Accessibility Basics Workshop

Gian Wild presented this workshop the City of Boroondara council in 2015.

AccessibilityOz's Transcript:
My name is Gian Wild. I’m the Director/CEO/Founder/Owner of AccessibilityOz. We’re going to talk about what accessibility is, what kind of people with disabilities that are assisted by an accessible site, how you actually make a site accessible. You know, the requirements that you follow. And then we’re going to move into talking about PDFs in accessibility and some of the unique problems there. A lot of people think when it comes to web accessibility, it’s just about vision impairments. When you’re talking about people in Australia, it’s about 300,000 Australians with some moderate to severe vision impairment. There’s 2 million Australians with cognitive or writing disabilities and that’s not necessarily an intellectual disability, it’s difficulty at reading, like, dyslexia or things like that. So, it is important when it comes to web accessibility to think about all different groups, people with disabilities. So, what is online accessibility? It’s the ability for a person with a disability to understand and use a website application, internet or program. It’s governed by the Australian Human Rights Commission Disability Discrimination Act. It allows people with disabilities to access information like anybody else. It also allows them to interact with others without being categorized as disabled. So, this is the really big– a big one there’s still a whole level of discrimination against people with disabilities. So it’s– it’s really important that, you know, people can especially with the advert of social networking that people can represent themselves the way that they want to be represented and not necessarily be, you know, seen as disabled. So, what types of people with disabilities are actually assisted by an accessible website? So we’re talking about disabilities affecting vision, disabilities affecting how the mind interprets information, disabilities affecting movement, and disabilities affecting hearing. So we’re talking about vision impairments. There are a variety of vision impairments from complete blindness, colorblindness is not defined as a disability but certainly affected by an accessible website. Glaucoma cataract, so there’s a whole bunch of different things. It’s not just about being blind. They use things like screen readers which read aloud the content on the page and that work kind of like a browser. So they actually interpret the content, the card or Braille readers. Things like braille keyboards or large-sized cable and on screen magnifiers. We’re going to talk a little bit about cognitive impairments, so cognitive disabilities include things like epilepsy and migraine which I’ve talked about before. Dyslexia which is all about difficulty reading content. Aphasia which is kind of a problem with at home, problems of memory that one of the things that people with dyslexia or people with cognitive reading impairments. One of the technologies they use, our screen readers which reads aloud the content of the page. Now, they obviously use screen readers very differently to people with vision impairments because they can actually save the page. So there’s a whole bunch of accessibility requirements around that. as well where the screen reader actually has to follow the logical order of the visual order of the page because people with dyslexia are actually can actually see the page and they are expecting the screen reader to follow the logical order. And so you need to make sure once again that your site works with those kind of softwares so that they can be used and theses things like have a Hover Highlighting which is often used in conjunction with a screen reader where you actually highlight the word as it’s being said. So it just reinforces exactly where you are on the page and dictionary software where you can actually get a definition of, you know, all the words in your site. Use the techniques things like turning a Flash and Javascript and decreasing color contrast so you will remember that people with vision impairment is like to increase color contrast, but people with cognitive impairments especially dyslexics like to decrease color contrast. It makes it easier to read for some reason. Okay. So physical disabilities. So, it doesn’t really matter what kind of physical disability you have whether it’s cerebral palsy, motor neuron disease, huntington’s, parkinson’s, quadriplegia. All of that means that you have some difficulty with input devices, and input devices, the mouse, you know, touching a touch screen, keyboard. You know, wands, that kind of stuff. Modified on screen keyboards which they can use with things like switches, touchscreens and headwands. There’s a whole bunch of access technologies but basically one of the ways that we make sure these things work for people with physical disabilities, is make sure that everything can be used just by the mouse. Everything can be used just by the keyboard and everything can be used just by touch. And of course when it comes to mobile devices, it gets even more complicated. Often, most of the time things are fully accessible by touch but not all the time, unfortunately. It’s a whole lot of things that the web can you for all of us. But what it means to people with disabilities, is it means that they can actually do things that they could not do before. And so that’s why I personally care about accessibility so much because I think that it’s really adding insult to injury to have this all disability and all this knowledge and information and access to content and then not have it available to people who can’t actually access that information any other way. There’s two types of hearing impairments, this what’s called Profound Deafness. Just people who are born deaf and there’s a really big deaf community, then there is Hard of Hearing so, you know, your grandparents when they get older, you know, they start losing their hearing and things like that. Captioning for example, Netflix, so anyone not know what Netflix is. So it’s a streaming television service. It’s a bit like Foxtel but you choose what you want to watch when you want to watch it. They argued when they attack in court that they couldn’t provide captions because they would be breaking copyright laws even though there was captions for old days, you know, TV shows and things already. They were the judge found against them and fined them $795,000 and required that they caption all their content within two years which they did actually manage to do. So this whole thing– whole list of things and then it says anything that is not listed is also covered. The DDA applies to services where are provided for impairment or not. Making sure accessible web content is an integral part of the web design cycle and accessibility should be incorporated in all aspects of the design process. So all the striding government websites should comply the time line and conformance requirements of the National Transition Strategy whether or not they are specifically mandated to do so. In particular state and territory governments are strongly encouraged to comply with the Double A conformance level that applies to most government Websites. Users must be able to operate with the user interface and navigational aspects of website. One implication of this principle is that interaction with web content should not depend on a user being able to use a physical mouse. The users must be able to understand both the information content and how to interact with that. One implication of this principle is that changes of content or context must not be triggered unexpectedly, for example through the use focus trenches. Content must be robust enough that it can be interpreted reliably by a wide variety of user agents including assistive technologies. One implication of this principle is that a web page should not require the use of a specific assistive technology such as a specific screen reader in order to be accessible. So there are four principles and on each principle there are a bunch of guidelines. So under the Perceivable Principle, there is guideline 1.1, provide text alternatives for any non-text content, so that it can be changed into other forms people made such as large print, Braille, speech, symbols or simpler language. That’s quite broad. You wouldn’t know necessarily how to do that. There are three conformance levels. Level A, which is the minimum level. Double A, which is the medium level. And Triple A, which is the maximum level. Conformance and conformance level is for full web pages only, and cannot be achieved if part of a web page is excluded. The other thing is that, on the complete processes can be determined as accessible. So, if you’ve got an online store and your credit card form is inaccessible then your entire site is exchange inaccessible because the process itself that you’re expected to type by accessing that site is not accessible. What’s better for your brand? You know, you click a PDF, you wait and you wait and then you get something that looks like that. I mean that’s not friendly on a mobile device at all versus something that loads immediately and you can read. So, PDFs are not rate as highly by Google as such G-mail. So you got two exactly same content. One is PDF, one is HTML The HTML would ranked much higher. We’re not really looking at documents anymore. We’re managing to scrape pieces of open data and content which can be tagged, shared secured, mashed up, and presented in the way that is most useful for the consumer of that information. We did a whole bunch of user testing when we’re at Monash University so I focused a lot more on usability than I did on accessibility and the number of times we’d get to a PDF and that the size, although they say that click to PDF and that immediately click back because they knew that they didn’t want to go through that PDF to find the content or they sat there and waited for it to load. And I can tell you now PDFs still take long to load. Burned our sites actually were quite good and a lot of ways. And PDFs, no one really gets PDFs fully right. Look at those PDFs that you’re legally required provide to the public, popular and downloaded often, and are required to access your products or services. So for example, if you have– if your only way of your stuff applying for leave is through filling out a PDF. That’s a problem. So if you can find the alternative accessible version, so remember they’re not created in PDF. There has to be a version that was the source of the PDF file, then create the alternative accessible version. So HTML word text or RTF, you can take a PDF and create an accessible word document from each. So even if you don’t have the original version, it’s a whole lot easier to create an accessible word document from a PDF than it is to tag it. So we did some work for top of employment and education. We had two 40 page documents. It took me four hours to create the accessible word documents for those documents. Those PDFs. Took me 84 hours to tag the two documents. The more people understand that if I get a complaint from someone who says I can’t use this PDF, they don’t just, you know, push this aside and say that they just don’t know how to use it. But it’s actually got something to do with the fact the content is locked up in an inaccessible format. Then the more that we can actually address this and the more people can use in their site. But, yeah, if you can from now on whenever you upload a PDF, upload the word document or even if you can’t do that, have some kind of summary information but something else some way of people contacting you so that if that contact says that, they can at least tell you and then you can say, “Look, you can go to your manager and say I’ve had 300 requests for accessible PDFs in the last two weeks.” You know, maybe we need to do something about this. Well thank you very much. Once again that’s, our URL is. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions and I’ll probably be working further with City of Boroondara. Excellent. Thank you very much.