I almost forgot to put a mention on this site about something that I have been working on over the last few months, namely SitePoint’s HTML Reference. While it is not specifically an accessibility resource it does cover the basics of accessibility, highlighting the various HTML elements and attributes that were introduced to improve the accessibility of web pages. With that in mind, I’d like to invite readers of this site to take a quick look and let me know if there’s anything that I’ve missed. The beauty of this HTML reference being an online resource is that you can leave comments on the site (assuming that you have a SitePoint account) and if the comment/suggestion is a sensible one, the amendment will be integrated into the reference. So, have I missed highlighting any accessibility features?
Latest Accessibility News on Accessify
British Standards Institution (BSi), the UK’s national standards body, now in the process of establishing a new technical standards committee to oversee the development of a standard which all organisations will be able to follow in procuring or developing an accessible website.
[Julie] Howell says BSi would like the standard to be based on PAS78 but she is also keen to widen it to embrace some of the new types of web service that were not around just a couple of years ago when the PAS was drawn up.
Read the full story on the E-Access Blog: Raising the standards.
I’ve just come back from speaking to a lady who works in the same company that pays my wages and who has rapidly diminishing eyesight - a rare eye condition has left her with something similar to cataracts, and a feeling of seeing everything through a heavy white curtain. The reason for my visit was to interview her and capture it on video, and ultimately the edited clip will be used in presentations that I’ll be doing within the company. Because it’s all well and good to talk about accessibility affecting people ‘out there’ but for many people these kinds of people are ‘mythical beasts’, so what better way than to show that "these people are here, working under the same roof as you - and they won’t thank you for not making your web pages or web apps accessible".
So it’s fantastic that as I sit here, with freshly videotaped evidence in hand, that I discover this set of videos on the web. Admittedly, these are promotional videos for AssistiveWare’s technology rather than a general collection of videos of people using other assistive tech, but it’s still darned useful for the likes of us who sometimes need to demonstrate to people the various ways that disabled users interact with web pages. I’d be more than happy for the likes of Freedom Scientific or GW Micro to take the same approach. More video resources are very welcome indeed!
My esteemed colleague Patrick Lauke is a firm believer in not providing widgets on individual web pages to do things such as resizing text on a page - on the basis that it’s site-specific and doesn’t teach the user how to change the font size for other web sites that don’t provide these controls.
This issue pops up time and time again, and it has done again on another forum where the phrase ‘teach a man to fish’ has appeared once more. It got me thinking, maybe it would be best to show the user how to change the font size rather than simply describe it. With that in mind, I put together some video clips, joined them together in iMovie and did a voice-over to explain how it’s possible. Here’s the end result (actually, this is version 2, which takes on board some of the comments in this post):
I’m interested to hear your feedback. Is this useful? Could you see people wanting to embed this on their accessibility page?
So, if you like this, blog about it, link to it, embed it in your accessibility statement if you think it could be useful to the user.
<object width="425" height="350"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/54iSS7KVcos"></param><param name="wmode" value="transparent"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/54iSS7KVcos" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" wmode="transparent" width="425" height="350"></embed></object>
And if people do think a video tutorial for this kind of thing is useful, what else could we cover off on the accessibility front, specifically how the user can change their browser without requiring site-specific page widgets (e.g. teach the user how to change background and foreground colours). Over to you for any suggestions you may have on that front.
I simply have to draw attention to an idea that Molly has come up with and posted about on her site today. She’s offering to teach 6 people at a time on a 2-day training session at her place, and all free of charge. Naturally the topic is standards (I know this is an accessibility site, but it’s still relevant), but ther are conditions to this great offer:
You demonstrate to me that you will take your knowledge forward to other educators, students, trainers and evangelists who can and will talk to their students and/or companies about standards.This is a MUST. I only will train people for FREE who can prove they are in education, technology training, or work with a company where they can provide in-depth training for their teams.
How awesome is that? But there’s another line that caught my attention:
I also challenge my colleagues to do the same formally.
So anyone up for that challenge on the accessibility front?