By Mike Gifford on 06/04/2012
Earth Quake Example Map
I've been curious about maps and accessibility, but it hasn't been something I've had much time to explore. Because maps are so visual, it's hard to think about how to make them fully accessible. Sarah Bourne in Making maps accessible asks the serious questions that that are at the heart of this issue, and frankly ones that I haven't had the opportunity to explore.
I have recently begun learning more about digital maps, thanks to some recent work involving OpenLayers. I had an opportunity to think about this a problem on a practical level of how can I help to improve the tools that are being...
By Mike Gifford on 03/01/2012
Me presenting at the Guelph Accessibility Confrence
Really like this article: An In Depth Analysis of HTML5 Multimedia and Accessibility.
Last May I gave a talk at Guelph's 2011 Accessibility Conference. I wanted to raise awareness about aspects of the Drupal 7 accessibility improvements could be used as an example. The video was recorded by the University & I was sent a copy of it so that I could upload it here. I do think that the university may also upload a copy at some point, but there were delays and I had ideas within the presentation that I wanted to share.
I was sent a 187meg Windows Media Video (WMV) file from Patricia Shaver (...
By Mike Gifford on 14/11/2011
OpenConcept has been participating working in the work of building a Drupal theme for the Treasury Board Secretariat's Common Look & Feel (CLF) for a number of years now.  We started distributing one in 2008 based on the Zen theme & Drupal 6.  It was pretty simple and relied on a great many modules to be downloaded & configured before it would work as expected.  We didn't get many contributions to improve the theme after providing it to a number of departments we and releasing it on IRCan, so we didn't invest much more in it.  At the very least it needed an install profile to...
By Mike Gifford on 26/10/2011
Recently as we've been working on enhancements to Drupal 8, we run into several situations where we are looking at the jQuery library.  Drupal's been including the free software jQuery for the last two releases and are using it more and more as it evolves. We were hoping we'd be able to simply leverage a solid accessible jQuery UI element rather than have to continue to enhance our own javascript widgets.  
jQuery UI 1.8 has an autocomplete widget in it so why don't we just use this rather than re-invent the wheel for Drupal 8.  Unfortunately based on some quick testing by Everett Zufelt the...
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...