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Schedule a call to get started with Digital Accessibility

April 21, 2017 • Srinivasu Chakravarthula

Now-a-days, there is a positive momentum about accessibility and businesses would want to make their products accessible. But challenge for many is that they do not know where to start and how to go about.

To mark 6th edition of Global Accessibility Awareness Day, I have decided to spend sometime with people who would like to know about accessibility and start their journey into building accessible products. Through this month, one can schedule a call with me for 30 minutes to discuss brief about accessibility and how they can get started.

Once call is scheduled all you need to do is call on the provided number at the time that you have opted. In case I could not answer your call, I apologize in advance and I shall call you back at the earliest possible.

Should you have problem in scheduling, do Send me an email

Link again: Schedule a call

Categories: GAAD Tags: ,

Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2017 – Let’s raise awareness about accessibility

April 12, 2017 • Srinivasu Chakravarthula

6th edition of Global Accessibility Awareness Day will be observed on 18th May, 2017. As always, this is one such event that success of the event does not get measured by it’s size or format but by impact that event could create. Thanks to Prakat Solutions Inc.,, here is a quick video of my opening remarks about Global Accessibility Awareness Day that I spoke last year.

Some of the topics that could touch upon to raise awareness about are:

There are several events being planned. If you are hosting an event, do comment here with link to your event page.

Good luck,

Categories: GAAD Tags: ,

Tip for Developers: Get your website tested for accessibility -Part 1 Perceivable

April 10, 2017 • Srinivasu Chakravarthula

Quite often, I receive emails from non-profit organizations asking if I can help them with accessibility testing for their newly built website. I also see most of them do not get built accessibility in mind though many of them are for organizations who offer services to people with disabilities. This post illustrate a few tips that developers can use while building a website. While we intend to see many developers have knowledge on accessibility, it’s absolutely fine to start with a willingness to build an accessible product. This post illustrates advice in the form of question and answer in reference to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1. This will be series of four articles to cover Perceivable, Operable, Understandable and Robust.

Question: Do you have images or any other non-text content?
Answer: When you have images, identify if they are informative images decorative images. If informative images, provide an alternate text. For decorative images, provide empty alt text i.e. alt=””; alt attribute must be present in any form of image; if not provided, path of the image gets exposed to assistive technologies such as screen reader, shown on text only browsers (or when images are turned off in the browser), shown to search engines.

Question: Do you have audio-only conent on the website?
Answer: Provide synchronized captions or text transcript

Do you have video only content?
Answer: Provide audio-description

Do you have a live audio / video event happening?
Answer: Ensure there is voice over when only visual actions are happening and captions are provided for audio. This will aid visually impaired users to know what’s visual actions are happening and hearing impaired users to know what the conversation is happening. If there is only music being played, show captions as “Music being played” and if possible what instrument is being played and some illustration.

Question: How my content should be structured and organized?
Answer: Ensure content is structured in a logical order, Headings are marked up appropriately using Hx values e.g. h1, h2 etc., Do not just decorate content as a heading, mark-up list items as ordered or unordered list, ensure all form fields do have associated labels using “for” and “id” attributes, radio buttons and check boxes have associated with their group label.

Question: My user tells me that my content is not read in right sequence, what could be wrong?
Answer: When content is presented in a sequence that is different than usual, it’s essential to ensure sequence of content is meaningful programmatically.

Question: Can I color code the information?
Answer: Yes, color can be used to convey information but color must not be the only form of presenting information. Example, accept is marked as “green” button and decline is marked as “red button”, same labels i.e. accept / decline must be provided as a text in addition to color code.

Question: Can I play audio or music automatically on my web page?
Answer: It’s a not a good practice to play audio automatically on a web page; reason being it would disrupt users with screen readers and people who do not expect an audio on loading of a web page. However, if audio has to played automatically and length is more than 3 seconds, controls must be provided to pause or stop the audio.

Question: How can I check for contrast of colors?
Answer: Simple way is to use Color Contrast Analyzer tools. See the list on Accessibility Testing tools section of Our Resources page

Question: How to meet resize text requirement?
Answer: User browser’s default zoom option (mostly CTRL and +) and zoom up to 200%

Question: Can I use images of text?
Answer: Where possible, it’s advisable to use text to convey the information rather than embedding onto an image.

Question: What’s graphics contrast?
Answer: It’s a new Success Criterion – 1.4.12 Graphics Contrast of WCAG 2.1. If information is conveyed only in the form of graphic e.g. charts etc., it must have minimum contrast ratio of 4.5:1.

Accessibility Conformance Testing (ACT) Rules Format 1.0 First Public Working Draft is now available

April 10, 2017 • Srinivasu Chakravarthula

Accessibility Testing is critical for ensuring accessibility of any product. Similar to any other testing e.g. performance, functional etc., quality is an essential component for accessibility testing too!

Accessibility Guidelines Working Group has published First Public Working Draft of Accessibility Conformance Testing (ACT) Rules Format 1.0 and accepting comments and feedback by 5th May, 2017.

As the size and complexity of web development is growing, it’s essential to have adequate tools to automate accessibility testing. To make rules universal, there needs a standard specification. That is what ACT Rules format aims to address.

About the ACT framework

There are currently many products available which aid their users in testing web content for conformance to accessibility standards such as WCAG 2.0. As the web develops and grows in both size and complexity, these tools are essential for managing the accessibility of resources available on the web.

This format is intended to provide a consistent interpretation of how to test for accessibility requirements so as to avoid conflicting results of accessibility tests. It is intended for both manual accessibility tests as well as for automated testing done through accessibility test tools (ATTs).

Describing how to test certain accessibility requirements will result in accessibility tests that are transparent with test results that are reproducible. The Accessibility Conformance Testing Rules Format (ACT Rules Format) defines the requirements of these test descriptions, known as Accessibility Conformance Testing Rules (ACT Rules).

The spec consist of Scope of the specification, ACT rule structure that talks about rule outline, rule description, accessibility requirements, Limitations, assumptions and exceptions, accessibility support; Test subject types, ACT test procedures, ACT data format and Rule Quality Assurance.

Do read through ACT rule format draft and File a issue on github if you have some feedback. Comments that the working group is looking for is about:

  • Does the ACT Rules Format address all the topics that are critical to rule design?
  • Does the section on accessibility support adequately address the topic?
  • Does the section on Accuracy Benchmarking adequately address the topic?
  • Are there improvements to better support developers of test rules to transpose their rules and adopt this format?

As a reminder, last date to submit the feedback is 5th May, 2017.

Accessibility Review: Paytm web interface

March 28, 2017 • Srinivasu Chakravarthula

Paytm is one of the largest digital wallets being used today. Paytm is one thing that gets accepted almost everywhere including small businesses like grocery stores, vegetable vendors etc., Also, Paytm enable users to purchase wide range of merchandise, book tickets for bus, train, fight etc., make utility payments such as electricity, DTH, mobile, landline, water etc., In short, many financial transactions can be carried out using Paytm.

Such a powerful platform has to be usable and accessible to all users including people with disabilities. Here is a list of accessibility findings that I have put together. This is not a exhaustive assessment report but something to begin with.

  • Search box: Auto suggestions are not operable using keyboard and does not expose to screen readers
  • Form fields such as to enter prepaid mobile number, recharge amount does not have associated labels
  • Several sections such as Book on Paytm etc., appears and functions like tab panels but not marked up as one.
  • Strike-through information (original price) is not exposed to screen reader users
  • No visible focus indicator on any focusable elements.
  • Several elements do not meet sufficent color contrast ratio of 4.5:1
  • Drop down menus are not accessible using keyboard alone.
  • Available balance and Items bag is not accessible using keyboard alone.

What I would recommend is have a list of scenarios and priorities them; then start fixing accessibility issues for each of those scenarios. Some items could be:

  • Global navigation
  • Sign-up and sign-in
  • Adding money
  • Paying utility bills and recharge
  • Buy movie tickets
  • Buy bus tickets
  • Shop on Paytm

Visit Our resources page to find links related to standards, developer resources, testing tools and much more…

Looking forward to see Paytm more accessible soon!

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!

Accessibility Review: Unique Disability Identity Card (UDID) Portal of Government of India

January 12, 2017 • Srinivasu Chakravarthula

A while ago, Department of Empowerment of People with Disabilities has launched Swavlamban Card portal to provide disability certificate and Unique Disability ID to persons with disabilities. I have pleased to see there has been a lot of care taken towards ensuring accessibility of the portal. Some of the positive things done on this portal:

  • All elements have sufficient contrast between foreground and background
  • Alternate text is provided for all images
  • Lists are marked up correctly
  • Headings are marked up though they can be improved
  • Play / pause functionality is provided for carousal
  • Associated labels are provided for input fields (except a few)

Here are a few things that needs attention:

  • Combo box to select language does not have associated label; there is no apply button to select language; there is an auto apply provided but this would cause inconvenience to keyboard only users; User would not be able to navigate through available options as page keeps refreshing for every language and focus moves out of the combo box.
  • Search button does not have visible focus indicator
  • When “high contrast” theme is selected, it does not get applied to elements next to carousal (e.g. Apply for disability certificate and UDID card etc.,)
  • “previous, play/pause and next” elements appear and function like buttons but marked up as links
  • There are several links on carousal with screen name “Register now” and these links need to provide better context
  • Content under “Quick access keys” appear like a text content but marked up as links – need to remove hyperlinking.
  • Heading structure can be improved; structure went up to level 5; all level 5 headings can be marked up as level 2 and level 4 as well to level 2.
  • Department of Empowerment of People with Disabilities appears to have linked to a different URL – i.e. http://innovationclustersarchive.nic.in/content/index.php, Department of Empowerment of Persons

This is only a quick review of home page and not the complete assessment. Overall, I think there are some good steps taken and accessibility has kept in mind while building the portal.

Overview – The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016

January 6, 2017 • Srinivasu Chakravarthula

During the winter session of Rajya Sabha and Loksabha (houses in Indian parliament) has passed long pending Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill and named it as The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016 [PDF].

This Act of the parliament received assent of the President on The 27th December, 2016.

This is an Act to give effect to United Nations Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities [PDF] which was adopted by the United Nations on 13th December, 2006. India happened to be one of the first signatories of this convention but not signed the optional protocol. India has ratified the convention on 1st October, 2007.

The UN Convention has laid down the following principles:

  • Respect for inherent dignity
  • Non-discrimination
  • Full and effective participation in the society
  • Respect for difference and acceptance of persons with disabilities as part of diversity and humanity
  • Equality of opportunity
  • Accessibility
  • Equality between men and women
  • Respect for evolving capacities for children with disabilities

Through series of posts, I’ll be writing my interpretation of this Act and my personal opinions how this would benefit people with disabilities and at some instances, I’ll also be discussing the areas of improvements.

Stay tuned!

2016 Year in Review

December 30, 2016 • Srinivasu Chakravarthula

Though it was a year with mixed feelings for me personally, from accessibility prospective, it was a fabulous year. A quick recap of 2016:

Have a great session and happy 2017! Let’s continue to make the world a better place to live!

Categories: General Tags:

Digital Accessibility – what Non-profit, Corporate and Education sector can do?

December 27, 2016 • Srinivasu Chakravarthula

This is a presentation I have made at a panel discussion held on 19th December, 2016 at Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore.

Slides

Full Text

Thank you for having me here. Good to see many of my old friends!

Firstly, let’s celebrate the passage of The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill; although it’s not very perfect bill, I’m hopeful, with all of our collective efforts, India will be better than before; there are plenty of opportunities that we can work with. While I’m not so happy that bill does not talk about equal opportunities for education in private sector school and few such things, I’m happy that this bill has included Accessibility and mostly in line with The UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Let’s hope for good implementation and see India becomes more inclusive.

So for next about 10015 minutes, we will be discussing about how Non-profits, corporates and education sector can do to promote digital accessibility. I limit my topic and discussion to Digital Accessibility because I have some amount of knowledge in this area and I absolutely not fit to talk about infrastructure accessibility etc.,

What Corporate can do?

Mindset Firstly we need to set our mindset; as one of my friends Subramanyan Murali says “Fixing the mindset is important”; by having mindset to build accessible products will ensure us that our products will be almost inclusive. Because, when we have mindset, we start thinking about diverse users and then thinking goes towards understanding standards etc.,

Have Accessibility as part of product road map and plan We do not prioritize things unless it is in our plan / road map. Having it as part of product planning will enable us to allocate required time.Often we hear that people what they did not have time to address accessibility, but do they have in their agenda? I keep repeating this in almost every presentation of mine that (not only me, any accessibility advocate) – the early consider accessibility, the better for you. It will be less expensive, can be achieved with less effort if accessibility is considered right at the planning stage.

Have PM led accessibility Because PM is the one who would have full visibility to timelines, product planning cycle etc., He or she would be able to fit in required amount of time to ensure product is accessible. Usually PMs are powerful and can made decisions; so their intervention is critical. Often we hear from developers that I’m OK to make it accessible, but my PM does not give me enough time; while the truth is why not did he or she written code that is accessible? So if PMs could own accessibility, they will have opportunity to discuss in regular meetings.

Have Strategy One needs to have a strategy how to address accessibility for legacy, current and future products. It’s not easy to make all legacy products accessible; but a plan and strategy could help to some extent. I’ll be doing a full talk on this at CSUN Conference in 2017; but will be happy to discuss with anyone who are interested in this topic.

Enable Developers and QA Ensure right training is provided for developers and QA. It’s important teams have knowledge about accessibility standards and techniques to build accessible products. They should also know that accessibility is not a rocket science and it’s more about writing semantic code and using the right techniques.

Raise Awareness Whether we like it or not, still there is not really enough awareness about accessibility in the industry. If you believe in accessibility, talk about it within your company and outside. Raise awareness, let people know the impact of accessibility, address myths that people have about accessibility.

What Non-profits can do?

Sensitize community: You could be the voice for many people that serve. Put in efforts to sensitize community about the needs of your people; may it be people with disabilities, elderly etc., In fact, Non profits can create a lot more impact than corporate organizations. But do it in right way. Specially when you are talking about accessibility, think of cross users and not only the section of people that you deal with.

Review and reach out: Review websites / apps as per accessibility standards and share feedback with respective product owners and then follow-up with them. Make it as your project. This is what my colleague Rakesh and I do on our websites.

Last step: Legal approach: After all of your social efforts, if nothing works out, work with courts to approach product owners in legal way. But all of the legal steps should be as a last option. Do not ever start with legal approach.

What education sector can do?

Education sector plays a critical role. Often when I see an inaccessible application, I do not blame developer, but blame the institution who tought them how to code. Most of the institutions do not teach concepts of usability, standards and accessibility. So if you are an education institution, include usability, standards and accessibility as part of your curriculum. Build ability to think from cross user prospective.

Thank you all!