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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?

Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) – a recap of celebrations in India

Wow, this year’s Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) was bigger than ever before; so it is difficult for me to write full recap in one post; hence this post focuses on what has happened in India and next post will talk about events around the world.

My day started off with event at PayPal India. It’s great to have spoken at an office that I worked earlier. It’s amazing to see some of the initiatives that I have started at PayPal India like Accessibility session for new hires, Accessibility Showcase are continued. Phani, Director of Payment products welcomed the gathering; he has done a good research on accessibility for his talk. Then I spoke about Accessibility of Digital Payments. Then Nawaz Khan of PayPal spoke about JavaScript and Accessibility of other frameworks. Post that Prakash of PayPal has spoken about design for accessibility. Whole event was amazingly moderated by my good friend Shalini Subramanian of PayPal. It was great to meet a lot of old colleagues. Appreciciate PayPal for taking the momentum forward.

Then we have proceeded to NIMHANS Convention Centre to participate in Global Accessibility Awareness day hosted by Prakat Solutions, CIS and Mitra Jyothi sponsored by Informatica and a few others. Event started off with a developer workshop by Nawaz Khan of PayPal, followed by panel discussion around impact of accessible websites and apps, how organizations can play a role. Event has also seen a few cultural events, stories of people as how accessibility and technology ha played a role, event has concluded with a presentation from Sean Murphy on Accessibility at Cisco.

Other events took place in India were Aubergine Solutions Pvt Ltd of Ahmadabad has hosted a workshop on Basics of Web Accessibility. Deque India has hosted a GAAD event at Hyderabad in partnership with NASSCOM Foundation. Radio Udaan has hosted a panel discussion on accessibility that talked about not only digital things but also other areas. BarrierBreak has released a CSS Accessibility Checker.

Here is my playlist of Global Accessibility Awareness Day. If you know of any videos of GAAD, do bring it to my attention and I’ll add them to my playlist.

Schedule a call to get started with Digital Accessibility

Now-a-days, there is a positive momentum about accessibility and businesses would want to make their products accessible. But challenge for many is that they do not know where to start and how to go about.

To mark 6th edition of Global Accessibility Awareness Day, I have decided to spend sometime with people who would like to know about accessibility and start their journey into building accessible products. Through this month, one can schedule a call with me for 30 minutes to discuss brief about accessibility and how they can get started.

Once call is scheduled all you need to do is call on the provided number at the time that you have opted. In case I could not answer your call, I apologize in advance and I shall call you back at the earliest possible.

Should you have problem in scheduling, do Send me an email

Link again: Schedule a call

Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2017 – Let's raise awareness about accessibility

6th edition of Global Accessibility Awareness Day will be observed on 18th May, 2017. As always, this is one such event that success of the event does not get measured by it’s size or format but by impact that event could create. Thanks to Prakat Solutions Inc.,, here is a quick video of my opening remarks about Global Accessibility Awareness Day that I spoke last year.

Some of the topics that could touch upon to raise awareness about are:

There are several events being planned. If you are hosting an event, do comment here with link to your event page.

Good luck,

Summary of Global Accessibility Awareness Day

We have posted a few posts to mark Global Accessibility Awareness Day and we continue to put in efforts to raise awareness about accessibility. Besides, here is a quick Summary of Global Accessibility Awareness Day.

At Informatica
Informatica has hosted an internal awareness event to its employees. Event includes a presentation on accessibility in general and accessibility at Informatica, an activity to show simpulation of people with disabilities, an activity of how keyboard only users can use the technologies.

At Mitra Jyothi
Prakat Solutions, Mitra Jyothi Rotary Club of Koramangala has organized an event consist of a video screening and 2 panel discussions. Below is a note put together post the event.

19th, May, 2016
Mitra Jyothi Auditorium, HSR Layout, Bangalore

Setting the stage:
The GAAD, a collaborative effort of Mitra Jyothi, Prakat Solutions and Rotary Koramangala was a day that saw a culmination of voices, thoughts, approaches and solutions and an increased awareness of challenges faced by people with disabilities (PWD). A video that brought to us the perspectives of various PWD and their challenges was followed by a panel discussion in two parts where eminent panelists from diverse backgrounds spoke about the various approaches, challenges and stories of innovative solutions in the field of Accessibility.

The event opened with the lighting of lamp by Major Singh and Madam Uma of Mitra Jyothi. Following this, the tone of the event was set by Ms. Madhu Singhal, Founder of Mitra Jyothi, by stressing that Accessibility is not something achievable by a few, but each person has to play their part to make it a reality.

Mrs. Anuradha Biswas, Founder of Prakat Solutions, gave us the background behind the GAAD: The idea of a GAAD started with a single blog post written by a Los Angeles-based web developer, Joe Devon. Jennison Asuncion, an Accessibility professional from Toronto discovered Joe’s blog post purely by accident thanks to Twitter. After reading it, he immediately contacted Joe and they joined forces, leveraging their extensive and respective networks to realize the event.
She invited the audience to put on their thinking hats and pitch in with ideas, thoughts and questions.
The diverse audience comprised of several professionals from Intuit, Oracle, Wipro, IBM etc., developers, designers and testers, besides people with disabilities and those from NGOs.

GAAD video presentation:
The session began with an eye-opening video that educated and sensitized us about what accessibility is and why there is such a pressing need for it by bringing to us the perspectives of people who faced several different types of disabilities. They spoke about the challenges they face as they navigate the digital world- something that we take entirely for granted.
The statistics are actually quite shocking- 9 out of 10 websites are not accessible. A large number if services and products online are not available to PWD due to the lack of awareness on the part of corporates, developers, designers etc. We also got a peek into the various types of assistive technologies and the many tools available to compensate for any limitations a user may have.

Panel discussion:
Panel 1

The panel discussion happened in two parts, the first one was moderated by Anu Biswas, Founder & CEO, Prakat Solutions who was joined by Madhu Singhal, Founder & Managing Trustee, Mitra Jyothi, Vishwajit Aklecha, Product Architect behind Intuit’s QuickBooks and Srinivasu Chakravarthula, Lead Accessibility Consultant, Informatica.

Srinivasu, spoke about the two types of enterprises, based on their approach to accessibility- the proactive and the reactive. The proactive take initiative and make their products and services accessible, (perhaps because the leadership is passionate about the cause) while the reactive come to understand the importance of accessibility either through a lawsuit or the threat of one. He gave the example of Apple, which although started out as reactive, pledged to incorporate accessibility into the design of every Apple device thereafter, and indeed, today we see that every Apple device comes with a complete accessibility suite. He stressed that awareness and sensitization could convert the reactive to become proactive.
It is important to focus on accessibility earlier on in the process. This would be much easier and cost effective than the alternative approach of converting existing products phase-wise, to make them accessible.
Another important aspect he highlighted was the fact that awareness about accessibility should also come to developers through education and training.

Vishwajit, answering the question as to what could influence product companies to integrate accessibility into their processes and design, shared the story of Quickbooks, an accounting ecosystem by Intuit. When he heard from visually challenged individuals who were using the software and said that they could not even select the date on the software, that is when he started the initiative to test the accessibility of the product and partnered with the visually challenged in making the tool accessible. This initiative was made possible by convincing stakeholders that it is not always about the numbers. And sure enough, the next release of QuickBooks in 2013, met a lot of appreciation for being accessible and inclusive. He said that this brought a lot of hope and motivation for users.

Madhuji, who has been an inspiration for the founders at Prakat, spoke about how any design should take accessibility into account in the earlier stages. She pointed out that many designs that meant to be accessible are not actually so in practice. She gave the example of a cane for the visually challenged that she had recently come across that was so heavy that it was not at all practical!
She highlighted simple examples from her own life- how when she gets an invite to an event in .jpeg format, she has to wait for a sighted person to show up and read the details to her. If I could only do my own work without depending on others, that would make me so happy, she said. Roads, public transport and the lack of accessible toilets, all pose safety threats and hinder the everyday lives of people with disabilities. She stressed on the importance of persisting and continuing to highlight issues to the Government and to technology professionals who would be able to bring about a change.

Petition to make Karnataka Govt. websites accessible:
Abhik Biswas, President, Rotary Koramangala and Co-founder and Principal, Tech & Dev, Prakat Solutions, gave us a brief introduction to the work done by Rotary and their collaborative effort with the government and other organizations in virtually eradicating polio.
He spoke about Prakat’s initiative, a report on the state of 105 Karnataka Government websites. The report found that only eight of them were accessible. He invited the members of the audience to sign the petition to the Karnataka Government to make their websites accessible and also bring a surveillance mechanism in place to keep the sites honest and accessible to all.

Panel 2:
The second part of the panel discussion was moderated by Abhik and joined by Ms. Shanthi Raghavan, CEO, Enable India, Dr. Nandakumar Ramakrishnan, Ebay and Abhinav Kumar, Managing Consultant, Wipro.

Abhinav shared the story of Wipro’s Accessibility practice, which involved making wipro.com, and all of its internal applications used by 170,000+ employees worldwide, completely accessible. He spoke about their initiative of forming a forum for employees with special needs where they can voice their perspectives. People highlighted all sorts of challenges, for example, one visually challenged person highlighted that the even to view details on something as confidential as their payslips, they would need the help of a sighted colleague.

Shanti gave several examples to her point that features designed for the benefit of people with disabilities do in fact end up benefiting everyone. The vibrate mode on phones, subtitles for audiovisuals, etc., initially designed for the hearing impaired have become universally useful today. Most importantly, she gave us two cases of accessibility innovations that helped not just the visually challenged but also the society at large. 1. Car dealerships facing high attrition in their after sales support teams, made their internal applications accessible to leverage over one lakh potential candidates who were visually challenged. Not only did the visually challenged benefit from the employment, but so did the car dealership. 2. After analyzing jobs that could be available for visually challenged in SBI, it was found that they could take on the role of Passbook printing. The only change the bank needed to make was add the account number in barcode format on passbooks, which benefited not just the visually challenged but also ensured error free number entry for other employees.

Dr. Nandakumar spoke about the importance of ‘left-shifting’ our accessibility practice, that is to incorporate accessibility earlier in the lifecycle. A simple observation he made was that we rarely go to banks these days due to the advent of online and mobile banking. But in some decades, when we grow old, we might face one or the other type of age related disability, which might make these modes of banking inaccessible to us. It would not be possible to invest in changing decades’ of code then. He stressed that enabling accessibility adds to cost only when it is an afterthought, not when it is thought of in the initial stages of product design. He also spoke of the need to make innovations in accessibility open source, as they would benefit the entire community.

Inclusive Design 24
The Paciello Group has hosted wonderful series of 24 talks under the banner of “http://www.inclusivedesign24.org/”>Inclusive Design 24 and More about Inclusive Design 24:

Inclusive Design 24 celebrates efforts worldwide to ensure people with disabilities have full and equal access to the web. We invite you to join the celebration and connect with the accessibility community, and learn your role in moving accessibility forward. Together we can take great strides toward making a web for everyone.

To celebrate Global Accessibility Awareness Day, The Paciello Group will be holding 24 completely free one-hour webinars on all things accessibility. The sessions range from beginner-to-advanced and are aimed at everyone from executives to web developers.

Missed the session? Replay from The Paciello Group’s YouTube Channel:

At Apple There were a lot of events happened at Apple to mark Global Accessibility Awareness Day. Visit iMore page for details

NewzHook has run a campaign on Facebook called #IAmForInclusion.

Deque and NASSCOM Foundation teamed up and hosted an event at T-Labs, Hyderabad that includes talks, demos of accessibility testing tools etc.,

There were many more events around the world. Visit In-person events page of GAAD website to learn about other events.

From Twitter #GAAD

Colours with Good Contrast – Accessibility Tips

Today colours play a big role in design. It’s important to ensure that there is sufficient contrast between foreground and background. For regular text, there should be minimum ratio of 4.5:1. Be especially careful while dealing with light color shades of gray, orange and yellow

WCAG Success Criteria: 1.4.3 Contrast (minimum) Level AA

Exceptions

  • Large Text: Large-scale text and images of large-scale text have a contrast ratio of at least 3:1;
  • Incidental: Text or images of text that are part of an inactive user interface component, that are pure decoration, that are not visible to anyone, or that are part of a picture that contains significant other visual content, have no contrast requirement.
  • Logotypes: Text that is part of a logo or brand name has no minimum contrast requirement.

Tools to analyze

Choose right and neat colours!

Heading Structure – Accessibility Tips

Right heading structure improves user experience and provide easy access to content. It’s essential to mark up using real HTML heading mark-up and not just styling as headings. Often times some developers make text bold, increase font size for headings instead using real HTML mark-up.

Why is it essential to use real heading mark-up?

  • When styles are turned off, they still have to look like headings
  • Screen readers such as NVDA, rely on mark-up to expose information to users. If headings are not marked-up using real HTML, they will be treated as plain text
  • When HTML heading attributes are used, screen reader users can skim read the content
  • Search engines look up for headings to retrieve relevant content to users

things to remember while designing headings

  • Ensure that heading levels are not skipped
  • Ensure that page must have at least one <h1>

Related WCAG Success Criteria

  • 1.3.1 Info & Relationships Information, structure, and relationships conveyed through presentation can be programmatically determined or are available in text. (Level A)
  • 2.4.1 Bypass Blocks A mechanism is available to bypass blocks of content that are repeated on multiple Web pages. (Level A)
  • 2.4.6 Headings and labels Headings and labels describe topic or purpose. (Level AA)
  • 2.4.10 Section headings – Section headings are used to organize the content. (Level AAA)

How to test?

  • Use WAVE by WebAIM and look for structured elements
  • If you are using NVDA screen reader, Press Insert + F7 which brings up elements dialog and look for Headings

Build structured contnet!