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Building Accessible Websites using WordPress – #ID24 Talk

Tomorrow (11th October, 2018) at 11:30am (Indian Standard Time – GMT+5:30), I’ll be speaking at Inclusive Design 24 and the topic is “Building Accessible Websites using WordPress”. While we are currently discussing about accessibility issue with new editor of wordpress, platform is still better from accessibility prospective and I’m sure accessibility issues for the editor would go away soon. 

Here is how you can join my talk:

If you are in attending Intuit Accessibility Summit in Bangalore, you will join this talk in person. 

Look forward to a great event tomorrow. 

New Success Criterion in WCAG 2.1: 2.5.1 Pointer Gestures (Level A)

Success Criterion 2.5.1: 2.5.1 Pointer Gestures (Level A): All functionality that uses multipoint or path-based gestures for operation can be operated with a single pointer without a path-based gesture, unless a multipoint or path-based gesture is essential.

With increase in touch devices, method of pointer gestures have become quite common. It has also become popular when users can use diverse range of gestures. 

Let’s take an example of a news app; by use of pinch, user can zoom in and zoom out the text. However, when user does not have ability to pinch, there should be alternate method of achieving the same functionality. Perhaps by using Zoom-in and Zoom-out buttons or with an option in app settings. 

That said, this success criterion does not to apply to functionality provided for the operating systems – such as swiping down to bring notification menu or functionality provided in assistive technologies; such as talk back (screen reader on Android) has its own gestures for ease of use. 

Another exception is where path based gesture is a mandatory such as drawing a signature. 

How to test?

Identify if a functionality requires use of path based gesture such as swiping, dragging or drawing. One of the examples would be “Place an order” element on Amazon app where user requires to swipe from left to right to complete the order. Another example would be zoom-in or zoom-out on maps. 

Prioritising Accessibility issues

I was recently asked by a friend if there are any standard rules to set priority for accessibility issues for a website and that triggered me write-in this piece. 

In general, for an accessibility tester and when we read failure statements, everything sounds important, but it’s essential to prioritize issues since not all of the issues could be addressed one go; It’s fair for product managers to prioritise the effort. 

Why is it important to prioritise?

If we do not prioritise at the time of testing, we will be either asked to do it at a later stage or product team has to work on prioritising. If product team prioritise without consultation of accessibility team, chances are more for misinterpretation of what is important and what’s not from accessibility prospective. Prioritising is important because developers may not be able to address all of the issues at one go. 

How to set priority?

To begin with, leverage of “Levels” defined in Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 since they are set as Level A (minimum), Level AA (should be achieved) and Level AAA (maximum level of compliance). This could be first consideration. 

Next consideration should be importance of the feature. This needs to be decided in consultation with business owners. Let’s if issues falls under WCAG’s Level AA but feature is very important and/or frequently used, then it should be flagged as high priority. If an issue falls under WCAG’s Level A but doesn’t really bother user’s usability, then it’s priority can be set to moderate. 

Another consideration should be effort needed to fix. Specially when accessibility practice is new in the organisation, it would be worth to have developers fix easy things first; that gives them an opportunity to taste the benefits of writing accessible code and provide them enough time to understand ways to write accessible code. Getting started with easy things will provide developers a sense of encouragement.  

In conclusion, it’s essential to prioritise Accessibility issues and should be in-line with business priorities. 

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 is now official

On 5th June, 2018 Web Accessibilty Initiative of World Wide Web Consortium has announced that Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 has become official recommendation as standard. There has been tremendous efforts by Accessibility Guidelines Working Group which includes task forces for Cognitive, Low Vision and Mobile users. This is an evolution of W3C’s accessibility guidance, including expansion of mobile, low vision, and cognitive and learning provisions. It maintains W3C’s accessibility guidance, while maintaining W3C’s standard of implementable, technology neutral, objectively testable and universally applicable accessibility guidance.

New Support in WCAG 2.1

For users of mobile devices, WCAG 2.1 provides updated guidance including support for user interactions using touch, handling more complex gestures, and for avoiding unintended activation of an interface. For users with low vision, WCAG 2.1 extends contrast requirements to graphics, and introduces new requirements for text and layout customization to support better visual perception of web content and controls. For users with cognitive, language, and learning disabilities, WCAG 2.1 improvements include a requirement to provide information about the specific purpose of input controls, as well as additional requirements to support timeouts due to inactivity. This can help many users better understand web content and how to successfully interact with it.

As with WCAG 2.0, following these guidelines will continue to make content more accessible to a wider range of people with disabilities, including blindness and low vision, deafness and hearing loss, limited movement, speech disabilities, photosensitivity, and learning disabilities and cognitive limitations. Following these guidelines can also make websites more usable for all users.

Read the complete blog post by Andrew and Micheal on W3C Blog

Here are list of New Success Criterions in WCAG 2.1

Guideline 1.3 Adaptable

Create content that can be presented in different ways (for example simpler layout) without losing information or structure.

1.3.4 Orientation (Level AA)

Content does not restrict its view and operation to a single display orientation, such as portrait or landscape, unless a specific display orientation is essential.

Comic with cerebral palsy who uses a wheelchair:

  • Problem:I can’t rotate my tablet — it’s attached to my wheelchair.
  • Works well:The application works whether I attach my tablet horizontally or vertically.

Understanding Orientation

1.3.5 Identify Input Purpose (AA)

The purpose of each input field collecting information about the user can be programmatically determined when:

Supermarket assistant with dyslexia and dyscalculia:

  • Problem:My address is so complicated. There’s lots of numbers and long words. It’s hard to type it all without making mistakes.
  • Works well:I love websites that can automatically fill it all in for me. Then I don’t have to work so hard to get the numbers and spelling right.
    Note: This works because the fields use autocomplete.

Understanding Identify Input Purpose

1.3.6 Identify Purpose (AAA)

In content implemented using markup languages, the purpose of User Interface Components, icons, and regionscan be programmatically determined.

Gamer with language processing disability:

  • Problem:I have software that changes the words in the navigation into symbols. It doesn’t work at all with some websites.
  • Works well:It works pretty good with some websites.

Understanding Identify Purpose

Guideline 1.4 Distinguishable

Make it easier for users to see and hear content including separating foreground from background.

1.4.10 Reflow (AA)

Content can be presented without loss of information or functionality, and without requiring scrolling in two dimensions for:

  • Vertical scrolling content at a width equivalent to 320 CSS pixels;
  • Horizontal scrolling content at a height equivalent to 256 CSS pixels;

Except for parts of the content which require two-dimensional layout for usage or meaning.

Parent with low vision – 20/400:

  • Problem:It’s nearly impossible to read text if I have to scroll right and left to read each line. It’s disorienting and I lose my place. It makes it hard to understand what I’m reading.
  • Works well:I increase the text size 400% and it reflowed within the width of the window. I can read it easily without scrolling back and forth.

Understanding Reflow

1.4.11 Non-Text Contrast (AA)

The visual presentation of the following have a contrast ratio of at least 3:1 against adjacent color(s):

User Interface Components
Visual information used to indicate states and boundaries of user interface components, except for inactive components or where the appearance of the component is determined by the user agent and not modified by the author;
Graphical Objects
Parts of graphics required to understand the content, except when a particular presentation of graphics is essential to the information being conveyed.

Retiree with low contrast sensitivity:

  • Problem:I couldn’t use the “Order Form” — there were no text boxes. After a long call with customer service, I learned there were text box borders that were too light for me to see.
  • Works well:It’s easy for me to see all the icons and buttons and everything — even in the sunlight.

Understanding Non-text Contrast

1.4.12 Text Spacing (AA)

In content implemented using markup languages that support the following text style properties, no loss of content or functionality occurs by setting all of the following and by changing no other style property:

  • Line height (line spacing) to at least 1.5 times the font size;
  • Spacing following paragraphs to at least 2 times the font size;
  • Letter spacing (tracking) to at least 0.12 times the font size;
  • Word spacing to at least 0.16 times the font size.

Exception: Human languages and scripts that do not make use of one or more of these text style properties in written text can conform using only the properties that exist for that combination of language and script.

Student with dyslexia:
and Retiree with low vision:

  • Problem:Most text is hard to read. It’s so cluttered I can’t keep my focus. Just increasing the space between lines makes all the difference. When I’m really tired, I also increase the space between words.
  • Works well:OK, I know I’m a bit of a geek, but I’ve perfected a user style sheet to make text spacing just right for me. It’s a relief when websites work with my CSS.

Understanding Text Spacing

1.4.13 Content on Hover or Focus (AA)

Where receiving and then removing pointer hover or keyboard focus triggers additional content to become visible and then hidden, the following are true:

Dismissable
mechanism is available to dismiss the additional content without moving pointer hover or keyboard focus, unless the additional content communicates an input error or does not obscure or replace other content;
Hoverable
If pointer hover can trigger the additional content, then the pointer can be moved over the additional content without the additional content disappearing;
Persistent
The additional content remains visible until the hover or focus trigger is removed, the user dismisses it, or its information is no longer valid.

Exception: The visual presentation of the additional content is controlled by the user agent and is not modified by the author.

Teacher with low vision who uses screen magnification software:

  • Problem:I was moving my mouse around to track what I was looking at on a web page. It helps me keep focused. Then -boom- this little box popped up. It covered what I was trying to read and I couldn’t get it to go away.
  • Works well:I hovered over a word and a box popped up with the definition, but it was mostly off the screen with my magnification. I moved my mouse pointer to the definition box and scrolled the magnified area over to the definition box and it stayed popped up so I could read it.

Understanding Content on Hover or Focus

Guideline 2.1 Keyboard Accessible

Make all functionality available from a keyboard.

2.1.4 Character Key Shortcuts (A)

If a keyboard shortcut is implemented in content using only letter (including upper- and lower-case letters), punctuation, number, or symbol characters, then at least one of the following is true:

Turn off
mechanism is available to turn the shortcut off;
Remap
A mechanism is available to remap the shortcut to use one or more non-printable keyboard characters (e.g. Ctrl, Alt, etc).
Active only on focus
The keyboard shortcut for a user interface component is only active when that component has focus.

Reporter with repetitive stress injury who uses voice recognition software:

  • Problem:When I was using my mail app with voice commands, it kept deleting the messages instead of opening them.
    Note: There was a shortcut key for delete that was triggered by something he was saying, and no way to turn off the shortcut keys.
  • Works well:In my spreadsheet application, there’s a setting to turn off or modify character key shortcuts.

Understanding Character Key Shortcuts

Guideline 2.2 Enough Time

Provide users enough time to read and use content.

2.2.6 Timeouts (AAA)

Users are warned of the duration of any user inactivity that could cause data loss, unless the data is preserved for more than 20 hours when the user does not take any actions.

School playground aide with cognitive disabilities:

  • Problem:I was selecting my Employee Benefits and was comparing the different plans. When I went back to select the Health Plan, it had timed out and lost all the information I had already entered.
  • Works well:When I started the Employee Benefits app, it told me how many minutes I had to complete the forms.

Understanding Timeouts

Guideline 2.3 Seizures and Physical Reactions

Do not design content in a way that is known to cause seizures or physical reactions.

2.3.3 Animation from Interactions (AAA)

Motion animation triggered by interaction can be disabled, unless the animation is essential to the functionality or the information being conveyed.

Artist with vestibular disorder:

  • Problem:In the online tax app, as I move my mouse around or tab to different fields, this little bubble with the current balance follows me around the screen. Makes me dizzy and nauseous.
  • Works well:I was so glad there was an option to turn off animations.

Understanding Animation from Interactions

Guideline 2.5 Input Modalities

Make it easier for users to operate functionality through various inputs beyond keyboard.

2.5.1 Pointer Gestures (A)

All functionality that uses multipoint or path-based gestures for operation can be operated with a single pointerwithout a path-based gesture, unless a multipoint or path-based gesture is essential.

Comic with cerebral palsy who has limited movement in fingers:

  • Problem:I can’t move my fingers like that. I need another way to zoom in the map.
  • Works well:Good thing there are buttons to zoom in and out.

Understanding Pointer Gestures

2.5.2 Pointer Cancellation (A)

For functionality that can be operated using a single pointer, at least one of the following is true:

No Down-Event
The down-event of the pointer is not used to execute any part of the function;
Abort or Undo
Completion of the function is on the up-event, and a mechanism is available to abort the function before completion or to undo the function after completion;
Up Reversal
The up-event reverses any outcome of the preceding down-event;
Essential
Completing the function on the down-event is essential.

Politician with motor disabilities and low vision:

  • Problem:I went to hit the “Mute” button and accidentally touched the “End Call” button instead. It hung up immediately.
  • Works well:In another web conferencing application, if I accidentally touch the “End Call” button, I can just slide my finger off the “End Call” button and it won’t end the call.

Understanding Pointer Cancellation

2.5.3 Label in Name (A)

For user interface components with labels that include text or images of text, the name contains the text that is presented visually.

Reporter with repetitive stress injury who uses voice recognition software:

  • Problem:It understood most of my voice commands until I got to the Send button. I kept saying ‘Send’ and it didn’t work.
    Note: It was visually labelled ‘send’ but the ‘name’ in the code was ‘submit’. It would have worked if the ‘name’ started with ‘send’.

Understanding Label in Name

2.5.4 Motion Actuation (A)

Functionality that can be operated by device motion or user motion can also be operated by user interface components and responding to the motion can be disabled to prevent accidental actuation, except when:

Supported Interface
The motion is used to operate functionality through an accessibility supported interface;
Essential
The motion is essential for the function and doing so would invalidate the activity.

Comic with cerebral palsy who uses a wheelchair:

  • Problem:I can’t shake my phone; it’s connected to my wheelchair. So there needs to be another way to activate that feature, like a button.
  • Problem:I have tremors, so I need to turn off motion activation — and then be able to do stuff without motion actuation.
  • Works well:My friend has this cool application that looks like a physical spin lock. She rotates the phone to turn to the combination. I can use the same application by typing the numbers directly.

Understanding Motion Actuation

2.5.5 Target Size (AAA)

The size of the target for pointer inputs is at least 44 by 44 CSS pixels except when:

Equivalent
The target is available through an equivalent link or control on the same page that is at least 44 by 44 CSS pixels;
Inline
The target is in a sentence or block of text;
User Agent Control
The size of the target is determined by the user agent and is not modified by the author;
Essential
A particular presentation of the target is essential to the information being conveyed.

Retiree with hand tremor (and big fingers):

  • Problem:The buttons are so small, I hit “Cancel” when going for “Submit”. Then I have to start all over again.
  • Works well:This website buttons are big enough that I don’t hit the wrong button even when I’m riding on the bumpy bus.

Understanding Target Size

2.5.6 Concurrent Input Mechanisms (AAA)

Web content does not restrict use of input modalities available on a platform except where the restriction is essential, required to ensure the security of the content, or required to respect user settings.

Reporter with repetitive stress injury who uses voice recognition software:

  • Problem:When my RSI acts up, I switch back and forth a lot between keyboard, mouse, stylus, voice. This application doesn’t let me use the stylus when I have a keyboard plugged in.

Understanding Concurrent Input Mechanisms

Guideline 4.1 Compatible

Maximize compatibility with current and future user agents, including assistive technologies.

4.1.3 Status Messages (AA)

In content implemented using markup languages, status messages can be programmatically determined through role or properties such that they can be presented to the user by assistive technologies without receiving focus.

Accountant who is blind and uses a screen reader:

  • Problem:I selected a class for the conference, but I can’t tell if it got added to my schedule.
  • Works well:When I add a meeting to my calendar, I hear a confirmation.

Understanding Status Messages

Above details are reproduced from What’s new in WCAG 2.1 on WAI Website.

ServeOM Inclusion will be happy to assist community in understanding WCAG 2.1, testing products against WCAG 2.1. Do contact us to have a conversation.

Gratitude to everyone involved in building these standards.

Tips to make your website more accessible

This is a guest post by Jackie Edwards.

Tips for accessibility

All websites need to cater to all of their users, including those with disabilities, but sadly many websites do not. For instance, in India all government websites are required to follow guidelines that ensure that the websites are accessible to everyone, but a survey of over 1,000 websites found that less than 1% of the websites actually meet the requirements.

This shows that there is an issue with how accessible websites are in India – and the issue is preventing millions of disabled people in India from having a simple online experience. Thankfully it is easier than you may think to improve website accessibility.

Here are four tips to make your website more accessible.

Use periods when you are abbreviating

There are over 10 million people in India with a visual impairment disability, and many of them use screen readers to read out text on websites. However, this can cause problems if you don’t put periods in the right place as the screen reader won’t read the text properly; for instance, if you write FBI instead of F.B.I the text will be read out as “fbi”.

Use subtitles and sign language interpreters

If your website includes videos, you should add sign language interpreters or subtitles to improve website accessibility. After all, there is an estimated deaf population of between 1.8 million and 7 million people in India, so if you don’t include subtitles you could exclude a significant chunk of your audience.

Label images

You should also add labels to your images to make it easier for the visually impaired to use your website. Many people who are visually impaired use assistive technology to help them decipher websites, but this can be difficult if you don’t include labels on your images as the technology can’t ‘read’ the image. If you provide a label describing the image the technology will be able to read that to the user, making it possible for them to enjoy the multimedia aspects of your website as well as the text.

Be aware of your audience

You also need to be aware of your audience if you want to make a more accessible website. There are a range of disabilities, from hearing impairments to cognitive impairments, and it is important to address each issue so that you can provide a useful service.

There is certainly pressure in India for ‘digital India’ to grow and progress, but there are still thousands of Indian websites that are not accessible for people with disabilities. Don’t get left behind – join the movement to make your website more accessible and progressive.

Re-building website on wordpress? Checklist to consider!

As you may have noticed, for a few weeks, there have been frequent changes in the design and features on our website. Yes, we have been working on to give a new look to ServeOM Inclusion’s website; and we want to continue using WordPress as our favorite authoring tool!

We love WordPress because of it’s robust, accessible and simple administrative interface. WordPress at one time was just known as a blogging platform but today, WordPress offers a lot of rich tools to build a powerful website.

When we thought of re-building our website, we have a few requirements in mind that includes:

  • Accessibility
  • Good user experience
  • Decent color combinations with good contrast
  • Professional look and feel
  • Member area pages
  • Video gallaries
  • Social integration

First thing was to choose right theme. Explored many themes but most of them including those are accessibility ready have one common problem that sub menus get expanded automatically on focus to the menu; which we did not want to happen. We have tried hard to re-engineer those menus but found it difficult. Finally Bizwhoop is one theme we found suitable to our requirements. But this free theme has limitation in choosing colors and we don’t feel comfortable with Red. Then we have decided to purchase Bizwhoop Pro. Challenge was they accept payment only via PayPal and PayPal requires to show payments in Indian rupees for customers purchasing from India. However, have received an email from their support team with an option to transfer money to their Indian account. Soon after the payment, they have sent link to download the theme. This theme is great and worth purchasing.

Here are list of things we have customised for better usability.

  • We believe content should not be displayed in uppercase letters; so we have changed <text-transform> to “none” from “uppercase”. Read UX Movement article on all caps hard for users to read
  • We believe focus indicator should be visible to users; so we have changed <outline> from “none” to “dotted”
  • We found content text colour is gray and doesn’t go well with white background; so we have changed that using the additional CSS
  • We have added WP Accessibility plugin to make the theme more accessible. But we have intentionally not chosen to have font resize and display settings
  • We have used Page restrict plugin to make a few pages visible only to registered members. Objective of using this feature is to know our users better so that we can provide better content
  • We have noticed by default theme displays only post title and featured image (if available) and not the excerpt. We had to add a php code directly into the raw file from our cPanel. Unfortunately, we haven’t found an option to change in the theme itself.

We are still exploring options to include better help desk feature for this site. Stay tuned.

Special thanks to Narsing Rao Bongurala for helping us through this journey of re-building this website. He is highly potential graphic and web designer. What we found great about him is his willingness to explore technologies and fix any complex problem. We highly recommend him to anyone who may need such services. Thanks again, Narsing.

More things to come into website in the days to come.

Chrome Extensions to improve browsing experience

I was looking out for how Google Chrome can be used efficiently and during my search, came across interesting extensions to improve experience of browsing on Google Chrome. These extensions can be found on Chrome Extensions Web Store. Some of the extensions are:

  • High Contrast: Change or revert colour schemes to make the page easy to read
  • Long Description: Right click on any element that may have “longdesc” or “aria-describedat” to access the long description.
  • Caret browsing: Enable user to access the text of web page using arrow keys
  • Colour Enhancer: Applies customised colours to web page for enhance visibility
  • Notebook web clipper: This will remove all clutter and have content saved to notepad.

Kudos to Google Accessibility Team and Zohoo (for last one) for making these available.

<alt> Campaign: Let’s make images on the web accessible

Authors note: This is re-published post due to an unavoidable technical issue.

A picture speaks several words. Use of images over the internet is increasing everyday. It’s essential they are make accessible to all users and technologies. Benefits of making images accessible are:

  • Information conveyed through images is made available to blind and visually impaired users
  • Information is made available to those users who turns off images in the browser
  • Information is made available to those users who may not be able to load images due to poor connectivity
  • Search engines cannot read images; no matter how beautiful those images are

Today images are used on the websites, social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram, blogs and almost every platform over the internet. These images carry a lot of information; hence it’s important to make these images accessible.
Here is what 1.1.1 Non-text content talks about:

1.1.1 Non-text Content: All non-text content that is presented to the user has a text alternative that serves the equivalent purpose. (Level A)

If images do not have alternate text, screen readers often try and read associated text based information such as path of image file or link destination if image is a hyperlinked. A few things to be kept in mind about alternate text:

  • Alternate text must be meaningful
  • Alternate text should not be too long. If information needs to be described in length, then one should use <longdesc> attribute must be used
  • Background images should be used only for decorative purpose; if those images are informative, then those images must be brought to foreground and provide appropriate <alt> attribute
  • Decorative images must be provided with emplty alt attribute – i.e. <alt=””>

Through this next one month, let’s practice and propagate the following:

  • If we find images on any website, let’s write to those companies and have them fix it
  • If you are a web developer / website owner, identify images on your website / app, fix if they do not have alternate text
  • Let’s avoid posting text embedded on to an image
  • Whatever we post on social media such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter etc., let’s be sure to add text description

If you have fixed something to this effect or if you are able to convince someone doing it, leave a comment here to acknowledge the effort.

Let’s make images accessible!

Compilation of ICT Standards

As per request from a colleague in the accessibility space, I have compiled below ICT standards. If something is missing, please add via comments and will be happy to add them to my list.

  1. WCAG Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) is developed through the W3C process in cooperation with individuals and organizations around the world, with a goal of proving a single shared standard for web content accessibility that meets the needs of individuals, organizations, and governments internationally. Currently recommendation is WCAG 2.0 and a public working draft of WCAG 2.1 has been published in February 2017. https://www.w3.org/WAI/intro/wcag
  2. ATAG Authoring tools are software and services that “authors” (web developers, designers, writers, etc.) use to produce web content (static web pages, dynamic web applications, etc.). Examples of authoring tools are listed below under “Who ATAG is for“. https://www.w3.org/WAI/intro/atag
  3. UAAG The User Agent Accessibility Guidelines (UAAG) documents explain how to make user agents accessible to people with disabilities. User agents include browsers, browser extensions, media players, readers and other applications that render web content. Some accessibility needs are better met in the browser than in the web content, such as text customization, preferences, and user interface accessibility. A user agent that follows UAAG 2.0 will improve accessibility through its own user interface and its ability to communicate with other technologies, including assistive technologies (software that some people with disabilities use to meet their requirements). All users, not just users with disabilities, will benefit from user agents that follow UAAG 2.0. https://www.w3.org/WAI/intro/uaag
  4. WAI – ARIA WAI-ARIA, the Accessible Rich Internet Applications Suite, defines a way to make Web content and Web applications more accessible to people with disabilities. It especially helps with dynamic content and advanced user interface controls developed with Ajax, HTML, JavaScript, and related technologies. Currently certain functionality used in Web sites is not available to some users with disabilities, especially people who rely on screen readers and people who cannot use a mouse. WAI-ARIA addresses these accessibility challenges, for example, by defining new ways for functionality to be provided to assistive technology. With WAI-ARIA, developers can make advanced Web applications accessible and usable to people with disabilities. https://www.w3.org/WAI/intro/aria
  5. IndieUI https://www.w3.org/WAI/intro/indieui
  6. New Section 508 of Rehabilitations Act (US) On January 18, 2017 the Access Board issued a final rule that updates accessibility requirements for information and communication technology (ICT) in the federal sector covered by Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. The rule also refreshes guidelines for telecommunications equipment subject to Section 255 of the Communications Act. The rule jointly updates and reorganizes the Section 508 standards and Section 255 guidelines in response to market trends and innovations, such as the convergence of technologies. The refresh also harmonizes these requirements with other guidelines and standards both in the U.S. and abroad, including standards issued by the European Commission and with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), a globally recognized voluntary consensus standard for web content and ICT. In fact, the rule references Level A and Level AA Success Criteria and Conformance Requirements in WCAG 2.0 (link is external) and applies them not only to websites, but also to electronic documents and software. For more information, the Access Board has published an Overview of the Final Rule. Over the next several months, the US Access Board, in partnership with the General Services Administration, will provide guidance on the standards and on how to implement them within the federal government. This guidance will be published on the Section508.gov website when available. https://section508.gov/content/learn/laws-and-policies
  7. Article 9 of UNCRPD To enable persons with disabilities to live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life, States Parties shall take appropriate measures to ensure to persons with disabilities access, on an equal basis with others, to the physical environment, to transportation, to information and communications, including information and communications technologies and systems, and to other facilities and services open or provided to the public, both in urban and in rural areas. https://www.un.org/development/desa/disabilities/convention-on-the-rights-of-persons-with-disabilities/article-9-accessibility.html
  8. ePub 3 Guidelines: This guide is a complement the EPUB Accessibility specification and techniques. It provides additional explanation of accessible markup practices primarily to help publishers understand the requirements to meet WCAG 2.0 Success Criterion 1.3.1. Other topics, such as scripted interactivity and media overlays are also covered. https://idpf.github.io/a11y-guidelines/
  9. Accessible ICT Procurement Standard, Australia The Australian Public Service is committed to employing people with disability and creating inclusive work environments that reflect the diversity of the Australian community. To do so we need to ensure the ICT goods and services we buy are accessible for all employees.  https://www.finance.gov.au/blog/2016/09/09/Accessibility-ICT-Procurement-Standard/
  10. European ICT Accessibility Procurement Standard http://mandate376.standards.eu/standard
  11. US: Buy Accessible ICT Agencies are responsible for Section 508 compliance when they acquire ICT products and services. This is generally a shared responsibility between the Requiring Authority and the Contracting Office throughout the acquisition process. Appropriate Section 508 compliance depends upon the particular procurement method and acquisition procedures. https://www.section508.gov/content/buy
  12. Accessible Technology – a nice article on PEAT Works https://www.peatworks.org/content/accessible-technology-it-starts-procurement
  13. Mobile Accessibility “Mobile accessibility” refers to making websites and applications more accessible to people with disabilities when they are using mobile phones and other devices. WAI’s work in this area addresses accessibility issues of people using a broad range of devices to interact with the web: phones, tablets, TVs, and more. https://www.w3.org/WAI/mobile/

 

CAPTCHA on some portals

In the interest of security, CAPTCHA is still commonly used on several portals. Earlier CAPTCHA used to be seen on lengthy forms that collects critical data; but today we see CAPTCHA on login forms too. We have recently asked community to tell us their experience in dealing with CAPTCHA and below is a table that shows portal name, if CAPTCHA has an alternative, if yes, is that usable?

CAPTCHA Survey Results
Name of the portal Is there an alternative to CAPTCHA? User’s experience with alternative
LIC Housing Customer Login No No alternative provided
LIC India No This site has a question based CAPTCHA; it would be difficult for users with cognitive disabilities; hence alternatives should be provided
IRCTC Yes Login screen has option to request a one time password; but CAPTCHA present during ticket booking does not have an alternative
Income Tax India eFiling Yes There is an audio based CAPTCHA as well as a provision to opt an one time password
BSES Delhi No No alternative provided
Vijaya Bank Login No No alternative provided
India Post tracking No No alternative provided
EPFO Login No No alternative provided
Central Record Keeping System of NSDL No No alternative found

Thanks to everyone who has responded to me over social media and through Access India mailing list. Now let’s touch base with each one of the website owners and get best solution for CAPTCHA implemented.