Accessibility

By Mike Gifford on 16/10/2018
The Government of Canada (GC) hosted Open First Day on Friday, September 28.  It was a really interesting opportunity for hundreds of people in public/private sector to get together and share their experiences.  
I’d like to start by congratulating them on the title of the event.  It wasn’t Consider Open Source Day or Learn about Open Source and Government Day.  It Was Open First Day. Open Standards, Open Data, Open Source and Open Government.  
The site for this conference was also forward thinking as it was all built on GitHub.  More and more government microsites are hosted on GitHub...
By Mike Gifford on 01/06/2018
Screenshot of CKEditor with a sample image.
After writing this article I learned about IBM’s Content Clarifier from Hassell Inclusion. Something like this could be built right into the workflow of your content creation process.
Accessibility (a11y) and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is complex, but it doesn't have to be hard. If you have a good routine in place, you can write content that can be compelling for everyone.
So much can come down to the KISS Principle "Keep it simple, stupid". Like everything else in life, there are a lot of exceptions. Much comes down to doing your best to learn how to do it better. I have included some...
By Mike Gifford on 22/05/2018
BBC My Way's Example
I've written on our decision to move ahead an accessibility widget in Personalization & Accessibility with Drupal. I thought it would be worthwhile highlighting some of the various options that are currently being used in a number of sites. I do now believe that they are an important part of building more accessible content. 
I wanted to highlight a few of the options for preference widgets because there are just so many and there are very few common patterns.  Adding an accessibility feature is nice, but it is important that it is discoverable. 
Paralympic.ca Site

Features: Nice simple...
By Mike Gifford on 11/05/2018
Speakers at the meeting to produce a Canadian version of the OECD Playbook for ICT Procurement
Everybody wants their website to be accessible. Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) is key for any modern organization. In the Government of Canada, it is a clear part of the Liberal Party's mandate. Setting a strong policy direction is critical, but then what?
Most departments still see accessibility as a one-liner that can be added to an ICT contract. Then the responsibility for any shortfalls lies on the vendor.
Sadly, this doesn't work. Accessibility is a journey, not a destination.
Web accessibility is complicated, the ecosystem and use cases change over time. So what can...
By Mike Gifford on 04/05/2018
Robot from DrupalCon Boston
There is a lot of excitement about AI (Artificial Intelligence). It shows promise to solve many problems, including some for greater digital inclusion. I see great potential, but also some significant limitations. We need a measured approach to machine intelligence to learn how algorithms can best help.
The Google Translate Problem
Let’s admit it. Google Translate is getting pretty good.  However, it isn’t good enough to be as good as a professional translator. At some point, for some languages, we’ll probably get there. However, I still do not see a point that for legal documents that we...
By Mike Gifford on 06/04/2018
OpenConcept Website with Fluid UI Preference Editor
Accessibility is complicated. There is no single site that is universally accessible. One of the best initiatives I've seen by an organization was the BBC with their My web my way accessibility section. Unfortunately, they have decided to archive it and stop maintaining these pages. It is unclear to me whether any of the personalization options defined here will continue to be supported or not within the BBC.  I do think that sites could do more to help explain how their users can get the most out of their site.  Most sites who do this put it alongside their Accessibility Statement.
I'm on...
By Mike Gifford on 02/10/2017
Photo from B Corp Retreat outlining need for interdependence.
OpenConcept is a pretty small company and most of our services we consume are digital, so in the scheme of things, we have a pretty small footprint on our planet and our local economy. That being said, as Mahatma Gandhi said “Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it."
I just returned from my second B Corp Champions Retreat and I am even more enthusiastic about being able to leverage our small contributions to make a much bigger impact. I believe strongly in fixing the problems at the source, and many of our societal problems boil down to consumption...
By Mike Gifford on 13/06/2017
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...
By Mike Gifford on 05/12/2016
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-...
By Mike Gifford on 02/12/2016
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...

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