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GAAD

#NothingWithoutUs – a campaign to ensure inclusion of people with disabilities

This years Global Accessibility Awareness Day has more significance than ever before due to changing times of unprecedented COVID-19 situation. Due to COVID-19 almost everything has gone digital except eating food or taking bath! All events – may it be corporate events, may it be social events, may it be GAAD events, all are happening on virtual. As we prepare to accommodate our guests with disabilities when we host an in-person event, it’s equally important, we make sure our virtual platform is accessible to all of our guests including those with disabilities. Today, there are several platforms that are fairly accessible including Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Skype, YouTube etc., While platforms are accessible, one needs to configure some features such as Live Captioning. For Google Meet, just pressing “CC or Closed Captions” button display captions on the screen as presenter speaks. (as much as I know this works for English and I have not tried for other languages).

Another important area to consider accessibility is Education. As we know Carona Virus is going to live with us at least for a few years and it’s new normal to host classes online. Some schools in India are already planning to have 50% of students attend school each day and when they are at home, they are expected to attend virtual classes. To ensure inclusion of students with disabilities, schools, colleges and universities must choose platforms that are accessible and make their course material, examination platforms accessible. Investing on these platforms involves huge cost and if accessibility is not considered at the initial stages of procuring technology, it will be almost impossible to address the problem later and students with disabilities will feel impairment and left excluded.

Urge all organizations to include term “Technology must be complaint with accessibility standards and accessible to users with disabilities” while signing contract for any product and do not agree to claim that they will fix it later. It’s not rocket science to make product accessible. Often products are inaccessible, because accessibility is not part of product development roadmap and code is written without having all users in mind. It’s just about changing the mindset.

Accessibility is not limited just for employment or education, it needs to be ensured everywhere including entertainment, travel, shopping, physical spaces like apartments, townships, parks, home appliances like Washing machine, Television etc.,

So do your bit by ensuring your platforms are accessible to everyone including people with disabilities.

Happy #GAAD! Again promote campaign #NothingWithoutUs.

Virtul classes are more inclusive… while in-person teaching is the best!

Due to unprecedented situation of COVID-19, as every businesses have moved to virtual mode, even schools have started imparting education through virtual classes. While virtual learning is some normal in a few countries like, it’s not really an usual thing in India. However, some schools have worked with their teams and ventured into virtual classes.

Our children study at New Baldwin International School; they have started virtual classes for our daughter who is in class 2. I must say that teachers have done a fabulous job putting videos together. They have all of needed material around and handy for them to use. It was just as good as in-person teaching. Way teacher was describing each activity is pretty well and accessible to even a student with disability.

I am a person with low vision and I have been missing teaching to our children not that I do not know to read or write but I was always under the impression that I may take a lot more time than my wife while helping our children doing homework. With virtual classes, it has become easy for me to help our child learn. I have first watched video sent by teacher, then I have watched video along with our child and then helped her do the activity along with me. It was indeed a productive activity and felt education became inclusive.

Even when schools are resumed, I would recommend leverage on technolgy to possible extent while I believe writing with pencil and reading a physical book have their own importance.

This could be yet another topic to exchange thoughts to mark Global Accessibility Awareness Day on 21st May, 2020.

Stay home, Stay safe!

Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) 2020 – virtual this time!

May is one of my favorite months of the year. It’s month to celebrate what I work everyday. Third Thursday of May is observed as Global Accessibility Awareness Day. Since 2011, it has become a global momentum and various activities take place across the world; some are small, some are big, some are in-person and some are virtual.

Due to unprecedented situation due to COVID-19, this year, we are forced to celebrate virtual and still a lot of organisations are planning variety of online activities. Glad to see the great spirit.

Since Working from Home is now a new normal, I would urge people to think of accessibility challenges due to remote work places and how we can overcome those challenges; we should also keep in mind that our solutions need to be cost-effective since companies are also facing financial crisis. Either our solutions should be at no cost or at a very minimal cost.

For example, how do we include our employees with hearing impairment in scrum or any meetings; During Empower 2018 Conference, I have noticed a person sincerely typing on a google document whatever speaker is speaking. Later I was told, they have shared that document with view only mode to all attendees with hearing impairment. It helps them even when an event does not have sign-language interpreter. Another advantage is that attendees with hearing impairment need not just sit in fron row and they can sit anywhere they like.

Another example is how can we ensure people with vision impairment could participate in meetings? Today there are a lot of accessible meeting platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, etc.,

So start thinking more innovative ideas and let’s mark a successful Global Accessibility Awareness Day on May 21, 2020.

#GAAD2019Series: 5things to get started with Accessibility

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:

  1. 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”.
  2. Labels for form fields: Ensure that all input fields have associated labels, all radio buttons and checkboxes are associated with their group labels.
  3. 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)
  4. Keyboard: Ensure all elements are operable using keyboard including drop-down menus, dialog, media players etc.,
  5. 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.

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