Latest Accessibility News on Accessify

Hello, Accessify!

Accessify has finally found a new owner!

There’s a lot of work to be done, and a lot of catching up to do in order to make up for the last few slow years, but Accessify is in the good hands now. Keep an eye out for site news and further updates, and let’s keep Accessify going.

Filed under: Announcements, Site Admin
Comments Off Posted by Accessify on Tuesday, November 12, 2013

What to do with Accessify?

I’ve been thinking about what to write in this post - or even whether to write it at all - for a long time. Bottom line is that I’m struggling to put Accessify to its best use and I’m after some ideas about what I can do to sort this out.

A few months ago I finally finished a redesign. That redesign (and rebuild) had been in the making for months itself and I thought that once it went live, with a new site structure and some new enthusiasm that the site may perk up a bit. Unfortunately, the problem I still have is finding the time to put in for it.

Unlike a lot of my peers in the accessibility world, I don’t spend an awful lot of my working time dealing with accessibility issues; it’s still very much a fringe issue during my day job. As such, I’m a bit out of the loop on the topic. When accessibility news comes in during the day, numerous other people will report it while I’m lucky if I even have Twitter switched on! In short - I miss lots of news and am left to simply repeat/re-tweet/re-hash or instead not bother because by the time I get to do anything with it, it’s hardly news. And in my free time … well, after my working day, I don’t spend the evening hours keeping up-to-date with ‘what’s hot’ in the world of accessibility! Life takes over (wife, dog, cooking, DIY, car maintenance etc) and I find that come 11pm all enthusiasm for doing something on this site has gone.

I had big ideas when I re-launched. I was going to do a range of video tutorials but it’s not happened:

  • I was going to blog more (insert canned laughter here).
  • I even had a Wiki on the sidelines, and totally reskinned it to fit in with the rest of the site. It really looks the part, but it’s not gone live because I realise that if I can’t keep on top of the ‘normal’ site, how the heck can I monitor Wiki activity?

So, what do I do? Things I’ve considered include:

  • Sell Accessify on. There’s no ads on here (apart from those to my own books), so it’s not a revenue generator, but it could be worth something to someone
  • Give it away to someone who I know will look after it
  • Just leave it as-is, not worry about it. After all, does it really matter? In the grand scheme of things, should I be losing sleep over it?

Letting the site go seems drastic and, to some extent, wrong. This is the site I’ve had for the longest, it’s what I’m known for and back in the day (2002) it was one of only a handful out there doing its part to promote accessibility. But if I let it go, it’s a bit like giving away my baby, albeit a baby I have neglected for some time!

I would like to see some activity on the site again. In the past I’ve asked if anyone would like to contribute, but that’s never really worked out as the people I have asked already have their own thing going. Perhaps I’ve asked the wrong people (in terms of their desire to contibute); I certainly know that they’ve been the right people in terms of their knowledge/capability!

So, folks, what should I do? Is there a way I can give the site a kick-start again be allowing others to pitch in? Would anyone be willing to help get the Wiki off the ground? If you have ideas, or would like to contribute, please add a comment here. It would be great to see some activity on the site again, but I just have to admit that I can’t give it the full level of attention that I’d truly like to.

Filed under: Announcements, Site Admin
Comments (16) Posted by Ian on Friday, June 12, 2009

Fantastic offer - 5 books for the price of 1

How would you like 5 of SitePoint’s rather fine technical publications for just $29.99 US? Sounds like an absolute bargain, doesn’t it? Well, it is a deal not to be missed and you have 3 days to make the most of it. So get to it!

Visit SitePoint’s 5-for-1 sale here

As a SitePoint author whose books are on this list, it’s money out of my pocket, frankly, so why should I be so happily promoting it? Simple - the money is going into the pockets of people who need it a hell of a lot more than I and the other SitePoint authors and employees need it right now!. As some of you might know, SitePoint is based in Melbourne, Australia where - at the time of writing - bush fires are still raging and have claimed entire towns with the loss of life currently put at 170 people. This figure will rise.

A fire truck looks insignificant against the raging fires nearby

I know that some of the people at SitePoint have been personally affected, losing friends in the fires, so this should not be seen as a publicity stunt in any way shape or form - this was simply something that they could do to raise some money quickly and easily to support the victims of this tragic incident. I’m only too happy to help promote this and am going to be blogging this anywhere I can, Twittering where I can - and there’s nothing to stop you doing the same!

$30 for five books is an absolute steal. Go on, buy some books and that will be another $30 going directly towards the victims - SitePoint are taking no money from this whatsoever.

Thanks.

Filed under: Announcements
Comments Off Posted by Ian on Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Accessify gets a long overdue facelift

Finally. At last! [insert similar phrase of own choosing here] … It’s done!

It’s taken me an absolute age to get this thing live and, if I’m completely honest with myself - and anyone else who happens to be reading this now - I’m still not totally happy with the end result. You see, I’m not much of a designer, and cannot help but criticise my own efforts (and I sure as hell know that others will want to take a shot at the ‘design’ of this). But hey-ho, one has to know his own limits!

I’ve needed to take a look at this site for so long but unlike many of my peers, I don’t actually live and breathe web development and (despite what my wife may claim!) I don’t spend all of my free time on the computer. The truth is, I usually have something like a 30-minute to 1-hour window of opportunity late in the evening to really concentrate on this kind of thing, when everyone and every animal is asleep. But by that time I’m tired too. And that, my friends, is why it’s taken me years to get around to giving the site a facelift!

So, what’s new?

Apart from the obvious visual changes, I’ve done the following:

  • Added some new tools and updated some older ones:
  • Updated the blog template
  • Added some new screencasts/videos
  • Tidied up JavaScript on the site (unobtrusive, jQuery based)
  • Used JavaScript to add in some other site features (e.g. ARIA landmark attributes)
  • There’s also been a lot of pruning of useless functionality (style sheet preferences, anyone?)

What’s still to do?

  • Well, the accessibility videos section is sparse. I am going to add to that in coming months - both videos created by myself and third party videos/screen casts
  • A Wiki - it’s structurally there but needs more work from some other parties (you know who you are, and I’ll be in touch soon!)
  • Some new content! Yes, the site is still there largely for the purposes of holding the tools, but in these days of micro blogging, perhaps it’s time to buck the trend and do some fuller postings? With a site that I’m happier to work with, this is far more likely to happen!
  • Fix some validation issues on the blog - little niggles really
  • Oh, and some new tools … either as I think of them or as people ask for them (and assuming that I can build them!)

I hope that visitors to the site like the change and find something of use here. I’ll really do my best not to let this stagnate from here on in, I promise!

Filed under: Announcements
Comments (12) Posted by Ian on Friday, January 16, 2009

Captioning Sucks

So, I’m a bit late in posting about this, as the site was launched earlier in the week, but you still may not know that Captioning Sucks. Joe Clark would like you to know why this is. The site itself looks like an explosion in a paint factory - something that Joe admits is garish and vulgar, intentionally - so you can’t help but remember it! But the information contained is very readable and informative, explaining what the issues are and why they exist. The aim of the project is described here:

This is the real reason why everything else we’ve mentioned here is happening. We want to write and test a set of standards for captioning (and more) – independently, honestly, and out in the open. We need your help.

Filed under: Announcements
Comments (3) Posted by Ian on Friday, April 4, 2008

Introducing The John Slatin Fund Accessibility Project

John SlatinIt was not long ago that we learnt of John Slatin’s passing. As a long-time active member of the accessibility world who worked with the W3C’s Web Accessibility Initiative and co-authored a book on the topic, John was passionate about the topic. In his memory is a great service for companies that want an accessibility review from experts in the field, appropriately entitled The John Slatin Accessibility Fund Project.

For a minimum donation of $500 US, the project will put the company requesting the review in touch with one of the experts (who have volunteered their time for free) and the funds will go towards the (not inconsiderable) medical costs that were incurred during John’s long illness. They aim to raise $25,000 from the project but the donation is a minimum suggested, so with hope this will not be difficult to achieve. And even if people do only donate the minimum, then there are good things that can come from that too – that’ll be another 50 web sites whose accessibility will be improved in John’s name.

If you are looking for an accessibility review, please do consider using this outlet, and if you consider yourself an expert and have some time that you can donate, contact the project to offer your services.

Comments Off Posted by Ian on Thursday, April 3, 2008

A Beacon Just Went Out

Rest in peace, John Slatin. Your work in the field of accessibility will not be forgotten, and nor will the friendship and kindness to all who had the pleasure of knowing you or meeting you in person.

Filed under: Announcements
Comments Off Posted by Ian on Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Review WCAG 2.0 Last Call Working Draft

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) Working Group invites you to review the second WCAG 2.0 Last Call Working Draft published on 11 December 2007. WCAG 2.0 explains how to make Web sites, applications, and other content accessible to people with disabilities. Please submit any comments on the following document by 1 February 2008: Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 - W3C Working Draft 11 December 2007

See the complete call for review: WCAG 2.0 Last Call Working Draft for further details.

Comments Off Posted by Patrick H. Lauke on Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Shockingly overdue announcements

Due to various writing commitments (none of which, rather evidently, include this site right now!) I have a backlog of emails to respond to which just keeps on growing. I managed to work through a few of them today and noticed a couple of requests for plugs on the site that, while overdue, I though I should share anyway (just in case you hadn’t heard):

  • Web Accessibility Toolbar for Opera - the link pretty much says it all. The teams from Web Accessibility Tools Consortium, Vision Australia and The Paciello Group have ported the useful toolbar that they built for windows/IE. (Congratulations to Steven, also, who’s making the move over to The Paciello Group - and London - in the near future. Any chance of an exchange deal, Steven?)
  • Ability panels goes live - The site blurb reads “ABILITY is a group of online panels for people with disabilities, their family members. advocates, and other stakeholders. Participants in our research have the opportunity to make their voices heard by participating in groundbreaking Market Research, Mystery Shopping, Surveys, and other specialized studies.” The company behind this venture are looking to recruit people with disabilities nationwide in the US. Want to get involved?
Comments Off Posted by Ian on Friday, August 11, 2006