By Mike Gifford on 23/10/2014
Organizers of A11yYOW 2014
Digital Accessibility is a really big and complicated issue. There are no simple fixes because the technology keeps changing and the web standards are regularly being adjusted in attempt to keep up. A site that is considered accessible today, may not be accessible viewed this way in 6 months.
Ultimately it is about building technology such that the widest number of people can have the greatest access to the web. The web has become our town square and school as well as our our path to city hall and venue for purchasing for goods and services. Increasingly, to be an active member of our society...
By Mike Gifford on 26/09/2014
Sharron Rush and Cliff Tyllick
Web accessibility is complicated. The technology is constantly changing as is how we are using the medium. The Web has become a critical means of simply participating in our society and many people are simply excluded from participation.
Knowbility has offered a training on Web Accessibility since Section 508 was adopted back in 1998. Working with people with disabilities, this community has been a hub for training web developers about how to build barrier free sites.
They are organizing a Kickstarter though to see to provide a barrier free online training tool to make it easier for people to...
By Chris Wright on 02/09/2014
Wetkit Logo
I had the opportunity to attend CodeFest 2014 in Ottawa.  This two-day conference was a great chance for anyone who “works in the web” to get together, share their expertise and learn from their peers.
Codefest is a free, volunteer-run conference centered around the Web Experience Toolkit (WET). 
WET is an open source project led by the Government of Canada that is developed openly on GitHub. The focus of WET is to develop an innovative, user-centered web experience that can be widely deployed through an open and collaborative process of development.
Topical Chats and Technical...
By Mike Gifford on 10/07/2014
I am presenting at Ottawa's first Accessibility Summit. It's a 20 minute presentation on Fixing Accessibility Problems at the Source which I am using to talk about Drupal's experience trying to meet WCAG 2.0 AA.  
The slides from this event are available on, a neat service that works nicely using the open source library reveal.js.  I totally loved that I could both edit the HTML directly in the interface and also import/export & host my files wherever I wanted to.  For my Accessibility Summit Slides.
I am including my notes here as part of this. Hopefully people will be...
By Mike Gifford on 05/06/2014
Mike Gifford Preseting about ATAG at CodeFest 2014
Anyone who has been involved Web Accessibility knows that the basics are quite simple, but that it can get complicated really quickly. Training people to create content that can be perceived by people with varieties of sight, hearing, mobility & cognitive challenges is no small task, and ultimately we all make mistakes.
Most web content now is being created through Content Management Systems, which are helping to simplify the process of producing content. The future seems to be bright for systems that can manage small chunks of data which are assembled on the fly to give users a...
By Mike Gifford on 15/05/2014
Mike Gifford presenting at HubOttawa
This was a more in-person presentation about web accessibility issues in general.  We showcased some general issues and facilitating a bit of a discussion to raise awareness. We welcomed people from different backgrounds, including government services, universities and design agencies. The topic was addressed to a non-technical audience to raise awareness on accessibility.
Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) began pretty well this year for us. I started by participating in Inclusive Design 24 (#ID24) with a 7am presentation. For those who missed it the talk live, a recording...
By Mike Gifford on 03/01/2012
Really like this article: An In Depth Analysis of HTML5 Multimedia and Accessibility.
Last May I gave a talk at Guelph's 2011 Accessibility Conference. I wanted to raise awareness about aspects of the Drupal 7 accessibility improvements could be used as an example. The video was recorded by the University & I was sent a copy of it so that I could upload it here. I do think that the university may also upload a copy at some point, but there were delays and I had ideas within the presentation that I wanted to share.
I was sent a 187meg Windows Media Video (WMV) file from Patricia Shaver...
By Mike Gifford on 16/11/2011
I do think that Movember's really hit a critical mass this year and this is the first year that OpenConcept's team has participated. It's a goofy thing to do with a group of men.  One thing I can say for sure, everyone seems to have an opinion about mustaches. It's been a significant shift for some of us as two of our team shaved off their beards to begin November 1st clean shaven. Fortunately, November's been a pretty warm month so far.
Our 'stache team is Jesse, Jason, Pawel, Eddie, Dutchy & myself. There are many other Drupal developers who have signed on as well Drupal 7 Accessibility...
By Mike Gifford on 26/10/2011
Recently as we've been working on enhancements to Drupal 8, we run into several situations where we are looking at the jQuery library.  Drupal's been including the free software jQuery for the last two releases and are using it more and more as it evolves. We were hoping we'd be able to simply leverage a solid accessible jQuery UI element rather than have to continue to enhance our own javascript widgets.  
jQuery UI 1.8 has an autocomplete widget in it so why don't we just use this rather than re-invent the wheel for Drupal 8.  Unfortunately based on some quick testing by Everett Zufelt the...
By Mike Gifford on 18/10/2011
Last year I was approached by Jennison Asuncion who has been instigating a number of innovative grassroots efforts to get people talking about accessibility issues. I was impressed by the successes in DC, London, Montreal and Boston and it seemed like a nice challenge to take on in Canada's capital. These cities all organized a second conference this year and now Toronto joined in as well.
The plan was to initially have the unconference in the spring of 2011, but unfortunately there was a surprise election so we decided to postpone it till the fall. We're happy to announce that Ottawa's first...