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2016 Year in Review

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!

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

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


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!

Twitter Campaign to support #PasstheRPDBill

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

Idea to spread awareness about Accessibility to mark International Day of Persons with Disabilities

As you all know 3rd December is marked as International Day of Persons with Disabilities and a lot of activities around the world. Here are some ideas to raise awareness about disability and accessibility.

Mini Accessibility Showcase

: We can create mini accessibility showcase absolutely at no cost but will have a great impact. Here is the list of activities and set up:

  • Experience a screen reader:
    • Install NVDA Screen reader a free and open source software on Windows and let users browse website by turning off the monitor. Here is an article by WebAIM on how to evaluate a web page using NVDA Screen Reader
    • Mac users can turn on VoiceOver by pressing CMD+F5; when you turn on for the first time, it will display a dialog for training; press “V” key to continue. (Press CMD+F5 again to turn off VoiceOver). Read Chapter 6: Browsing the internet – an Apple guide
    • Use Screen reader on iOS: VoiceOver comes with all iOS devices (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad) turn on from Settings -> General -> Accessibility -> voiceOver. When VoiceOver is ON, swipe / single tab will announce the app / option focused and double tapping will activate the same. Read VoiceOver guide on Apple website
    • Use Screen reader on Android phone: Android devices comes with a screen reader known as Talk Back. This can be activated from Settings -> Accessibility -> TalkBack. Similar to iOS, talk back announce app name / option by single tap and double tapping with activate. Off late, there is significant improvement in Talkback. Visit Talk Back Help page
  • No Mouse: Ask users to pick one of their favourite website that they usually love browsing (not please!!), and ask them to use it for a few minutes (may be 15-20 minutes) without touching mouse. It would be fun to visit some airline websites and try to search for flights (force them to use calendar picker!!).
  • No sound: Play a video by turning off audio. Pick a video that has captions. First time, turn off captions and then play sae video with captions; this will help users understand how captions are important for people with hearing impairment.
  • Using on-screen keyboard: From Windows Ease of Access Centre, Enable On-screen keyboard and ask users to type a couple of paragraph only using on-screen keyboard with mouse; this will help users understand how people who cannot use physical keyboard would type
  • Using voice recognition: This is a bit tricky on windows but easy on iOS and Android (now on OS X too!). Most of the users would know about Siri on iOS and OK Google on Android. Ask users to open a messaging app and dictate a message either using Siri or OK Google; this will show them how people who can’t use hands would rely on voice recognition software to dictate to computer.

Visit Ability Cube by Ted Drake for great set of set up ideas.

Test websites for accessibility and report

Pick your favourite website, do a testing for accessibility using automated tools such as aXe by Deque or WAVE by WebAIM. Once you are done with testing, either do a blog post or create a readable report; remember your post / report should consist of good practices that went into the website along with accessibility findings. It’s only when there is a positiveness in the post / report, it gets attention. Please visit our resources section for checklists and other documents.

Host a talk

If you are an accessibility professional or a person with knowledge of accessibility, do host a talk on a topic that would interest your target audience. Be sure to make your talk itself inclusive. It would also be cool to invite an inspiring accessibility professional for your session. If you have such a person nearby, do the event in person or host a virtual event.

If you have any other ideas, feel free to share via comments section or by emailing to and we will add them to this post.

Good luck,

Impact of Inclusive Design

Srinivasu speaking at UX India 2016This is full text of presentation made at UX India on 21st October, 2016.

Thank you for having me here and I’m delighted to talk about inclusive design. Thank you UX India organizers for including this topic as part of this conference.

To begin with, let me quickly introduce myself. I’m an accessibility evangelist, currently leads accessibility efforts at Informatica. Accessibility is something I am passionate about; I live in Bangalore with Hema (wife), Varshi (our angel) and 3 months prince!

Since we have very limited time, let’s get to the agenda – in next few minutes, we will be talking about Impact of inclusive design – beyond disabilities. The reason I specifically mentioned about beyond disabilities is because it’s often we see discussions about accessibility are focused only around disabilities and sometimes even specific to visually impaired. Through this tiny talk, I would want to wipe that myth! Of course, accessibility empowers users people with disabilities but not only people with disabilities.

In this session, we will be talking about:

  • What is Inclusive Design
  • Social Impact
  • Technical Impact
  • Financial impact
  • Legal impact

Please note that it’s not something I worked from scratch but I’m just explaining business case created by W3C.

What is inclusive design?

Inclusive design is not a rocket science; it’s just about building products that are usable to all users irrespective of disabilities, age group, devices used etc., Let’s looks at few things that we commonly use:

  • Elevators: These are mainly designed to help those who cannot use stairs; I can understand, when someone is uses elevator to reach 8th or 10th floor in a building; but today, we see mostly everyone uses elevator even for a floor or two.
  • Ramps: Again, ramps are not only for people with loco motor disabilities; but also helpful to a women with pregnancy, elderly, a person with a heavy baggage. This is a reason we see ramps at most of the super markets at the exit gate.
  • Subtitles: These are actually meant for people who are hard of hearing; but mostly, everyone reads through them specially when watching a video / movie in a language that is other than that we know of.
  • Audio announcements in Rail station: This is quite common, when travelling by train, we await to hear announcements made though same may be displayed on screens. Because screen may be away from where we are standing or it’s the way we habituated for a long time; expecting announcements at rail stations. In-train announcements are not only helpful to blind passengers to know about next arrival station but also to those who are new in that route.

So this means we do not really have to build products for a particular group of users but we need to make sure our product work for diverse users.

Now let’s talk about impact of inclusive design.

Social Impact

By making products accessible, companies could showcase their social responsibility. It increases the brand value and inspire other product companies. It would also brings in respect and trust to your products. Inclusive products create equal opportunities to diverse set of users.

Technical Impact

These are benefits to you, as a company! An accessible product improves quality of your product, inter-operability, reduces site maintenance time – accessible code will be more semantic and hence becomes easy for future engineers to update / modify the existing code, it would also optimize server load time since accessible code will not have junk code in it. And sites that are accessible would work very well on different configurations such as mobile and tablets.

Financial Impact

As your product becomes accessible, number of users would grow thus eventually your users will grow. An Accessible product would be more usable to diverse set of users including those with disabilities, elderly, slow bandwidth connection, mobile users etc., It also saves cost on maintenance as semantic code would be easier to maintain than a lot of junk code. Once accessibility practice is in place and applied through product life cycle, it would reduce investment on accessibility and mobile readiness. Often accessible websites could be easily adoptable to mobile platforms.

Legal Impact

Lastly, building accessible products will avoid dealing with lawsuits. In several countries such as the Europe, US, Australia etc., consumers and advocacy organizations could file a case against products that discriminate inclusion law. Accessible products would not only enable compliance but also build trust among consumers. In addition, accessible products will have added advantage to sell to government organizations. In many countries, procurement policies of government do include requirement of accessibility.

Above all, it makes you as a responsible business. Let’s build inclusive products.

Thank you all!


Video of talk

Accessibility related events in October

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!

Recap: Bangalore Accessibility Meet-up – September, 2016

This time it was just a lite meet-up with about 10 people. Though number was small, folks were energetic and enthusiastic. A quick summary of the event:

  • Round of introductions – great to see new faces – people from Intuit, Bang The Table, AAMI, Visaetc
  • Arjun of Bang the table talked about what they do, how BTT built passion towards accessibility, their learnings etc., Thank you guys, you are all doing a fabulous work!
  • Srinivasu, as always, provided a quick update on what’s happening in accessibility from highlighting Accessibility Summit (virtual event) that took place early in September; slide deck is embedded below
  • Vikram from AAMI explained about their wearable product that would help people with blindness to have access to print material. It’s a tiny device that enable user to scan printed material and read aloud. Visit their website or connect with them for more details. Thanks Vikram for coming and all the best
  • Then room was open open for networking

Once again sincere thanks to Clifford Joseph and his team at Bang The Table for hosting this event. Way to go!

Summary of Accessibility Summit 2016: Reports that designers and Developers love

OK, next up was my good friend, a man of demos, known for mobile accessibility – Paul J Adam presenting Reports that designers and developers love.

Paul has demonstrated report formats that designers and developers love and tips to create good accessibility assessment reports. His presentation was consist of Scoping the website / mobile app, Finding issues, segregating, navigation through report and advantages of such a report.

Began with Scope. Scoping of project is critical and it’s essential to capture information like:

  • Does this project require any VPN access? if yes, ensure credentials are in place
  • Does this project include any documents like PDF, Word etc.,
  • What are the standards that would need project to comply with; Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), Air Carriers Accessibility Act (ACAA), Communication and Video Accessibility act (CVAA) etc.,
  • Identify if all pages and flows are within scope?
  • Assistive Technology User flow
  • Credit Card info (if needed)
  • It’s also important to know if site has a session time-out

While preparing a report, it would be good to capture common components like Header, Footer, Navigation, common widgets like social media icons, models, calendar, error handling etc., as Project Wide; there is no need to report as separate issues for each page. This will help both testers and developers. Developers can just pick Project wide issues, fix them and that would solve a lot of problems often.

Screenshots are important Yes, indeed screenshots play an important role to reproduce issues reported. It is important to identify location of issue that you are talking about. Do NOT misunderstand difference between Subject Matter Expert and Client. Client may not even know what WCAG is. Especially screenshots are useful when viewing the report after a gap (which happens quite often) and site gets changed. Shows where the issues is actually exist. Issue description could become alternate text to screenshot to benefit developers who are blind. Remember to include screenshot of what you are actually testing.

Some questions that gets addressed in the report:

  • Who faces this problem? a keyboard only user, Assistive Technology user or both, Is it a problem due to color contrast and affects people with low vision, elderly or cognitive? etc.,
  • What is WCAG Success Criterion?
  • How can this be fixed?
  • Where is this problem? (Screenshot will answer) – but be sure that add description along with screenshot
  • How big is the negative impact of the issue? Please be honest about impact. It would be good to include a demo (if possible a screen cast)

  • Normative wording of WCAG Success Criterion – it would be good to provide a link to the same

It is very important to call out impact of the issue; Is it Critical where user cannot carry out the task, Serious if user can perform the task but with some difficulty, other categories are major and minor.

It’s also important to use color coding in the report to highlight Critical failures in red, Serious failures in Orange, major and minor in shade of Yellow and Pass issues in green etc., This would be make readability of the report easy.

Be cautious while writing a recommendation It’s important to be careful while providing a recommendation. Be practical and be nice.

It’s important to write good description of the issue, steps to reproduce and if possible a code example.

It would be good to use collaborative tools like iCloud, Google drive etc., this helps multiple resources to work together.

Peer reviews are greatly important. Different ways can be used to provide feedback. Something like Insert comments in the report, add a new column to write reports, exchange emails or set up a meeting. Whatever works the best!

Paul, enjoyed your presentation and thank you for great talk.

Link to Paul Adam’s Slide Deck

Desclaimer:These are not exact words used by Paul Adam.

Summary of Accessibility Summit 2016 – PM Led Accessibility

Thanks to Joseph O’Connor, I have attended recent Accessibility Summit – a virtual conference on Accessibility that was held on 7th and 8th Septmber, 2016.

It was amazing to see that summit organizers took as much care as they could to make the event accessible. Speakers have described everything that they have shown visually and closed captions were provided live.

Ari Stile kicked off the event with a welcome note and housekeeping tips. She admired Adobe Connect as the platform has become much responsive than ever before but suggested audience to use wired connection better quality. Other option is to turn off the video; they keep running cameras because some people might love lip reading (either by choice or by necessary – again inclusion here!).

First talk was by Robert – a Project Manager and title of the talk is “PM Led Accessibility”; it was very insightful to hear how Project managers / product owners can create a great impact. He began explaining about typical roles of a PM that includes, managing timelines, deliverable, taks, communication, risk mitigation, resourcing, requirements, scoping etc.,

So whose responsibility is accessibility? Can PM take this responsibility; the answer is Yes! and how that can be done; by having little learning about accessibility, having empathetic mindset, have understanding about accessibility requirements and roles of resources. It’s important to include discussion about accessibility in Project meetings, let me know about risk if product does not comply with accessibility standards. Even if product does not have an accessibility requirement, it’s still be a risk from legal prospective. It’s obvious that as the progress, there will be resistance or setbacks about accessibility but being firm is important. Ask coworkers how the product would work for diverse users like people who are blind, hard of hearing, cognitive disabilities, elderly etc.,

It’s also important to educate resources about the impact accessibility creates. Showcase examples like how product having low color contrast would impact users when viewing on a mobile device in a sun light environment etc.,

Robert has recommended one should read book “Reimagine Empathy” by Paul Parkins (unfortunately, I couldn’t find this book online; if anyone does, please leave the link in comments section please…).

If you are new to accessibility, that’s Okay, ask for help. There are a lot of wonderful people and forums like WebAIM who would be happy to help. It’s good to seek help rather than spending your time. Of course, research is good too!

Let us, however, agree that accessibility is not single line item and all stakeholders has to put in efforts as per their roles and responsibilities. For instance, designers should design products keeping inclusion in mind, developers should code keeping semantics and standards in mind. QA folks should include accessibility into their test plans. Accessibility should be discussed in product / project status meetings. Communication plays a key role to achieve goals.

Some resources that Robert has mentioned in his presentation:

Then Robert discusses about significant risks with accessibility problems. Includes litigations happening in all industries, people demanding rightfully equal access, law suits etc.,

Accessibility of a project can be achieved by raising awareness among all stakeholders, reporting accessibility progress, knowing when to ask for help, as needed, bring in accessibility consultants on board, etc.,

Robert has also recommended people reading Developing a Web Accessibility Business Case for you, Accessibility Business Case by Karl Groves and Website of Lainey Feingold – an advocate who does a fantastic work in the area of accessibility advocacy and structured negotiations that could lead to win-win situation.

Then Robert focuses on a few tips how to get the accessibility work done. Well, PMs has great power; they can dictate! But a constructive discussion brings the success. When providing a feedback about accessibility, start conversation with positive notes and say something like “Hey buddy, you are great; you love code, how about adding that love to accessibility too?”. Make sure to bring back the focus as you notice. Recall project requirements so that it stays on everyone’s thinking. At times, you may need to esclate too. If situation minor, just mark in tracking system but if issue is major, call all stakeholders for a discussion.

When there was a question about what Robert would advice to deal with B2B companies, he says that though B2B companies doesn’t directly deal with consumers, we never know if business that company is dealing with may have people with disabilities in stakeholders. Today given that technology does a great job and make things possible, anyone can take up any job… I agree with Robert.

That concludes session of Robert; Next post will be about Paul Adam’s Presentation titled “Reports that designers and developers love”. Stay tuned!

Visit Robert Jolly’s website for slide deck

Disclaimer: These are not exact words that Robert have used.

Announcing Bangalore Accessibility Meetup for September, 2016 – a bit unique this time


24th September, 2016 at 14:30 Hrs to 16:30 Hrs (IST)

613, 2nd & 3rd floor, 12th Main Road, Indiranagar, HAL 2nd stage, Bangalore – 560038
Landmark: Above Watch World (Same lane of State Bank of India).

Sincere thanks to the team of Bang The Table for histing September 2016’s Bangalore Accessibility Meetup.

This time, I would want to do this meetup in a bit different way. Usually, we gather and discuss about what are the latest in accessibility space and ideas to raise awareness about accessibility. This time, let’s actually do an activity to raise awareness. If you are a product company such as a taxi service, e-commerce store, ticket seller, bank, entertainment portal, library or anything that serves consumers; drop in; we will help you experience how your product works for people with disabilities, elderly and how it works (or it doesn’t work) from accessibility prospective. We can only accommodate 15 companies this time; so do hurry up and fill in the Product Company Registration Form below.

If you are an end user and would want to invite a product company for this event, do please send Company name, Website, Contact Person, Phone number and email address to info (at) sgaccessibility (dot) com.

If you would like to join the meetup, Please block your ticket below:

Looking forward to an exciting event; Once again, big thanks to team of Bang The Table! Much appreciated.