Skip to Content

Category: Accessibility News

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 First Public Working Draft has been published – have your say!

March 1, 2017 • Srinivasu Chakravarthula

It was in 2008, Web Accessibility Initiative Group of W3C has announced Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 as a candid recommendation. Since then, there has beena lot of of improvements and changes in technologies.

For more than a year now, Accessibility Guidelines Working Group have been working hard to introduce extended version of WCAG 2.0; as part of this effort, task forces have formed to work on needs of mobile, cognitive and low vision users.

Yesterday, Working Group has published Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 First Public Working Draft to see feedback from users across the world.

There are 28 new success criterias in WCAG 2.1; in which 3 have been formally approved by the working group; others are in proposed states. Three new success criterias that got accepted are:

  • Resize content
  • Graphics Contrast
  • Interruptions (minimum)

For this publication, Accessibility Working Group of W3C seeks feedback on following questions:

  • Do the new and proposed Success Criteria address current user needs for web content accessibility?
  • Does conformance to the new and proposed Success Criteria seem achievable and testable?
  • How well do the new and proposed Success Criteria fit with the existing Success Criteria from WCAG 2.0?
  • How completely does the set of new and proposed Success Criteria address current user needs, particularly for users of touch- and small-screen mobile devices, users with low vision, or users with cognitive or learning disabilities?
  • Is the impact of WCAG 2.1 on policies that reference WCAG 2.0 understandable and not disruptive?

So have your say and contribute towards digital more inclusive!

Twitter Campaign to support #PasstheRPDBill

December 12, 2016 • Srinivasu Chakravarthula

Thanks to NCPEDP and Mr. Javed Abidi for putting this together. It’s important that The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill gets passed soon to make lives of people with disabilities more independent and make India more inclusive. Here are the details:

Please join the Twitter Campaign on Monday, 12th December from 3 to 6 pm
for the passage of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill (RPWD Bill)

Here’s what you need to do –

1. Get online on Twitter on Monday, 12th December from 3 to 6 pm. The idea is to tweet about the Bill widely and make #PassRPWDBill trend. Whenever anything trends on Twitter, the media automatically picks it up.

2. A few tweets have been created already (given below). Use these or create your own. Keep the message short but don’t forget to use #PassRPWDBill in your messaging.

3. Tweet to all the MPs (list is attached). Do not limit yourself it to your State. The message should go out to everyone. Example:

Just 60 seconds to change the lives of 10 crore people. Pass the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill @Siva_Chiranjivi #PassRPWDBill (This same message can be done for all the MPs)

Other tweets:

70 million lives could change with the passage of the disability bill #PassRPWDBill

60 second of #RajyaSabha to change the destiny of 70 million persons with #disability #PassRPWDBill

Appeal to #RajyaSabha. Spare a few minutes to #passRPWDBill

Appeal to #Parliament Don’t leave the disabled behind. Please #passRPWDBill to give them their rights

Call to all national parties of India to help #PassRPWDBill in #RajyaSabha – it will change the lives of millions

Rights of disabled citizen can’t be ignored by Parliament. #RajyaSabha please #PassRPWDbill

The new law will help millions of disabled to get more employment and education opportunities #PassRPWDBill

The new law will give better rights and accessible environment to #disabled citizens. #PassRPWDBill

New disability law will finally recognize #Autism #PassRPWDBill

Accessibility related events in October

October 7, 2016 • Srinivasu Chakravarthula

Here are a few accessibility events that I have / going to participate during October.

  • Accessibility Week at Intuit India: Thanks to leadership, team of Special Needs and Abilities Network (SNAN) of Intuit and of course our good friend Ted Drake for having invited me to be part of a panel discussing about “Journey and challenges in the space of accessibility” with co-panelists Nirmita of Centre for Internet and Society (CIS) and Vishwajit of Intuit. Panel discussion received incredibly great response. As part of their Accessibility Week, Intuit has also set up a few experience zones including one by GiftAbled and Intuit’s own Ability Cube
  • Bangalore Accessibility Dinner: This is sponsored by Intuit; it was wonderful evening meeting with a few very old friends and making a few new friends. There were discussions about what can be done to raise more level of awareness, there were also discussions about certain technology related. It was great to see people from different companies have joined the dinner but I wish to see more new companies
  • UX India 2016: This is happening in Hyderabad later this month. There is a presentation on Assistive Technologies and UX by Chandni Rajendran and I’ll be speaking about Impact of Inclusive Design

All-in-all, October is a busy month!

Categories: Accessibility News Tags: , ,

Launch of Sugamya Pusthakalaya (Accessible Online Library) in India

August 25, 2016 • Srinivasu Chakravarthula

24th September, 2016 marks a historic milestone for people with print disabilities in India. DAISY India, in partnership with Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment and powered by TCS Access Infinity has launched Sugamya Pustakalaya (Accessible Digital Library) which provides opportunity to blind and print disabled people to have access to wide range of publications including study material, fiction, non-fiction etc.,

About Sugamya Pustakalaya

If you are looking for books accessible to the blind, people with low vision or to persons with any other print disability, this library of libraries is your one-stop shop.

Sugamya Pustakalaya is a collaborative effort of several organizations to end the book famine faced by people with print disabilities.

Here, you can access books in diverse languages from various libraries across India. We have also partnered with international agencies like Bookshare and Accessible Books Consortium to provide you with accessible books from all over the world.

Users can access a collection of over 2, 30,000 books, maintain their individual reading shelves online and also download books in chosen formats.

Sugamya Pustakalaya is a facilitating platform for producers of accessible content to jointly work in producing and providing accessible books to people with print disabilities.

Publishers can also collaborate with us to publish their content in accessible format

As we speak, there are about 2,33,095 accessible books are availabel for download; these books are contributed by DFI member organizations and Bookshare.

A Press release is available on PIB Website.

Thank you both digital and print media for wide range of publicity on this. Below are links to some media coverage:

Below is a video that explains features of Sugamya Pustakalaya:

Deep sense of appreciation to Mr. Dipendra Manocha, Mr. Prashant Verma, Prof. Sam Taraporewalla and each individual and organizations who have put in tireless efforts to make accessible digital library a reality. Long way to go!

WAI‘s Education and Outreach Working Group (EOWG) seeking inputs for WAI’s new site design

June 14, 2016 • Srinivasu Chakravarthula

Web Accessibility Initiative (WAi) of World Wide Web Consortium is one stop for all resources including guidelines, techniques, checklists, examples related to web accessibility. Education and Outreach Working Group is seeking inputs from community to work on re-design of WAI’s website. The Survey with 57 questions asks very interesting input including what is needed for user’s job requirement and what would we like to see on WAI’s website. I have just completed the survey and highly encourage everyone to do so.

Email from Sharron Rush Co-Chair of EOWG is quoted below:

Greetings all,

The EOWG has created a Task Force to re-design the WAI web site. Our first challenge is understanding who we are building this for. If you would like to contribute your data to the construction of a few personas that will guide our effort, please take this (sorry rather long) survey.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/T28B59P

As important and maybe even more important is to collect data from web professionals who do not yet participate in WAI and who may be unaware of web accessibility and the WAI guidelines and supports. To that end, please spread the word about the survey to people who may not be accessibility aware.

…and please let folks know as well that there is a drawing for a $100 gift card for anyone who completes the survey and wants to leave contact information.

Thanks for your help.

Onward!
Sharron Rush

Thanks in advance for your time and inputs! Oh, also participating in this survey will let you stand to win a $100 gift card. All the best!

Categories: Accessibility News Tags: , ,

NVDA 2016.2 is released!

June 2, 2016 • Srinivasu Chakravarthula

Our favorite screen reader NVDA – a free and open source screen reader has just announced it’s newest version 2016.2! Highlights of this version as mentioned on the release blog post:

Highlights of this release include the ability to indicate spelling errors while typing; support for reporting grammar errors in Microsoft Word; and improvements and fixes to Microsoft Office support.

It’s heartening to learn that NVDA is being used by 10s of thousands of users spanning around 120 countries. Efforts of NV Access team are indeed commendable and deserves a great support and contribution.

Users can update to the new version either via update dialog of NVDA or by visiting NVDA Download page

As always, Thank you Jamie and everyone behind NVDA for wonderful work!

W3C elects new advisory board.

June 1, 2016 • Srinivasu Chakravarthula

World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has just announced it’s new advisory board who plays a key role in providing guidance to the team on strategy, legal matters, conflict resolutions etc.,

The W3C Advisory Committee has filled five open seats on the W3C Advisory Board. Created in 1998, the Advisory Board provides guidance to the Team on issues of strategy, management, legal matters, process, and conflict resolution. Beginning 1 July 2016, the nine Advisory Board participants are Tantek Çelik (Mozilla), Michael Champion (Microsoft), Virginie Galindo (Gemalto), Jay (Junichi) Kishigami (NTT), Charles McCathie Nevile (Yandex), David Singer (Apple), Léonie Watson (The Paciello Group), Chris Wilson (Google) and Judy Zhu (Alibaba). Many thanks to Soohong Daniel Park (Samsung Electronics), whose term ends this month. Read more about the Advisory Board.

And I would specially want to congratulate two folks; one is Charles McCathie Nevile (Yandex), who I met for the first time at Techshare India 2008 at his capacity as CTO of Opera Software. A highly technical guy with a lot of passion for accessibility. What I like about him is his detailed views on any topics raised in different accessibility forum.

Second person I would like to congratulate is Léonie Watson (The Paciello Group), a great speaker with energy, blogger, again with high technical knowledge.

I’m sure W3C never regrets to have these two awesome people onto the board. Kudos to everyone else too.

Regads,
Srinivasu

Categories: Accessibility News Tags: ,

Summary of Global Accessibility Awareness Day

May 23, 2016 • Srinivasu Chakravarthula

We have posted a few posts to mark Global Accessibility Awareness Day and we continue to put in efforts to raise awareness about accessibility. Besides, here is a quick Summary of Global Accessibility Awareness Day.

At Informatica
Informatica has hosted an internal awareness event to its employees. Event includes a presentation on accessibility in general and accessibility at Informatica, an activity to show simpulation of people with disabilities, an activity of how keyboard only users can use the technologies.

At Mitra Jyothi
Prakat Solutions, Mitra Jyothi Rotary Club of Koramangala has organized an event consist of a video screening and 2 panel discussions. Below is a note put together post the event.

19th, May, 2016
Mitra Jyothi Auditorium, HSR Layout, Bangalore

Setting the stage:
The GAAD, a collaborative effort of Mitra Jyothi, Prakat Solutions and Rotary Koramangala was a day that saw a culmination of voices, thoughts, approaches and solutions and an increased awareness of challenges faced by people with disabilities (PWD). A video that brought to us the perspectives of various PWD and their challenges was followed by a panel discussion in two parts where eminent panelists from diverse backgrounds spoke about the various approaches, challenges and stories of innovative solutions in the field of Accessibility.

The event opened with the lighting of lamp by Major Singh and Madam Uma of Mitra Jyothi. Following this, the tone of the event was set by Ms. Madhu Singhal, Founder of Mitra Jyothi, by stressing that Accessibility is not something achievable by a few, but each person has to play their part to make it a reality.

Mrs. Anuradha Biswas, Founder of Prakat Solutions, gave us the background behind the GAAD: The idea of a GAAD started with a single blog post written by a Los Angeles-based web developer, Joe Devon. Jennison Asuncion, an Accessibility professional from Toronto discovered Joe’s blog post purely by accident thanks to Twitter. After reading it, he immediately contacted Joe and they joined forces, leveraging their extensive and respective networks to realize the event.
She invited the audience to put on their thinking hats and pitch in with ideas, thoughts and questions.
The diverse audience comprised of several professionals from Intuit, Oracle, Wipro, IBM etc., developers, designers and testers, besides people with disabilities and those from NGOs.

GAAD video presentation:
The session began with an eye-opening video that educated and sensitized us about what accessibility is and why there is such a pressing need for it by bringing to us the perspectives of people who faced several different types of disabilities. They spoke about the challenges they face as they navigate the digital world- something that we take entirely for granted.
The statistics are actually quite shocking- 9 out of 10 websites are not accessible. A large number if services and products online are not available to PWD due to the lack of awareness on the part of corporates, developers, designers etc. We also got a peek into the various types of assistive technologies and the many tools available to compensate for any limitations a user may have.

Panel discussion:
Panel 1

The panel discussion happened in two parts, the first one was moderated by Anu Biswas, Founder & CEO, Prakat Solutions who was joined by Madhu Singhal, Founder & Managing Trustee, Mitra Jyothi, Vishwajit Aklecha, Product Architect behind Intuit’s QuickBooks and Srinivasu Chakravarthula, Lead Accessibility Consultant, Informatica.

Srinivasu, spoke about the two types of enterprises, based on their approach to accessibility- the proactive and the reactive. The proactive take initiative and make their products and services accessible, (perhaps because the leadership is passionate about the cause) while the reactive come to understand the importance of accessibility either through a lawsuit or the threat of one. He gave the example of Apple, which although started out as reactive, pledged to incorporate accessibility into the design of every Apple device thereafter, and indeed, today we see that every Apple device comes with a complete accessibility suite. He stressed that awareness and sensitization could convert the reactive to become proactive.
It is important to focus on accessibility earlier on in the process. This would be much easier and cost effective than the alternative approach of converting existing products phase-wise, to make them accessible.
Another important aspect he highlighted was the fact that awareness about accessibility should also come to developers through education and training.

Vishwajit, answering the question as to what could influence product companies to integrate accessibility into their processes and design, shared the story of Quickbooks, an accounting ecosystem by Intuit. When he heard from visually challenged individuals who were using the software and said that they could not even select the date on the software, that is when he started the initiative to test the accessibility of the product and partnered with the visually challenged in making the tool accessible. This initiative was made possible by convincing stakeholders that it is not always about the numbers. And sure enough, the next release of QuickBooks in 2013, met a lot of appreciation for being accessible and inclusive. He said that this brought a lot of hope and motivation for users.

Madhuji, who has been an inspiration for the founders at Prakat, spoke about how any design should take accessibility into account in the earlier stages. She pointed out that many designs that meant to be accessible are not actually so in practice. She gave the example of a cane for the visually challenged that she had recently come across that was so heavy that it was not at all practical!
She highlighted simple examples from her own life- how when she gets an invite to an event in .jpeg format, she has to wait for a sighted person to show up and read the details to her. If I could only do my own work without depending on others, that would make me so happy, she said. Roads, public transport and the lack of accessible toilets, all pose safety threats and hinder the everyday lives of people with disabilities. She stressed on the importance of persisting and continuing to highlight issues to the Government and to technology professionals who would be able to bring about a change.

Petition to make Karnataka Govt. websites accessible:
Abhik Biswas, President, Rotary Koramangala and Co-founder and Principal, Tech & Dev, Prakat Solutions, gave us a brief introduction to the work done by Rotary and their collaborative effort with the government and other organizations in virtually eradicating polio.
He spoke about Prakat’s initiative, a report on the state of 105 Karnataka Government websites. The report found that only eight of them were accessible. He invited the members of the audience to sign the petition to the Karnataka Government to make their websites accessible and also bring a surveillance mechanism in place to keep the sites honest and accessible to all.

Panel 2:
The second part of the panel discussion was moderated by Abhik and joined by Ms. Shanthi Raghavan, CEO, Enable India, Dr. Nandakumar Ramakrishnan, Ebay and Abhinav Kumar, Managing Consultant, Wipro.

Abhinav shared the story of Wipro’s Accessibility practice, which involved making wipro.com, and all of its internal applications used by 170,000+ employees worldwide, completely accessible. He spoke about their initiative of forming a forum for employees with special needs where they can voice their perspectives. People highlighted all sorts of challenges, for example, one visually challenged person highlighted that the even to view details on something as confidential as their payslips, they would need the help of a sighted colleague.

Shanti gave several examples to her point that features designed for the benefit of people with disabilities do in fact end up benefiting everyone. The vibrate mode on phones, subtitles for audiovisuals, etc., initially designed for the hearing impaired have become universally useful today. Most importantly, she gave us two cases of accessibility innovations that helped not just the visually challenged but also the society at large. 1. Car dealerships facing high attrition in their after sales support teams, made their internal applications accessible to leverage over one lakh potential candidates who were visually challenged. Not only did the visually challenged benefit from the employment, but so did the car dealership. 2. After analyzing jobs that could be available for visually challenged in SBI, it was found that they could take on the role of Passbook printing. The only change the bank needed to make was add the account number in barcode format on passbooks, which benefited not just the visually challenged but also ensured error free number entry for other employees.

Dr. Nandakumar spoke about the importance of ‘left-shifting’ our accessibility practice, that is to incorporate accessibility earlier in the lifecycle. A simple observation he made was that we rarely go to banks these days due to the advent of online and mobile banking. But in some decades, when we grow old, we might face one or the other type of age related disability, which might make these modes of banking inaccessible to us. It would not be possible to invest in changing decades’ of code then. He stressed that enabling accessibility adds to cost only when it is an afterthought, not when it is thought of in the initial stages of product design. He also spoke of the need to make innovations in accessibility open source, as they would benefit the entire community.

Inclusive Design 24
The Paciello Group has hosted wonderful series of 24 talks under the banner of “http://www.inclusivedesign24.org/”>Inclusive Design 24 and More about Inclusive Design 24:

Inclusive Design 24 celebrates efforts worldwide to ensure people with disabilities have full and equal access to the web. We invite you to join the celebration and connect with the accessibility community, and learn your role in moving accessibility forward. Together we can take great strides toward making a web for everyone.

To celebrate Global Accessibility Awareness Day, The Paciello Group will be holding 24 completely free one-hour webinars on all things accessibility. The sessions range from beginner-to-advanced and are aimed at everyone from executives to web developers.

Missed the session? Replay from The Paciello Group’s YouTube Channel:

At Apple There were a lot of events happened at Apple to mark Global Accessibility Awareness Day. Visit iMore page for details

NewzHook has run a campaign on Facebook called #IAmForInclusion.

Deque and NASSCOM Foundation teamed up and hosted an event at T-Labs, Hyderabad that includes talks, demos of accessibility testing tools etc.,

There were many more events around the world. Visit In-person events page of GAAD website to learn about other events.

From Twitter #GAAD

Categories: Accessibility News, Web Accessibility Tags:

Accessibility round-up Week 1, May 2016

May 6, 2016 • Srinivasu Chakravarthula

After some gap, we are back with Accessibility round-up. Here is stuff for this week

  1. Accessibility by design – IBM [Video]
  2. Command line Accessibility Tools
  3. Accessibility Testing with NVDA Screen reader by Deque [Video]
  4. Events Across the world to mark Global Accessibility Awareness Day on May 19, 2016
  5. 7 things every designer needs to know about Accessibility (Credit: Arthi Amaran)
  6. Accessibility Ready themes for Word Press
  7. Inclusive design – a chance to design in more innovative way by Ben of Microsoft
  8. Accessible gaming includes list of a few PC and console games
  9. Guidelines for Audio description on videos
Categories: Accessibility News Tags:

May 19, 2016 will be Global Accessibility Awareness Day – ideas to celebrate

April 11, 2016 • Srinivasu Chakravarthula

It’s amazing to see the idea evolved from a11y pros Jennison and Joe is raising a great momentum and this year, Global Accessibility Awareness Day will be marked on 19th May, 2016. to mark calendars for every year, note that Global Accessibility Awareness Day has been set to mark on every 3rd Thursday of May every year.

Nice thing about GAAD is that it’s an event that can be celebrated at any scale; may it be small – something like talk about accessibility to your peer; may it be hug – organize a summit or event! Everything will be counted but do remember to socialize about whatever you do.

Background about GAAD

The idea of a Global Accessibility Awareness Day started with a single blog post written by a Los Angeles-based web developer, Joe Devon. Jennison Asuncion, an accessibility professional from Toronto discovered Joe’s blog post purely by accident thanks to Twitter. After reading it, he immediately contacted Joe and they joined forces, leveraging their extensive and respective networks to realize the event.

Watch this interview of GAAD co-founder, Jennison Asuncion, by Dr. Jonathan Hassell in the year 2013.

Starting in 2015, rather than using a fixed date, we invite you to help us mark GAAD on the third Thursday of May.

Activity ideas

Some of the activities one could conduct without spending too much money are:

  • Go mouseless Pick any website of users choice or something that they use on daily basis; let them experience using the website by using keyboard alone. A couple of interesting tasks could be Post a status on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, Uploading photos to Google Photos or Flickr
  • Go keyboardless Invoke On Screen keyboard in Windows (available for Mac as well) and use your favorite application without using physical keyboard
  • Use a screen reader – Install NVDA Screen reader on Windows or Press CTRL+F5 on OS X (this will turn ON VoiceOver); turn off your screen and explore your favorite application; may be try booking for a travel! If you prefer to use your mobile device Turn ON VoiceOver on iOS devices by going to Settings -> General -> Accessibility -> VoiceOver and Turn ON. For Android, Go to Settings -> Accessibility -> TalkBack -> Turn ON. Trip: Single tap will help you navigate and double tab will help you activate
  • Test your website using either WAVE by WebAIM or aXe by Deque
  • Demo Screen reader / screen magnifier to your peers
  • Explore Cool resources from AssisTech

If you are marking Global Accessibility Awareness Day, do post a comment here so that we will cover your event or experience in an article that we post after May 19. Also do send an email to globala11yday (at) gmail (dot) com so that information will be posted on to the Global Accessibility Awareness Day’s website.

Watch this site for some cool stuff to mark Global Accessibility Day!

Do your bit to raise awareness!