we have phones, tablets, game consoles, and televisions that are connected , but we also use the net for shopping, civic engagement, social and archival purposes. New appliances, cars and devices use the Internet without many of us even knowing it. So much of our lives are tangled up in the Web, and all indications are that this trend is increasing by leaps and bounds. Many people are concerned...
Green roof at Algonquin College
This article was written for the 2016 Masdar Blog Contest . I’ve been passionate about sustainability my entire adult life, all of which we have surpassed the earth's carrying capacity. When started my business, OpenConcept Consulting Inc. , my initial inspiration was to build collaboration within the not-for-profit sector. It was clear to me that many of the organizations world could be more effective if they were able to better collaborate. I saw open-source technology as a means to both advance their missions, and experiment with new ways of work together. Over the years we have done more work with...