Facebook to auto-caption video ads: great! But, really?

Access iQ published “Video advertisements on Facebook to be auto-captioned” lately, and the title caught me. Auto-captioning is a technical challenge that could change lives of millions of people barred from the video side of the Web.  Continue reading Facebook to auto-caption video ads: great! But, really?

RGAA (French Accessibility Guidelines based on WCAG2) now available in English

In France, the law requires that all websites of the public sector conform to international accessibility standards, namely, the WCAG2. To help organizations meet this requirement, the French government provides a testing methodology, the RGAA.

The RGAA consists of three parts: an introduction to the RGAA, application guidelines, and a set of technical documents, including a complete checklist. The RGAA is based on the normative and informative parts of WCAG2, meaning that a website passing the RGAA also conforms to WCAG2.

The RGAA is meant to provide a way for testers, developers, and other professionals, to check conformance of web content without having to pull all the information out of the WCAG2. With minimal expertise, professionals can apply the RGAA checklist and be confident about the accessibility of web pages that pass the tests.

The technical documents have been translated into English, and are available on GitHub (issues, comments and PR welcome!)

Life does not end with disability; it just takes a different turn

Recently, Léonie Watson published a blog post telling the story of her sight loss. With a lot of honesty, she describes her journey from being fully-sighted to totally blind, due to diabetes. This story is also about how she overcame this ordeal, retook control over her computer thanks to screen readers, and “rediscovered [her] love for learning”. Up to the point where she graduated in Computer Science, and went back working as a Web developer.

What Léonie does not tell, however, is the fact that she is one of the most respected accessibility consultant out there, modestly mentioning that she is currently “working and collaborating with lots of smart and interesting people” — meaning she is actually a member of The Paciello Group’s all-star team.

And that fact, to me, holds a very important message, regarding disability, and how human beings deal with it. Continue reading Life does not end with disability; it just takes a different turn

Accessibility: Should we complain about it, or fix it?

Victor Tsaran tweeted this morning:

Steve Faulkner replied to this strong statement and expressed a different view (read the full thread of replies on Twitter). Their exchange constitute a great discussion, I believe, and with their permission here it is, rearranged and slightly curated for a better readability. Then I add my own opinion about this question.  Continue reading Accessibility: Should we complain about it, or fix it?

How an accessible Web would change your life?

When you “do” accessibility, you are always eager to get users feedbacks. What challenges are imposed by this particular website, or widget, and how to improve them, etc. And everybody agrees on the fact that the Web is an extraordinary opportunity for the persons with disabilities… provided that it is accessible to them.

But, how, exactly? I’ve been wondering. What would you do more, or less, or better, if the Web was accessible indeed? Which frustrations or disappointments would you avoid? What kind of new possibilities would you use? To sum it up: How an accessible Web would change your life?

My goal: to collect testimonials from “real users”, in order to understand what they expect, globally, from a world where the Web is accessible. Not “more accessible”, just “accessible”. Like if there was no barrier anymore to access the Web and its contents and services.

My hope is that we reveal trends and common traits in the users’ expectations. Perhaps we’ll get hints on what should be done first and foremost.

The question is open, and the proposed way to answer it is to post a comment to this article. No guidance is provided, to let you choose your way. You can identify yourself, or not. You can describe your accessibility needs, or not. You can be accurate, or remain vague. You can be specific, or generic. Do it the way you see fit.

Really looking forward to reading your comments!

A new accessibility business case – good news?

The WAI-Engage group has published, on its wiki, an article written by Peter Thiessen: Social Networking Application Business Case.The story is worth a read. But if you don’t have time: in short, it describes the hard path towards building a business case for accessibility. The author is a convinced advocate, but he struggled with his management while trying to prove a ROI for accessibility improvements.

Although he finally succeeded, I’m, personally, a tad disappointed by the fact that it took kind of a workaround: accessibility was sold through mobile development. All purely accessibility-related arguments were rejected, and only when it was paralleled with mobile adaptations, approval was won.

Which is not totally surprising… but it saddens me to observe that, even with considerable effort, it was not possible to prove that accessibility pays for itself – which I’m deeply convinced of.

I would argue that the problem was not the case in itself, but the lack of documentation to back up the assumptions made to support the arguments. We need more solid facts, believable and demonstrable figures, and realistic success stories.

So, in conclusion, we certainly must celebrate the fact that a high profile social networking company embraces accessibility as a business goal. But it’s still not the bullet-proof business case that demonstrates that accessibility, by itself, is a worthwhile investment.

 

Accessibility Certification: the Accessiweb Model

Cyndi Rowland of WebAIM wrote an excellent article, Accessibility Certification: The Devil is in the Details, about the possibility of an accessibility certificate for professionals who seek recognition as per their expertise. I encourage you to read the whole article. It highlights key issues, that will deserve close scrutiny.

I commented on the article to describe their experience regarding certification, which can certainly bring an interesting viewpoint about certification traps and pitfalls. The current article is the copy of this contribution, slightly adapted for the blog’s format. Continue reading Accessibility Certification: the Accessiweb Model

How we could build a Body of Knowledge for Web Accessibility

It is now a well-accepted assumption that, in order to move forward, accessibility needs a unified set of resources that would be reliable, comprehensive, and easy to consume for users of all levels of proficiency in accessibility. There have been many discussions around this idea for a while. Yet, so far, it does not exist, for a disappointingly simple reason: nobody started it yet. And I’m afraid that, in the current state of things, nobody has the ability to start it the way it should be started. This article exposes the reasons why I believe so. But, moreover, it also explores some ideas and propositions that could change this state of things.

Continue reading How we could build a Body of Knowledge for Web Accessibility