Accessibility

By Mike Gifford on 08/07/2015
Vincenzo at Code Sprint
I have been developing open-source software now for over a decade and feel that community software is a really important concept for inclusive technology. With the rise of the Linux operating system and more importantly with the growth of the Internet, more people and companies have embraced a collaborative culture. The growth of do-it-yourself initiatives that allow creators to use, modify and distribute ideas is key to making technology fit a wider range of humanity.
My company, OpenConcept, has been developing open-source solutions for the Web for the last 15 years. We develop with a...
By Mike Gifford on 20/03/2015
Most people have never heard of Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART), but it is a great way to make a live event more accessible. CART isn't as good for the deaf as ASL, but it is generally seen as sufficient accommodations. The Canadian Hearing Society has some very legitimate concerns about how CART is implemented and provides suggestions about how this should be regulated better.
I've now seen CART used at Carleton's Accessibility Summit, Accessibility Camp TO and CSUN15 but have only seen them at accessibility focused events.
In organizing A11yYOW last year, we made sure to...
By Sébastien Bacharach on 28/01/2015
Screenshot from the home page of the new OpenConcept website
OpenConcept has been deeply involved in raising awareness about web accessibility for a long time. As we were developing our new website, we took this opportunity to make it as accessible as possible.
Having proper alternate text for images is the low hanging fruit of web accessibility, however there were a few instances where we had to address some more unusual challenges.
In order to provide the alt and title attributes to the user profile images by default, we actually had to develop a custom module. This is something we are working on getting resolved in Drupal 8, however at the moment...
By Mike Gifford on 01/12/2014
Ryan Weal & Others in the Code Sprint
San Francisco is beautiful in the fall, BADCamp has become a real institution in the Drupal community, and I had an opportunity to present about Drupal 8's accessibility. So I packed my bags and flew down to sunny California and was able to participate in several Drupal Core Code Sprints, the NGO Summit and several talks.
It is useful to go to these community events and to have a chance to hang out with other people who are shaping this community. The Drupal community involves a lot of passionate people who believe strongly in collaboration. It is always exciting to see how people are using...
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 Mike Gifford on 04/09/2014
The Awesome Room from TCDrupal's Sprint Room
At DrupalCon Austin I was asked by Barry Madore of Triplo to talk about Drupal & Accessibility at TCDrupal 2014. In 2013, a team of people had done some great usability and accessibility work on Drupal 8 at the University of Minnesota. This seemed like an excellent opportunity to follow-up on that.
This year Twin Cities Drupal Camp took place from August 7-10. I spent a bunch of my time there in the Awesome Room, which was where the sprints were taking place on Saturday.
I couldn't get there in the week unfortunately, but was able to present my first session about ATAG & Drupal 8 on...
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.
Background
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
Slide from presentation
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 slides.com, 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 and 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 tweeting using...
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...

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