Just after about a few weeks that Jim Thatcher has passed away, it’s sad to sad and unexpected demise of yet another accessibility advocate Joseph Karr O’Connor (1953 – 2020). He is one of those people who have contributed immensly in the area of digital accessibility. He is popularly known as Joe and AccessibleJoe.
I met him for the first time at CSUN Conference back in 2010 and we had a great conversation. When I asked for his business card, his answer was “I’m just CSUN’s Webmaster; I’m not that important person to carry business cards.” that was his simplicity.
Sure he must have done a great work at CSUN as a Webmaster but also post his retirement at the Universityl, he has contributed a lot to the world of accessibility specially for WordPress platform. He has educated a lot of people about accessibility.
Joe – you will be missed and may your soul rest in peace.
Profound regards and condolences to Joe’s family,
Srinivasu Chakravarthula 8th January, 2020 Thank you, John Foliot for letting me know this news through Facebook.
SI (ServeOM Inclusion)’s a11y (AccessibilitY)’s Help Desk is a platform where anyone who is building a website, web application, mobilie application to ask questions related to accessibility.
Yes, there are plenty of resources on the web and they are all great and SI a11y HelpDesk is just another helping hand to support individuals and organizations in the area of digital accessibility.
How to connect with SI a11y HelpDesk?
SI a11y HelpDesk can be reached via voice call or WhatsApp Text on +91 6366 778 991 or +91 9482 506 558. Our phone support works from 9:00 AM (India Standard Time) to 2:00 PM (India Standard Time) From Monday to Saturday. Questions can also be sent using email at support[at]serveominclusion[dot]com.
Who should use SI a11y HelpDesk?
User Experience Designers
Quality Assurance Personnel
Non-profit organizations working to promote accessibility
People with Disabilities
What kind of questions you should ask?
Questions related to digital accessibility including Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, Accessible Rich Internet Applications, Accessibility Testing, Accessible Pattern libraries, Mobile accessibility. Currently we have limited knowledge about document accessibility; however, we shall be able to help you by routing your questions to our colleagues in the industry.
We encourage you to keep something handy for you to take notes of the conversation.
I am extremely heart broken to hear the news that one of the pioneers fo accessibility Jim Thatcher has passed away at the age of 83 on December 7, 2019.
When I started my journey in the year 2005, the first website I have used for learning is JimThatcher.com. I am fortunate enough to have met him at CSUN Conference and witnessed his life time achievement award.
When I have joined HCL Technologies back in 2014, I asked some of my colleagues who have helped them to got started with accessibility and it was nice to learn that it was Jim who have helped them.
Thank you Jim for everything you have done and may your soul be rest in peace. You will be missed.
8th December, 2019
Good morning, we in India, always privilege to be ahead of many other countries to start celebrations of Global Accessibility Awareness Day and we can also celebrate longer than just 24 hours!
It’s amazing to see a small (but powerful) idea introduced by Joe Devon and Jennison has become a strong global moment and what could be bigger achievement than seeing 90+ events happening worldwide! Thanks to those of you celebrating either in a small or big way! Oh, you don’t know about GAAD? That’s OK, it’s still not late. you can still celebrate. Just grab one of the ideas mentioned in GAAD website (you can also browse on this website) and go with it. One of the simplest activities is “Go mouse-less”, ask your community / teams to work (or have fun) without using mouse for an hour! then share experiences of each other! That could lead to some wonderful things of your journey towards building accessible world!
Announcing accessibiilty-help Slack channel
To mark this year’s Global Accessibility Awareness Day, I’m announcing accessibility-help slack channel. I am investigating how I could post a link and let people join the channel directly but in the meanwhile, please share your email address by writing to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be sure to add you to the channel.
Purpose of creating this channel to provide support to those who start their journey into accessibility and/or just got stuck with something. I intend to document conversation with resolutions to our Knowledge base.
Once again, happy Global Accessibility Awareness Day to everyone!
It’s that time of the year again when world celebrates the momentum of accessibility by observing Global Accessibility Awareness Day curated by Jennison and Joe back in 2012. It’s encouraging to see a lot of in-person and virtual events have been already planned.
This year, I will be posting a few things that enable people to begin their journey (those who have not started yet) and it may just become reminder to others who are already contributing their wonderful efforts to make digital world a better place!
Here is a list of 5 things that gets you started with accessibility:
Text alternative for non-text content: It’s easy; all that you need to do is provide alternate text for informative images, active images (images that are links). Ensure no informatiion is conveyed using background images (CSS images). If there are images just for decorative purpose, be sure to mark them up using null alt attribute. Read my earlier post to learn more about “alt”.
Labels for form fields: Ensure that all input fields have associated labels, all radio buttons and checkboxes are associated with their group labels.
Colour contrast: Ensure every element including text has minimum colour contrast ratio of 4.5:1 between foreground and background. You don’t have to do any manual math while choosing colours. Just use either Colour Contrast Analyzer (stand alone tool) by The Paciello Group WebAIM’s contrast checker (online tool)
Keyboard: Ensure all elements are operable using keyboard including drop-down menus, dialog, media players etc.,
Validate your code: Often, a cleaner and semantic code makes a product more accessible. Use W3C’s Validator service to verify that code written is valid and compliant with specifications.
Begin your journey with these 5 things and it will be a great beginning.
Although it has always been observed as World Braille Day on 4th January, this year, it got true recognition as The United Nations has declared 4th January as International Braille Day.
World Braille Day is celebrated every year on January 4th because it is Louis Braille’s birthday, the inventor of braille! Louis was born in 1809 in France. He became blind after a childhood accident, and he quickly mastered his new way of living. When he was just 15 years old, he created the system we know today as braille, based on a system of writing developed by Charles Barbier. Over the years braille was tweaked to make it easier to read, and now it’s used the world over!
While Technology is an enabler, it is still important that children with blindness use Braille at the young age. Braille enable them to read with their fingers thus they could improve spellings. Learning spellings would not be practically easy if they do not read and use only audio as medium of perceiving information. For people with deaf-blindness, Braille is the only means of using technology. What is unique about Braille is that just with 6 dots, script is available in many languages world wide. There is a lot of advancement took place in the area of Braille. There are Braille printers which has ability to print large volumes of Braille in fraction of seconds.
Spread the word about Braille and Braille literacy.
Wishing you all a very happy and prosperous 2019. As always, I do hope new year brings in a lot of hope, good luck and success.
In 2019, I’m looking forward to co-host Bangalore Accessibility and Inclusive Design meet-up on every alternate month. Also, expand meet-up to at least one more place in India. Those of you would like to join hands and make this happen, do please reach out.
Next I would like to educate at least 12 (one in a month) non-profit organizations to understand the need of accessibility and how they could play a role from advocacy prospective.
Further I would like to share accessibility knowledge with at least 60 new developers to ensure they include accessibility as part of their development.
I would encourage each of you to spread accessibility love with a few people and together we could make a huge impact.
During January, 2018 – Inclusive STEM in partnership with International Association of Information Technology has hosted Inclusive STEM Hack-a-than. It has been a privilege to have been part of this event both as a mentor and judge. January has also witnessed grand win of Indian team won against Pakistan at World Cricket Cup for the Blind. Ola has stepped up their efforts to make their mobile app accessible to people with disabilities. It was also heartening to see recognition for Rajani Gopalakrishnan, who happens to be first women with blindness to become a chartered accountant. We have posted about all of these great things in January 2018.
In February, 2018 got an opportunity to present at 50p conference on Accessible Digital Payments. It was for the first time, got an opportunityto talk in the mainstream fin tech industry. opportunity to present about accessibility in mainstream events in the FinTech industry. The room was full for this talk and great to see fabulous pre-planning by HasGeek Team. The conference was well organized.
On March 4, 2018 The Pioneer in the disability sector and well known disability activist Shri. Javed Abidi has passed away. It was a huge loss for community of people with disabilities in India and many around the world. He has been instrumental for many disability related issues in India. It has been a blessing to know him a bit closely though I have not worked much with him directly. Post I have published to his memory.
May was huge, a lot of events took place around the world and great set of events took place in Bangalore. In fact, in Bangalore, GAAD was marked as a month long events. There was a competition for college students, an event for organizations working in the area of disability, a meet up was organized for developers and there was also a gala event. It was great to have Facebook accessibility team has joined us in Bangalore.
DAISY forum of India has released Simply reading app – an android app that enable users to connect directly with a few digital libraries for people with print impairment. Read our post on simply reading app to learn more. In the month of May, during Google I/O, accessibility team at Google has announced many new accessibility features on android.
On June 5, 2018 Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 has become official. In June, IRCTC has released next generation ticketing system and we have published an accessibility review of IRCTC new portal.
In December, 2018 hosted Dr. Ramana Polavarapu, Data scientist and VP of Goldman Sachs at my work place (Informatica) on the event of International Day of Persons with Disabilities. I also got an opportunity to witness Wheelchair Tennis Tournament; also addressed students at Sri Ramana Maharshi Academy for the Blind.