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 In migrating to Drupal 7, we not only were looking to migrate from our outdated Drupal 5 website but were excited for the opportunity to design an entirely new theme.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 27/07/2011
At CSUN15, Anne Comfort of Mount Allison University presented an interesting study - Can a font improve reading? - of over 200 full time students with dyslexia. In this study they were not able to demonstrate that changing the font helps readability for this population. There's a great summary of this in Adrian Roselli blog post after CSUN.
It's important to note that there is considerable controversy around whether or not fonts can provide any benefit for people with dyslexia. In 6 Surprising Bad Practices That Hurt Dyslexic Users there is a list of some basic things that can be done which...
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 27/06/2011
I took a great opportunity to go to Guelph to both participate in and present to the 2011 Accessibility Conference. I was able to meet with a number of great accessibility professionals from Southern Ontario who were gathered for this event at the University of Guelph.  I missed the A11yCamp which Sean Yo organized and also to Derek Featherstone's HTML5/CSS3 training, but sent two of my team to it.
In thinking about what to present to this audience I had rethink a few things.  In presenting to Drupal audiences I had to go into depth about accessibility and work to educate the audience about...
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 03/06/2011
I was happy to see the AODA Compliance Wizard produced to make it a bit easier to determine when/where Ontario organizations need to act about accessibility issues.
The Accessibility Standard for Information and Communications for the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) was released earlier today and it's a great accomplishment that reflects the dedication of thousands of people who have worked for improved Human Rights for our fellow citizens.  It is great to see this act, which was initially received Royal Assent on June 13, 2005, finally receive the clarity about what...
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
Image from FAE's Evaluation
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 27/03/2011
Here's a summary of accessibility presentations from DrupalCon San Francisco & Chicago. I've put them in an order that I hope will allow people who know nothing about web accessibility to progress through a rather complex subject. All DrupalCon videos are stored on which now also has an option for using HTML5 video.
This is my first time using this great new HTML5 tag to embed a video. It's also a great space to highlight that there are as yet no captions available for these videos & I've yet to figure out how to make the controls accessible to keyboard only users &...