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Global Accessibility Awareness Day: beyond digital accessibility

It’s true that most of the events being planned to observe Global Accessibility Awareness Day are focused on digital accessibility. This is not because someone doesn’t like about other aspects. It is happening just due to most people who are involved or hosting GAAD are from technology background. There is no restriction to observe GAAD only in the area of digital space.

Here are a few ideas as to how GAAD can be observed in many other ways:

  1. Get your neighbours together and do analysis to see if your apartment / house / township is usable and accessible to people with disabilities and elderly. Is your elevator accessible to users with blindness? Is your common areas accessible to users with wheelchair? If you invite a guest with disability, can they stay with comfort at your house? Would you be able to help them using toilet?
  2. Go to nearby schools and have a conversation around how education is important and so is true for people with disabilities too. Most schools are reluctant to admit children with disabilities. Help them understand how technologies are evolved and come as aid to people with disabilities to learn science, maths, etc.,
  3. Visit nearby hospitals and do a talk about advancement life and technology and how they should advice when something cannot be cured with medical efforts.
  4. Talk to disability organizations around you and if needed, mentor them to understand real means of rehabilitation. I have seen scenarios where people at mid-age develops disability, they were asked to enrol for courses like chair caning, candle making etc., instead working towards putting them back into the area where client have worked for a long time. This needs to be changed.
  5. Talk to restaurants around you and help them to make their hotels and services accessible.

There would be many more ideas that one can look at.

Let’s think through!

Using WAVE – an Accessibility Evaluation tool by WebAIM – #GAADSeries

This is a guest post by Kameshwari Devi Kiran Kumar

This article briefly explanes how to use the WAVE tool to test accessibility for a website. There are primarily two methods of using the tool:

  1. Entering the URL of the website you would like to test into the ‘Webpage address’ textbox given for the purpose at

https://wave.webaim.org/

and hitting the ‘Wave’ button to see the results.

  1. Downloading the extension from the ‘Webaim’ site from the below URLs:

Chrome: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/wave-evaluation-tool/jbbplnpkjmmeebjpijfedlgcdilocofh

Firefox: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/wave-accessibility-tool/

 

Steps to download and use the tool:

  1. Go to the above URLs.
  2. Activate the ‘add to Chrome’ or ‘Add to Firefox’ button depending on the browser you are working with.
  3. Activate the ‘add to extensions’ button.
  4. Once the extension is added to Chrome / Firefox, open the webpage you would like to test and activate the ‘Wave’ button next to the browser address bar or press ‘Control+Shift+U(Command+Shift+U in case of MAC)’ to fetch the report.

Wave report and features:

The tool runs an accessibility check and displays icons representing the search results.

  1. The default results page shows you a summary in the sidebar. It lists errors (red icons), alerts (yellow icons), features (green icons), structural elements

(blue icons), HTML5 and ARIA elements (lavender icons), and contrast errors (which don’t show up as icons).

  1. Above the summary results are buttons to let you look at the page with no styles, or to view only the contrast errors.
  2. To the left of the summary panel, you can opt to see details, documentation,

or an outline of the page structure. On the right, where your web site is pictured, you can click on any icon to get a brief explanation and a link to more information.

  1. You can look at the code for the icons mention by clicking the ‘code’ tab at the bottom. The code panel shows you the code related to any icon you click on the page of WAVE tool results

 

Missing alternate text: GAAD count down!

To celebrate Global Accessibility Awareness Day, we will posting about common accessibility issues each day from today. Objective of this initiative is to let product owners know about how they are creating barriers to their users and how they can fix them. Let’s see how we could impact the world for this 6th edition of Global Accessibility Awareness Day.

To begin with, we will start with missing alternate text.

OK, what’s the alternate text anyway? Alternate text is information provided for as an alternative to images using <alt> attribute. Read our earlier post on “alt” – what, why, how and when? to learn more about alternate text.

We have tested a few websites from different segments and see how many of them are providing alternate text to images.

Government of India

  • Government of India Home page has one image without alternate text. Appears to be a subscribe button.
  • Supreme court of India home page has one image without alternate text. It’s a slider image
  • Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology also has a subscribe button similar to Government of India home page and this too does not have an alternate text
  • Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment has two images without alternate text

Telecom Service Providers

  • Bharath Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has 3 images without alternate text
  • Airtel home page has alternate text for all images
  • MTNL home page one image without alternate text
  • Vodafone home page has alternate text for all images

E-commerce portals

  • Flipkart home page does not have alternate text for a few images
  • Amazon.in displays several shapes which does not have alternate text
  • Tata Cliq has one logo image without alternate text
  • Olx.in has alternate text for all images

Travel

  • Indian Railway Catering and Ticketing Corporation (IRCTC) has 11 images without alternate text
  • Abhibus home page has 2 images without alternate text
  • Yatra.com has 8 images without alternate text
  • Cleartrip home page has 14 images without alternate text

OK, can we campaign to have these websites (and others) learn and fix issues related to alternate text by 17th May, 2018 which is Global Accessibility Awareness Day?

Short note: Why it’s important for promotional emails to be accessible and not text embedded into an image?

These days, almost every day, we will end up receiving an email about a promotional offer but quite often they are image based. If you are a user with vision impairment, you cannot read that email with a screen reader. If you are viewing that email on a mobile device, often, images does not get loaded or take a lot of time to load due to poor connectivity.

Today (though not really new), I have observed email applications specially GMail uses some sort of intelligence to filter if an email is spam, if it decides as spam, it doesn’t by default load images of that email. Here is a screenshot of a promotional email I have recently received and how GMail displays it:

Screenshot from GMail

This Screen short displays a warning from GMail saying that this email may be spam and hence images are not loaded. Though there is an option to load images, what if user is a beginner or someone who does not know such features. In this scenario, actually messaging is lost. Fabulous emails can be generated using HTML and not really just as embedded into an image.

Read The ultimate guide for accessible emails

Pioneer in disability sector Shri. Javed Abidi has passed away – great loss for entire disability sector

He was such a person who have strength to have a Minister chair an event and point out what he has not done in spite he has power to do so.

He was such a person who chose to work on untouched issues like policy and advocacy instead regular empowerment and welfare activities.

He was a person who promoted the philosophy of “Nothing about us without us”. He was one person who have dedicated life for improvement of lives across disabilities; not just a specific disability.

He was person who have led the movement to have Persons with Disabilities Act 1995 and The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016.

He was a person who has continued his hard work even when there was oppose from disability sector itself. He was a person who have been instrumental in sensitizing several corporates towards people with disabilities.

That was Shri. Javed Abidi who has passed away earlier today. This was untimely and shocking demise.

Shri. Javed Abidi (1965-2018)
Shri. Javed Abidi (1965-2018)

I know Shri. Javed Abidi for about 18 years. Have interacted with him through emails during my stint at The National Association for the Blind, Karnataka Branch and then later during my journey of accessibility.

I had a privilege to interact with him directly on multiple occasions on the subject of accessibility. He was such a person who never underestimate anyone and explore source of working together in everyone. I coordinate an informal group called Accessibility Enthusiasts in Bangalore. It was one day he invited us to discuss how we all can work together to spread awareness about accessibility.

In 2010, I have represented Yahoo! India along with Sandeep Datar to receive NCPEDP MphasiS Universal Design Award and in 2013, I was honoured with the same award at my personal capacity. Shri. Javed was instrumental in instituting many awards to recognise those who are doing wonderful work in the disability sector. Helen Keller Award and Universal Design Awards are a few among many other wonderful initiatives.

Srinivasu Chakravarthula receiving NCPEDP MphasiS Universal Design Award in 2013. Shri. Javed Abidi is seen in this picture.
Srinivasu Chakravarthula receiving NCPEDP MphasiS Universal Design Award in 2013. Shri. Javed Abidi is seen in this picture.

I was honoured when he said in one of our conversations where I wanted to recommend a company as potential accessibility service providers and have asked him what is the process to have them on-board, his response “Your word itself is enough”. That was how he trust people.

Perhaps this was his last interview; Thanks to Radio Udaan for having this done.

Disability sector has lost a true activist and replacement to Shri. Javed is close to impossible. We must continue his vision of “nothing about us without us” and his vision to have Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act gets enforced.

May the departed soul rest in peace. Miss you Shri. Javed.

One week of life with Android

Ah, it’s already one week. Summary is no regrets so far!

Yes, it’s already a week that I started using Android. Got a nice back cover from Amazon.in at a offer price of 329 INR but pretty cool in black and blue colour.

My initial problem of using SwiftKey keyboard and switched to Apple keyboard. But then my passion is also to write messages in regional language Telugu. For that, I have installed Google Indic Keyboard and that has given me satisfactory experience both for English and Telugu. I never enjoyed typing in Telugu on iOS.

Email is one of the taks I do prefer to use on mobile.With Honor’s native app, somehow I was not able to connect my mail accounts. I am not comfortable with GMail app interface (has poor color contrast). so I started using Microsoft Outlook for Android and this is slightly better but not perfect.

I have started using WhatsApp mostly on desktop web version than on mobile app; for the reason that I don’t like saving media to my phone. Unless iOS, android app doesn’t have an option not to save media but there is option to stop auto downloading of media.

It’s amazing to see that there is a lot of customization of look and feel in android. I have chosen Indian theme and it looks fabulous. May it be my perception, but I found display on android (at least on my HOnor view 10 phone) is brighter than on iOS.

Way to go!

Day 1 experience of switching to Android

I’ve been using iOS since 2010 (Thanks to Alan Brightman and Victor Tsaran while we were all at Yahoo!) and it has been an amazing experience. Though I’m not a full time screen reader user, I use a few features meant for people with low vision. Again, I am not big fan of using magnification software for the reason that they doesn’t let me skim-look easily. So I enlarge things I really want to see.

Recently I have decided to switch to Android for the reason to having interest in exploring all technologies. Here is my day 1 experience with Honor View 10.

  • Phone looks fabulous; not too small or bulky
  • Android operating system looks far more better than I have experienced before
  • Unboxing was easy. Initially we were not sure how to insert the SIM card but a video helped. Tip: we need to take out SIM tray completely.
  • Ability to turn off auto-brightness.
  • Still default keyboard is a bit unusable. For now, I have installed Apple keyboard
  • Able to download my favourite ringtone
  • Still need to find out how to completely turn off notifications and vibration
  • Perhaps due to increase in device size or whatever, I found Uber and Verizon Pulse apps more usable than on iOS
  • Ability to turn off notifications
  • Very easy to transfer data from existing phone; I still need to find out how to transfer messages without need fo installing an app

That’s all for now. But looks like android operating system has more matured from earlier and I may not feel regret of switching from Android phone. Let’s see how it goes.

WCAG 2.1 is now a candid recommendation

Accessibility Guidelines Working Group of W3C has published WCAG 2.1 as a candid recommendation (CR). Purpose of CR is to ensure that standard can be implemented. Results of this exercise will be made available on WCAG 2.1 Implementation report once it’s completed. Working group plans to complete this by June 2018.

What’s new in WCAG 2.1

Addresses more accessibility requirements of people with cognitive disabilities, people with low vision and improves accessibility of mobile. Features of WCAG 2.1 are:

WCAG 2.1 extends WCAG 2.0 by adding new success criteria, definitions to support them, guidelines to organize the additions, and a couple of additions to the conformance section. This additive approach helps to make it clear that sites which conform to WCAG 2.1 also conform to WCAG 2.0, thereby meeting conformance obligations that are specific to WCAG 2.0. The Accessibility Guidelines Working Group recommends that sites adopt WCAG 2.1 as their new conformance target, even if formal obligations mention WCAG 2.0, to provide improved accessibility and to anticipate future policy changes.

The following Success Criteria are new in WCAG 2.1:

Many of these success criteria reference new terms that have also been added to the glossary and form part of the normative requirements of the success criteria.

In the Conformance section, a third note about page variants has been added to Full Pages, and an option for machine-readable metadata added to Optional Components of a Conformance Claim.

What we should do

Apply WCAG 2.1 to our day-to-day work and report when a success criterion cannot be implemented. Do file an issue on Github or write to Chairs of Accessibility Guidelines Working Group.

Let’s do some exiting work! Sincere thanks to everyone involved in building accessibility standards.

Accessibility of Payments

This is a talk being presented at 50p Conference on 9th February 2018.

Slides

Below are the slides and full text will be made available soon.

Video

Full Text

Hello Everyone, My name is Srinivasu, I lead accessibility at Informatica. I’m also Founder of ServeOM Inclusion – a platform to raise awareness about accessibility. I love helping companies to set up accessibility practices. As part of this, I help a few companies such as Prakat Solutions, Amnet Systems etc., Not really a very active contributor but I follow developments of new accessibility standards being part of Accessibility Guidelines Working Group. I’m a certified Web Accessibility Specialist by International Association of Accessibility Professionals and associated with IAAP as an individual member.

In this session, we will be talking about currency, wallets, cards, POS machines, electronic transactions and accessibility for all of these.

I-STEM hackathon, Blind World Cricket Cup, Ola App, First women… a historic weekend!

January 20 & 21st 2018 remains historic. Series of amazing things took place in India. To begin with, Inclusive STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) – a forum of a few individuals with disabilities who are graduated / studying at IITs, IIITs etc., have organised an unique hackathon where participants consist of coders of both mainstream and visually impaired. It was hosted by International Institute of Information Technology, co-organized by VisionEmpower, Vision Aid, XRCVC. There were 12 teams who have worked on fantastic ideas including detecting and narrating objects around you, Currency identifier cum cash management wallet, game similar to snake and ladder (which can be played by mainstream and visually impaired people together) etc.,

Indian defeated Pakistan in the Blind Cricket World Cup. Celebration took placer all over social media and it was amazing to see appreciation from almost everyone in the country including the Prime Minister, BCCI, etc., Now there is no reason for BCCI not to recognize and support Cricket Association of the Blind in India and Blind Cricket as a sport.

A friend of us have reported Ola cabs app has now became more accessihble and a visually impaired user could be able to use it independently.

There was a recognition for women who have happened to be first in their field. Glad to see Rajani Gopalakrishna from Bangalore, who happened to be first blind women to become Chartered accountant.

In the other news, it is noticed, Government of India is taking initiative to make their websites more accessible.

Way to go!

Judges panel at I-STEM Hackathon consist of George, Srinivasu and Prof. Srikanth
Judges panel at I-STEM Hackathon consist of George, Srinivasu and Prof. Srikanth