Latest Accessibility News on Accessify

Where the Rubber Meets the Road: Web Accessibility and Pragmatism

Patrick and Bruce

In a lazy copy-and-paste style, I wanted to mention Patrick’s recent posting on his personal site:

“It’s admittedly been a while since the lovely day out in leamington spa for geek in the park, back on 27 august 2006.

However, i’ve finally managed to finish the podcast and transcript of the evening’s ad-libbed discussion where the rubber meets the road: web accessibility and pragmatism with my partner in crime, Bruce Lawson.

Rambling at times (the whole podcast does clock in at around one and a half hours), riddled with swear words, but hopefully also provocative and entertaining.”

I’ve not listened to the recording for myself, yet, but have heard good things about the day and even heard the phrase ‘inspirational’ mentioned about the talks given. As long as it’s not inspirational examples of creative swearing, I take that to be a good thing.

Comments (1) Posted by Ian on Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Bloglines Listening to its Users?

Message from Bloglines announcing accessibility fixesI little while back I posted on my personal site how a recent update to Bloglines had caused it to stop working for me at my place of work. The title was Bloglines Is Broken (for me, at least), but it turns out I wasn’t the only one having issues. In doing the update the ‘wizard behind the curtains’ had also managed to break access to the service for screen reader users, as noted on Blind Access Journal. I wasn’t alone!

The good news is that the people at Bloglines (or Ask.com, depending on how you view it) do listen to its audience, and the navigation tree in the left pain - I mean ‘pane’, sorry, Freudian slip! - is now working properly for screen reader users.

I have to say that I am encouraged by Bloglines’ approach to this. It’s not taken them long to address this, really. Many other companies would sit on it for months or even years by which time its affected users would have long gone. I’ve also been impressed with the proactive approach taken by the software engineers at Bloglines who have got in touch with me to keep me informed of progress on my issue (and they’ve assured me that there will be a non JS-reliant version of the subscriptions tree forthcoming).

A little victory for accessibility, but the larger battle continues - I am sure that this won’t be the last ‘improvement’ to a web-based service that inadvertantly breaks access to key functionality to some of its audience but if a few other companies would take a leaf out of Bloglines’ book, it’d be a good thing indeed.

Filed under: Accessibility
Comments (2) Posted by Ian on Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Great Accessibility Camp-out

There’s a great post over at Accessites about the various camps in the world of web accessibility entitled The Great Acceessibility Camp-out. Who are the two camps?

  1. Camp 1 - those who believe that accessibility is not just “solely being a physical or mental inability … [but also] include users with slow connections, old monitors, legacy equipment, and anything that puts a barrier between the user and the content they seek, not just poor eyesight or blindness, corrupt motor skills, or dyslexia”
  2. Camp 2 - those who believe that “web accessibility is about ensuring that people with disabilities are not discriminated against”

Whichever camp you are in, it can’t be harmful to accessibility as a whole. As for me - which camp am I in? I don’t need to set up camp - I bring my own with me ;-)

Filed under: Accessibility
Comments (1) Posted by Ian on Thursday, October 12, 2006

Markup Maker - update

This little dev tool seems to have gone down quite well, so I thought I should let you know about a small update to it. As it has been requested a few times, I’ve added in the following options:

  1. Choose the doctype for the generated markup
  2. Choose wether indents in the generated markup use a space or tab

I’m resisting the urge to add too much more in - it was deliberately kept simple - but one other feature that’s been requested is an option to include comments after each closing div to state which div is being closed down. I actually tried to do this but got in a bit of a pickle trying to get it to work. The good news is that I’ve had an offer to ‘have a poke around and get that working’ for me, so this may be added very soon.

You can find the Markup Maker here. As before, please add all comments here.

Filed under: Tools
Comments Off Posted by Ian on Friday, October 6, 2006

Introducing: Markup Maker

This is another of those little tools that I put together primarily for my own use but you may find it of great use, hence it’s gone into the Accessify toolbox.

Markup Maker takes a simple list of page ids that you enter and converts it to a valid XHTML document. It also creates the shell of the CSS that you need so you can start to apply styles/layout etc.

Markup Maker on Accessify

If you like the tool, please do link to it, Digg it or add to del.icio.us

If you have any comments or questions, please add them to my personal blog (just trying to keep comments in one place)

Enjoy!

Filed under: Tools
Comments (2) Posted by Ian on Monday, October 2, 2006