Blog - accessibility and assistive technology

Useful accessibility resources from around the globe: issue 1

It’s our job to keep up-to-speed with all things accessibility. When we’re not consulting, training or working on our own accessibility projects, we’re reading the latest updates from around the world and searching for handy resources to support inclusive design. It keeps us at the top of our game.

For those who aren’t in the business of accessibility but like to stay in the know, we’ve compiled a list of resources from the last few months you might find useful.

We’re not saying we agree with every article verbatim; we’re not saying we’ve validated every technique they describe; we’re certainly not saying this is an exhaustive list. Our primary selection criterion was simply: Could this be useful to someone in our audience?

Here’s the best news: Although we’re working towards different legislative standards internationally (e.g. Section 508 in the United States; Equality Act 2010 in the United Kingdom; Digital Service Standard and World Wide Web Access: Disability Discrimination Act Advisory Notes in Australia), the accessibility standards most countries adhere to are one and the same; that is, the W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2 (WCAG 2.0). This means that whilst many of these resources originated overseas, the information they provide is still very relevant in an Australian context.

What other accessibility resources would you find helpful? Contact us with your ideas.

Introductory and conceptual

Integrating Accessibility: Planning Content for Everyone, May 2015 (USA)

Excerpt: So how can we make sure that your content is available to all of your users? Here are my core beliefs for building accessible content.

Make Technology Work for Everyone: Introducing Digital Accessibility (video), May 2015 (UK)

Summary: This short animated film provides a short introduction to digital accessibility and some of the reasons why digital inclusion is so important.

Why Website Accessibility Should Become Your Priority, June 2015 (USA)

Excerpt: One important public place -- a place where the average adult spends nearly 20 hours per week -- continues to be overlooked: the Internet.

Planning and implementation – non-technical

Complementing Standards by Demonstrating Commitment and Progress, May 2015 (USA)

Excerpt: When approached as a compliance activity, accessibility can seem daunting, if not impossible. …In this position paper we propose a way to consider standards within a larger context of accessibility activity.

Patterns in Higher Education Accessibility Complaints, May 2015 (USA)

Excerpt: What I hope is that this can be a starting point for campuses who want to begin the conversation about creating an accessible IT environment.

Multi-Modal Content Delivery for People with Cognitive Disabilities, July 2015 (USA)

Excerpt: Textual content can be delivered in different modes to help people with cognitive disabilities comprehend it.

Tips for Making Web Video & Audio Accessible, July 2015 (USA)

Excerpt: How do you tackle making your web content accessible to everyone? What about media-rich content, like videos and audio recordings?

Best Practices for Accessible Diagram Design (draft), July 2015 (Germany)

Excerpt: The chapter outlines the universal design approach and identifies the requirements of three user groups: Low-vision users, blind users and users with cognitive and learning disabilities. The requirements of these groups in terms of perceiving and understanding diagrams are quite different, so each set of requirements is followed by a specific list of best practices.

Describing Images for Improved Web Accessibility, August 2015 (USA)

Excerpt: There are many things that affect what that alt text should be. First, let’s look at some basic best practices.

Planning and implementation – technical

The Accessibility Cheatsheet, June 2015 (UK)

Excerpt: The problem is it is not always clear what exactly we can do to make our sites more accessible. …I decided to condense the very extensive guidelines [WCAG 2.0] and highlight some practical examples of what we can do to implement them and make our websites more accessible.

7 Things Every Designer Needs to Know about Accessibility, April 2015 (USA)

Excerpt: These guidelines will cover the major things you need to know in order for your products to be “design-ready” to meet the minimum of standards in Section 508 and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0. The rest will be up to development and quality testing.

A Journey into Web Accessibility, June 2015 (USA) [first post of a series]

Excerpt: I don’t pay as much attention to accessibility as I should. I suspect it’s the same for many web designers and developers. To help me, and hopefully you, better understand accessibility concerns for websites I thought I’d work through a series and see what we can learn.

How Can I Make My Forms a Little More Accessible?, June 2015 (USA)

Excerpt: What can we do, besides just semantic markup, that’s easy to implement and remember and will give us the most improvement for only a small amount of effort? …I decided to start in the obvious place, forms.

Visual Design and Colour Accessibility, June 2015 (UK)

Excerpt: Making sure that text colours in your digital interface are accessible for your users is a really important aspect of a well executed visual design.

Labelling Forms, Images and Links – Screen Reader Compatibility, July 2015 (UK)

Excerpt: Screen reader compatibility for a variety of form, image and link labelling techniques, showing how failures and techniques work in specific screen reader/browser combinations.

Anybody can be an A11y Slacker, July 2015 (UK)

Excerpt: A11ySlackers…A channel for anyone and everyone to discuss accessible web development.

Aria-Live: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly, July 2015 (AUS)

Excerpt: HTML has a very limited set of interface controls and interactions. As the demand for rich interactions has increased, JavaScript has become our saviour! However, many of the dynamic interactions and widgets are problematic for Assistive Technologies. ARIA to the rescue!

The American Foundation for the Blind Launches an Accessible HTML5 Video Player, August 2015 (USA)

Excerpt: Web designers no longer have an excuse for posting videos that are not accessible to the blind. AFB has released an excellent tool for making streaming video content readily accessible to everyone who uses the Internet, whether they are fully sighted, have partial vision, or are totally blind.

Visual ARIA Now Allows Anyone with Sight to See How ARIA Works, From Anywhere in the World, August 2015 (USA)

Excerpt: I built Visual ARIA…for any sighted person who is interested in ARIA to observe how it is applied on any website.

Short Note on HTML Conformance Checking, August 2015 (UK)

Excerpt: When you check a HTML document, using the W3C HTML conformance checker, to find out whether its code conforms to the rules defined in the HTML specification (and other referenced specifications). It’s useful to understand what the output means.

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