A friend using his eye-tracking software
Originally posted on LinkedIN in two parts. Building Digital Inclusion into Organizations There are an increasing number of organizations that are looking to make their organizations more inclusive to People with Disabilities (PwD). Some organizations do this because they are seeking talent, others because of ethics and still others because it is the law. There are lots of little steps that any organization could do to include more people with disabilities. This is a description of an approach for an organization that wanted to demonstrate leadership. Accessibility is a big field and although the physical environment is critical for some...
Canadian Flag Behind Chicken Wire
Originally posted on LinkedIN in two parts. The Government of Canada’s Web Renewal Initiative has failed. It may not be public yet, but there really is no way to redeem this half-conceived initiative to centralize all government pages onto a single website - Canada.ca. This goal was lifted from the UK Government’s Government Digital Services (GDS). The goal of the GDS team was no less than digital transformation. Our government appears to have mistaken the alpha.gov.uk site as the end goal, rather than a platform with which to experiment with new ideas in government usability. The GDS is continuing to...
Image flow chart
This article was initially posted as a guest blog on The Digital Echidna Blog on December 2, 2016. Lots of organizations are working hard to see that their IT is accessible to their visitors and staff. Reducing barriers for effective two-way communications is really important for businesses that want to engage fully with their community. Unfortunately, many organizations overlook the many challenges with online web forms. Organizations who adopted Drupal 7 benefit from having semantic labels associated with their web forms automatically. This is a particular problem with custom built web-forms, but the Drupal community made an effort towards solid...
This article was initially posted as a guest blog on The Digital Echidna Blog on November 29, 2016. So you’ve gone all out on making your website accessible. You considered accessibility at every stage of your project. You started by choosing Drupal. You then evaluated the wireframes for potential problems, took careful consideration that the colours had sufficient contrast, had your developers do regular accessibility checks with every sprint, brought in an external reviewer at the end of the project to evaluate your work, etc. It was the textbook example of how you should approach building a modern site using...
This article was initially posted on August 31st, 2016 in ITBusiness.ca A few years ago I was told by someone at the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) that they were looking for companies to do business with that were as big as they were, or slightly bigger. The CRA has about 40,000 employees. It is well established that the Canadian government favours working with big businesses. The phrase, “nobody ever got fired for buying IBM” is embedded in the thinking of most departments, although now it is Oracle, Adobe or Microsoft. Small business opportunities We know that small business delivers jobs...
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...