We often get caught up with coding to make our websites crawlable for search engines. This morning, Sharon Rush of Knowbility and Richard Schwertdfeger of IBM offer the current state of accessibility and where it is going. Making sites accessible for everyone, regardless of disability, is good design. If you create good design, then it should address all users. Search engines have been supportive of accessible adoption features and will likely continue to do so as it makes usability a factor in delivering good content.
What has been successful in accessibility?
WAI-ARIA is a set of accessibility specs that focus on tooling and reporting. One example that is near final adoption and integration is http://www.openajax.org/member/wiki/accessibility and is helping understand things like dynamic content. But some of the problems with accessibility still exist in mashups. Example such as a simple Google Map with rapid integration of complex visualizations make usability a problem when integrated with third party Assistive Technologies.
Accessibility and interaction are key. Can simple image mashups be built in tables instead or provided as an alternate render and transcript? Can maps work with geolocated address books to coordinate? Yes, this would be good design/usability for everyone. There is the key point of the day. If it is good for everyone, it stops being about accessiblity. Ex. In HTML 5 CSS media queries, allow selection of embedded styling to turn on the transcript view as set in browser default rendering. It will just work for everyone depending on preferences set. Don’t require alternate interfaces that increase development costs.
What Tools and adoptions are still needed?
working within DCO with W3c is a Delivery Context Ontoolgy. Set preferences for alternatives to mapping and On-Demand delivery can deliver the data based on adaptations to the environment.
National Public Inclusive Infrastructure – NPII
NPII is a bigger solution to deliver software enhancements so non-standard interfaces can use broadband information and services available to others. Building accessibility and extended usability directly into the Internet’s Infrastructure including a common set of development tools to lower development costs. If tools are deliverable via cloud, then accessible tools will be available to anyone with licensing when needed on their device. Example: Web apps to have web-delivered content (alternative renderings, captions) delivered as assistance on demand.
Accessibility Resources at:
http://wiki.knowbility.org/sxswi-2010/ with Rich’s PowerPoint deck and NPII
Models to be supported in the NPII
NPII is a resource to learn about the specific models of information delivery.
The NPII will support a number different delivery models in order to address the different platforms, degrees of lockdown, and type of adaptation a person requires. For example a person who is blind may need a screen reader that is integrally tied to a browser (Model 1 or 4) while someone who has colorblindness may only need occasional color shifting of content and could use Model 2 or 3. Any of the 4 models might be used on a computer that allows installation of access software while Models 3 or 4 may be needed on a computer that is completely locked down.
- Model 1: Downloaded user agents
- Model 2: On-Demand Web Services
- Model 3: Proxy-based transcoding
- Model 4: Web-based user agents
Stop talking about accessibility
The great take away from this panel session comes from Sharon Rush again. Sharon is a huge advocate of stopping the talk about accessibility and design. The hope is one day to stop talking about accessibility as a separate thing and move the development toward good design that incorporates everyone.