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...
By Mike Gifford on 10/08/2011
In case you haven't noticed, the OpenConcept website has had an overhaul as of late. In migrating to Drupal 7, we not only were looking to migrate from our outdated Drupal 5 website but were excited for the opportunity to design an entirely new theme. OpenConcept partnered with Rachela Brisindi, from RGB Creative ( in order to update our logo and website design. Although Rachela was more experienced in print design, she had a strong creative vision and was interested in learning more about designing for the web.
Once the OC team had approved Rachela's logo,...
By Mike Gifford on 15/07/2011
Wanted to point folks to Karl Groves' article Do Accessibility Testing First, I really like his idea of automated nightly testing for accessibility. I also wanted to acknowledge that this is more of an accessibility evaluation tactic than methodology.
I just got word that the Web Accessibility Initiative's is starting up a WCAG 2.0 Evaluation Methodology Task Force to provide more comprehensive guidance on evaluating web accessibility.  This is great, not only because the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (published in December 2008) aren't written for the average developer, but also...
By Mike Gifford on 16/06/2011
I got talking with Sandi Wassmer from Copious about accessibility best practices after I posted Accessibility Tips for Management last month. We had a really good exchange over Skype & have continued talking over Twitter.  It's really great to hear what is happening outside of North America. Since we've been talking she was published in .NET Magazine with a great article The 10 principles of inclusive web design which I think are good guidelines for thinking about designing a site. 
Best Practices
I was looking for a way to better publicize the accessibility work we've done on our own...
By Mike Gifford on 29/04/2011
Like many government agencies, the Government of Canada has a mandate to address accessibility issues. The Common Look & Feel presently is based on the 1999 accessibility standard WCAG 1.0 and will shortly require WCAG 2.0 compliance.  This falls within the Management Accountability Framework, which is an incentive based system for management. Internal audits are presently being used to evaluate accessibility improvements over time. 
As I noted in my last blog Accessibility Tips for Management even with this regulation, how is management supposed to know when their site is accessible or...
By Mike Gifford on 28/04/2011

Most accessibility articles are written for either developers or designers who need guidance on how to implement accessibility fixes.  There's a lot more to write on this subject, but I was looking for articles written for the communications professionals who are overseeing web project. In most large organizations the people directing the sites development are not the same people as those who are coding it.  
Without having specialized technical knowledge tied to accessibility, do managers have the skills required to assess if their sites are accessible?  In my experience most managers lack...
By Mike Gifford on 12/02/2011
Back in November of 2010 Federal Court Justice Michael Kelen gave the Treasury Board of the Government of Canada (GoC) 15 months to make all of it's websites accessible to the blind.  This is still a landmark case even though the government decided to appeal the case on Jan 10th. I'm not sure how much longer the appeal will extend the case, but the writing is on the wall, the GoC is going to need to begin the long and difficult process of ensuring that it's millions of public web pages are accessible to all Canadians.
It is unclear at this point what will come from the appeal. I would hope...
By Mike Gifford on 16/12/2010
I'm the first to admit that search engine optimization is important. I know that there is a lot to be learned about how to drive people to your site and ensure that they keep coming back to it. Two years ago it was estimated that there were 63 billion pages indexed by search engines. How will your site show up in the first pages of Google results if you don't get an edge over everyone else?
I know that there really are 'SEO Experts' out there, that know the web well and have seriously researched search engine behavior. But there are an equal number of people who have taken a course or two,...
By Mike Gifford on 14/12/2010
Earlier this year we agreed to sponsor the IdealWare's 2010 report comparing popular open source content management systems, and we're glad to have done so! It is so important to have a review of different systems if only to encourage discussion & debate about software use in the non-profit sector.
Why Drupal 7 is Great
Earlier this week I boasted on the NOSI discussion list about Drupal 7's accessibility enhancements. I know how much more accessible it was than Drupal 6. I have also done some work to compare it with other popular CMS systems.  We've developed a frank accessibility...