Archived entries for Accessibility

Accessibility Conference slides

Slides are up from the accessibility Conference at the University of Central Lancashire from 2004-06-23.

Speakers include:

Bob Regan – Macromedia Inc.
“Accessibility in Rich Media for the Web”
With the growing importance of rich media and multimedia on the web, it is important for educators to address issues of accessibility. This presentation looks at accessibility in the context of rich media, providing an overview of standards, common concerns and remedies to everyday issues. Real life examples will be used to provide a context for the issues presented.
Breeze Presentation + Slides

Jim Byrne – Making Connections Unit
“What is an accessible website?”
Examining common definitions of accessible web design, and discussing their practical implications for web ublishers/designers. By looking at accessible web design from the producers point of view (i.e., taking into account the reality of limited time and resources), and not just concentrating on consumer needs, we can derive some important practical lessons to help us in produce accessible sites. This approach leads to more flexibility, which (ironically) meets the needs of a greater number of end users.
Breeze Presentation (followed by Zoe Neumann) + Slides

Zoe Neumann – RNIB
“Is it legal? You decide…”
In this session, I will recap the requirements of SENDA and present some e-learning experiences students have described. The audience will consider the experiences and vote on the legality of the provision, how beneficial adjustments can be made and ponder “inclusion”.
Breeze Presentation (Preceded by Jim Byrne) + Slides + Transcript of slide 21

Hard Working George

Hard Working George — it’s hard work.

The Behavior Layer – Unobtrusively

I’ve been working on a framework called Layered Semantic Markup for I guess a few years now. While I spend most of my time considering the Structural Layer (Content, aka HTML) and the Presentation Layer (CSS), there is a third layer: Behavior Layer (scripts and the DOM). Having stable and appropriate Content and Presentation layers are helpful before one can appropriately address the Beharior Layer, which is why I’ve spent my time as I have.

A foundational idea of Layered Semantic Markup is Accessibility (and not just in the Section 508 of Accessibility for indivisuals with disabilities). Content should be accessible to ALL. Content should be available without Presentation. Presentation should be available without Behavior. In other words, each can only reach their potential (and some would argue bare minimum) if they are isolated and independent.

I don’t want my snazzy Javascript DHTML behaviors (which makes my navigation more efficient to desktop computer users) to make my navigation unusable to cell phone browsers. With a nod to “One man’s treasure is another man’s trash”, what’s good for one user may be detrimental to another.

With this in mind, take a look at this great tutorial on how to write an Unobstrsive Behavior Layer, or as the author brands it, “Unobtrusive Javascript
.

Javascript is a wonderful tool to enhance the usability of web sites. It is the extra layer above the mark-up ‘what is this text’ and the CSS ‘how should it be displayed’. Javascript adds a new dimension, the ‘how should this element behave’.

On the following pages we will discuss and see how we can use Javascript, but still maintain accessibility. The technique to completely separate Javascript from the other two layers of web development has become commonly named ‘unobtrusive Javascript’, as ‘accessible Javascript’ does not quite cut it. You can have a perfectly separated Javascript and still be totally inaccessible.

Hat tip to little. yellow. different’s mini-blog.

Layered Semantic Markup hits the big-time at Yahoo!

I’ll post some more details when I get a second, but I wanted to quickly point out that the new launches of http://www.yahoo.com/beta and my.yahoo.com are among the most visible examples of Layered Semantic Markup on the Yahoo! Network.

Isn’t the markup beautiful! Isn’t the CSS wonderful?

Congrats, one and all!

Video of Screen Readers in Action

I suppose I’ve talked about this before, but it came up again at work today:

“Introduction to the Screen Reader” with Neal Ewers of the Trace Research Center is a short 6 minute video demonstrating how screen readers assist people who are blind navigate the web, access the electronic page, and more.

That and more: http://www.doit.wisc.edu/accessibility/video/.

If you’re involved in web design or web development, or if you spend time thinking or working on accessibility, it’s well worth your time to watch this and the related videos.

Introducing sIFR

Mike Davidson, in conjunction with Shaun Inman and Tomas Jogin has released “a scalable, multi line, Flash 6 compatible version of IFR to help you reduce the amount of browser text in your life and free the world from the scourge of Arial.”

This system uses JS, DOM and Flash to provide scalable, typographically-rich headlines and font treatments through dynamic replacement of H1, H2 and DIV tags.

Seems interesting.

I’m historically pretty anti Flash. I believe in HyperText and meaningful, semantic markup. I believe in access to information to all. I believe that pure text is faster, better, and more “Web”. Just being up front about it. (On the other hand, I also believe in Progressive Enhancement, which is consistent with this approach.)

So I’m not yet sure what I think about this technique.

I know I’m more fixated on edge cases than many people, and that my work necessitates a never-wavering focus on speed, performance and efficiency, and that I have strong feelings about the benefits of “built-in” usability. But…

One reason I generally don’t like text as images is because you can’t select or copy-paste the content when it’s locked in an image. Organizations that have their address locked in an image prevent me from Yahoo-mapping their address and therefore lose my business.

My first test was to select the text of this flash headline. Happily, I was successful (though it’s pretty clunky, and much more difficult than normal HTML text).

One of Flash’s historic downsides is that .swf text is more or less unknown to the browser. They seem to have fixed this for mouse-based text selection, but using the keyboard doesn’t seem to work. Modern browsers have started introducing “Find As You Type” functionality, which lets you navigate (and select) the text of a page from your keyboard. This isn’t compatible with sIFR in my testing. Further, the standard “Control-F” on-page search isn’t aware of sIFR text. I, and many people, use Control-Find often. That IFR is for headlines instead of body content is some consolation, but… I’ll lump those together as one strike.

I wonder how well .swf text is indexed by search engines? I don’t have an easy way to test this, but because I can’t select the .swf text via the keyboard, and because test uses of Control-F “find” failed, I’m skeptical.

Interesting technique. Definitely one to keep an eye on.

Cheers
Nate



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