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...
By Mike Gifford on 09/10/2016
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...
By Mike Gifford on 26/10/2015
Drupal 8 accessibility logo.
The W3C's Web Accessibility Initiative has recently (24 September 2015) released it's recommendations for Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines (ATAG) 2.0. The process for releasing W3C guidelines is a long and arduous process. A Canadian institution, the Inclusive Design Institute, has taken a leadership role in creating these guidelines. If people were still hand crafting pages in raw HTML like I did when I started OpenConcept, this wouldn't be needed. Fortunately, almost everyone uses some editing tool to help them create web pages.
Now I still do editing with a plain text editor, vi,...
By Mike Gifford on 23/10/2015
Drupal 8 accessibility logo.

You may be familiar with the alternative text (alt) attribute that appears in <img> tags. The purpose of alt attributes is to provide a description of the contents of an image file. This description will appear when a user cannot see the image in their browser, when the image is searched on search engines, and in screen readers. But it is very easy to forget to include this text in your images and that is bad news for accessibility and SEO.


In Drupal 8, alt attributes are now set to required by default on images. The same goes for such elements like user images and image...
By Mike Gifford on 21/10/2015
Many of the accessibility changes that have been made in Drupal 8 are pretty subtle. Most people probably won't realize that there is a deeper blue in the header and probably won't care. There have been a lot of little changes in Drupal 8 though to improve colour contrast.
Many contributors to Drupal 8 Core check to see that Drupal adheres to accessibility standards. Colour Contrast is one of those standards. The Colour Contrast Guidelines are provided to assist those who are color blind or have low vision.
For most users, this may only affect them when they step outside with their mobile...