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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!

Accessibility Resources for Developers

While we add content to our a11y resources page, to mark Global Accessibility Awareness Day, here is a quick list of some cool resources for Developers.

Accessibility Review: HDFC NetBanking – Adding new Beneficiary

Today, let’s look at Add Beneficiary section of HDFC Bank.

Please note that this test has been carried out using Mozilla Firefox and NVDA a Free and Open Source Screen reader

On Home page, combo box that has NetBanking, Prepaid / Forex Card, Verified by Visa, Credit Cards, Forgot password, Register options does not get focused in tab order but available when using up arrow from Login graphic link.

Once “Login” is activated, a new window gets opened which actually handle rest of the transactions. It would be useful to inform user that “Login” link opens in a new window.

Below are list of issues identified through Add beneficiary page:

WCAG Check Point Issue Recommendation
1.3.1 Info and Relationships Label for Edit field to enter Customer ID is not programmatically associated with its visible label Associate input field with its visible using <for> and <id> attributes
1.1.1 Non-text elements (Active images) Retrieve customer ID image link has an empty alt value thus ignored by screen reader Replace empty alt value with appropriate alt text such as “Retrieve Customer ID” etc.,
1.3.1 Info and relationships Table mark up is used to control the layout; this render unnecessary layout information to screen reader users Use CSS to control layout. It’s easy from portal maintenance prospective too
1.3.1 Info and Relationships (forms) Screen that appears after providing customer ID has following form related issues:

  • Labels for “Customer ID”, “IPIN” edit boxes do not have programmatic association
  • Labels for “virtual keyboard” and “confirm Security access icon and message” check boxes do not have programmatic association.
Associate input elements with respective labels using <for> and <id> attributes
1.3.1 Info and relationships When user is logged in, default focus moves to Account summary; while this is acceptable for portal of this kind where user needs to know the account summary, it would be worth to add heading structure to prior navigation items such as main navigation and side bar navigation or marking up with ARIA roles would be helpful Either provide appropriate headings or use ARIA roles
2.4.7 Focus visible There is no visible focus indicator across the portal; thus users especially those with low vision or cognitive would not know where they are navigating through on the page Either provide a visible focus indicator or ensure browser’s default focus indicator is not override
4.1.2 Name, Role and Value Side navigation contents such as Accounts, Transact, Enquire etc., appears and functions like menus but marked up as links Add menu roles and also ensure state of menus viz. expanded / collapsed is exposed to assistive technologies
1.3.1 Info and Relationships (forms) None of the input fields have associated form labels Associated labels with respective input fields using <for> and <id> attributes
3.3.2 Error identification When form is submitted with no data, user has shown usual process information and not error validation result Show usual process information only when all required fields are filled in

This is not a complete review of the flow but should help HDFC as a first step to make their digital experience accessible.

This post is part of series of reviews to mark Global Accessibility Awareness Day

Accessibility Review: State Bank Secure OTP iOS App

Receiving One Time Password (OTP) via SMS is easy but causes huge inconvenience when user’s registered phone is unavailable or traveling abroad. To solve this problem, State Bank of India has introduced SB Secure OTP application and we did a quick review of SB Secure OTP app for iOS with VoiceOver. Here are some findings:

  • Login Screen is easy including focus management for “Forgot PIN” dialog”
  • It was easy to enter PIN and login
  • Using VoiceOver, focus does not get to Back button, Logout, Help and Settings
  • It was easy to access dialog when user enters wrong PIN

About VoiceOver
VoiceOver is a screen reader on iOS and OS X that reads the screen aloud. To turn ON VoiceOver on iOS, go to Settings -> General -> Accessibility -> VoiceOver -> Toggle

This brief review is series of accessibility reviews to mark Global Accessibility Awareness Day which will be marked on 19th May, 2016 and 3rd Thursday of May every year!

Raising awareness is rather important to build accessible world – Global Accessibility Awareness Day

Developers are awesome, designers are awesome too! Always willing and keen to put in an innovative effort and bring a wow experience to consumers; then why is that they don’t care about accessibility? If you think they don’t that’s wrong; They absolutely don’t see people with disabilities / elderly as their enemies and never intend to build something that does not work for all users. It’s just that most of them doesn’t know about these segment of user base. Because they must have never come across people with disabilities and do not know how they use technologies. Let’s be realistic, those of us working in Accessibility industry, each one has come to this industry either with an experience or for some, it’s need for own self. So raising awareness plays an important role to build inclusive experiences.

Thanks to and Joe Devon, who thought to create a platform to raise awareness on accessibility by marking 1 day every year as Global Accessibility Awareness Day. It all started in the year 2012 and initially it was celebrated on 9th May but to consider vacations in some regions, it was decided to have this day on every 3rd Thursday of the May.

There are bunch of events happening across the world – may they be in-person events or virtual events… So much energy is floating to bring in awareness about accessibility. Visit Events page on GAAD website to see what’s happening around you.

Do you think you are too late to the party and you wish, you were aware of this earlier so that you can plan something? No panic, you can still do something. Some quick ideas:

  • Are you an android / iOS user, enable accessibility options from your settings and use phone for about a few minutes using in-built screen readers. For android, it’s called talkback and for iOS, it’s called VoiceOver
  • Meet with your friends and start talking about accessibility of places around you; like if you are at work, see what are the barriers you see from an employee who uses a wheel chair prospective.

More ideas you will find on GAAD website. Wishing everyone a happy accessibility (a11y) day!

If you are tweeting about GAAD, do NOT forget to use hashtag #gaad. Let’s have it trending!

Accessibility Testing – how to motivate coworkers?

To mark Global Accessibility Awareness Day, throughout the day we will be posting a few articles that hopefully would inspire you to take yet another step towards including accessibility into product roadmap.

Often we hear that implementing accessibility is difficult, costs more money and so on. This is true if we think of accessibility post engineering the product, but if we think of accessibility right at the design stage, the cost would be minimal.

Testing is important for any product to have rich quality, it’s equally important to include accessibility testing as part of the recess. It would be great if testing is carried out by variety of users including people with disabilities, elderly etc., but to get started one can perform initial audit using web based tools like WAVE by WebAIM etc.,

If you are new to accessibility and would want to bring in a fun element, a fw things that you can do is grab your team into a room, run WAVE tool on the web page and show them the number of errors, secondly and this would be usually powerful that ask teams to use the web page / app only with keyboard (without mouse). Specially, it would be an eye opener, when they interact with modal dialog boxes, drop down menus etc., One more thing that you can do is install NVDA Screen reader and ask team members to interact with app by switching off the computer screen. This way folks realize the importance of accessibility and how people with different disabilities use the internet.

So on the occasion of this Global Accessibility Awareness Day, why not doing this along with your co-workers and send in your experience!

Global Accessibility Awareness Day – May 15th – some ideas to host!

Last year and year before, Global Accessibility Awareness Day was marked across the world and it was a huge success. Let’s get ready to mark this important day this year too! This is one event where you don’t have to worry about the size of event, may it be small or big; that’s fine. Here are some ideas and I’m sure you would have more ideas too! Would suggest do the below exercises on the websites you frequently use or on your own products.

  • Go mouse-less: Just for about half an hour to one hour, whatever you do on internet, do it by unplugging the mouse. This will give you understand about how users with limited hand movement will surf the internet.
  • Go screen-less: If you are using Windows PC, download & install NVDA Screen reader and turn off your monitor. This will give you an understanding of how users with vision impairment surf the internet. If you are a Mac user, just press CMD+F5 and this will turn ON Mac’s in-built VoiceOver screen reader. You can do this on your mobile / tablet too. For iOS, VoiceOver is the screen reader and for Android, TalkBack is the screen reader
  • Turn-off Audio: Watch a video or movie by turning off audio and this will give you an understanding about how people with hearing impairment miss out on entertainment / information when videos or movies does not have captions

Now some ideas how you can mark this auspicious event!

  • Gather your colleagues / friends and encore them to do above exercises
  • If you are a web developer, spend this day to fix only accessibility issues; at least a few hours
  • Create a road map to ensure accessibility of your product
  • Identify accessibility on the portals that you use often and report them to concerned team
  • Imagine you are a team of 100 developers and each one fix 5 accessibility issues, 500 issues are closed, what an impact!
  • Organize a sensitization talk to your employees

These are some ideas and you can do more. No matter big or small. You desire to mark this great day, but need help? do write to us at info(at)sgaccessibility(dot)com and we will help you!

Happy planning and we will write back another post after the event and would be happy to include any event that takes place at your place. Good luck.