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We write about Digital Accessibility. This includes topics related accessibility news, accessibility events, accessibility techniques, reviews of websites and applications, tips related to accessibility and in simple words all possible things about digital accessibility.

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Disability

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.

AirAsia provides reasonable accommodation; what can they do better?

Last weekend, we did a quick round trip to Hyderabad from Bangalore on Air Asia; here is our expereince as a family with 2 children and both of us having some disability (Hema has problem with her right hand and I’m a person with low vision).

Check-in counter staff both in Bangalore and Hyderabad are sensitive enough and arranged a personnel to assist us. However, they are not sensitized towards how and why they should be assisting us. That person was just walking ahead of us and once we found it difficult to trace him. AirAsia have announced a priority boarding but that sequence was not maintained after boarding the transit bus.

Stairs to board the aircraft are a bit strange, they are strong but some stairs are too high. It was tough for Hema to climb with an infant. When we have tweeted to Air Asia with this information, received a casual response stating “Hi there, sorry, you may contact the ground staff”; but no mention that they would look into this matter and improve accessibility of boarding. Even personnel who have escorted us to the gate did not inform staff at the boarding gate that we would need assistance. While returning from Hyderabad, check-in counter staff has mentioned, there will be someone at the boarding gate who can asist; but we could found none.

Also, we found no personnel at the ground on arrival. Overall, Air Asia seem to have “assistance” as a checklist item but training of the personnel is due.

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

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

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

Here are a few things that needs attention:

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

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

Accessibility Review: Jobs for People with Disabilities portal by Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India

Noticed that Department of Disability Affairs, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India has launched Job Portal for people with disabilities; which would aim to become a great portal for job seekers with disabilities, employers and training institutes. This is certainly a great initiative although I personally prefer to embed people with disabilities with mainstream job portal but this initiative certainly helps.

As an accessibility enthusiast, I wanted to look up the portal from accessibility prospective and below are my findings. Though I’m disturbed to see claim that this website is complied with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level AA; while it’s actually not. That said, I hope department will work with their developers and get the issues fixed.

Disclaimer:

  1. This post is not to criticize the Government but to help ministry and developer know the problem and help them fix issues thus to make portal fully accessible.
  2. This is not a complete accessibility report; this review can be used only as a reference
  3. If visitors of this website notice any other issues related to accessibility or usability may please add them in the comments section or write directly to the ministry

Accessibility Assessment Findigns

  1. Page title is inappropriate. Home page has “Index” as page title
  2. Buttons provided for “small text, medium text and large text” does not convey it’s purpose
  3. Color scheme buttons does not have accessibel name; also visual indication is not clear to identify expected color scheme.
  4. When navigating through color schemes, screen reader reads for one tab stop as “www.disabilityjobs.gov.in “> and next next tab stop says “button link”
  5. Login button does not have an accessible name
  6. Login button does not have visible focus indicator
  7. Placeholder text is provided as labels for “Enter email ID to register” and “Type password”; it’s not recommended to use placeholder as label for form elements.
  8. Full “I agree to the terms and conditions” needs to be associated with check box.
  9. Check box “I agree to the terms and conditions” does not have visible focus indicator.
  10. Register button does not have accessible name
  11. Register button does not have visible focus indicator
  12. All form fields in Search jobs widget have placeholder as form labels and thus label goes away when user inserts data.
  13. Search button does not have accessible name
  14. Deprecated mark-up of marque is used for “No Payment to be made by applicant to any agency or employee.If someone ask for registration fee or any other cost please immediately bring to NHFDC notice”
  15. Tab panel for Search jobs, Recruiter and Training institutes is not operable using keyboard
  16. Location field (in all tabs) brings up a list of locations with checkboxes but not notified to screen reader and operable only after using a tab key from location field; futher there is no mechanism to dismiss this list before navigating through all location options. Notice Andaman and Nicobar has given as two seperate states!
  17. Image link “Accessible India Campaign” (located between Create a job account and Join our employer” is not accessible using keyboard.
  18. There is a button available to show / hide social media links (Facebook and Twitter) and same does not have an accessible name.
  19. Photo gallery is not accessible using keyboard
  20. There is no mechanism to pause / stop news scrolling.

For any further questions or clarifications of this post, please write to me at srinivasu.c(at)sgaccessibility(dot)com