[Accessibleweb] Minutes - AccessibleWeb@U: E.A. Graffan on Accessible Web Ideas, UK Style

Rick Ells rells at u.washington.edu
Fri Nov 9 12:34:15 PST 2007

AccessibleWeb at U Meeting Minutes, Friday November 2, 2007

- Accessible Web Ideas - UK Style
- Guest: E.A. Graffan of the Learning Societies Lab, University
of Southhampton, U.K.
- Staff Web site: http://www.ecs.soton.ac.uk/people/ead
- Learning Societies Lab site:
- Education in the U.K.
- Public higher education in UK is no longer free, but the shift
away from subsidized public education has not affected disabled
so much as most have access to sources of support
- Disabled Students Allowances
- http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/DisabledPeople/EducationAn
- DSA does not cover all costs, students often receive
support from charities
- Ways education is supported education varies among countries
within United Kingdom
- Disability Discrimination Act, applies to all of UK
- Web site:
- Applies to all everyone, not just government
- Employment
- Education
- Access to goods, facilities, and services
- buying or renting land or property
- Anticipatory
- Must have everything in place to support the disabled in
case you have a disabled student
- Disability Equality Duty, added in 2006, established a legal
duty on all public sector organizations to promote equality of
opportunity for disabled people
- http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/DisabledPeople/RightsAndObligat
- Equality and Human Rights Commission recently established,
merging efforts of several commissions
- Not clear yet how it is going to work
- Web site:
- A rather interesting Web site loaded with features to
help disabled, including its own built-in screen
- UK is now working on fitting into the European Union framework
of laws relating tot he disabled
- UK approach to achieving accessibility emphasizes audit, appraisal,
and outcomes
- Assessment centers are located around UK
- Suppliers of services and technologies have been identified
- Training has been developed and is offered in many locations
- Student usage of services and technologies is monitored
- Web accessibility guidelines being updated
- Guidelines are built on W3C WCAG version 1 and 2
- Publicly Available Specification PAS 78:2006, Guide to good
practice in commissioning accessible web sites
- Buy a copy at
- Described and discussed at
- The UK Central Office of Information is working on a report
titled "Delivering Inclusive Websites", which should be
available soon. E.A. Graffan is one of the contributors to the
- UK OnLine, an Internet service provider, and TechDis, an
educational advisory service, are working on a holistic
approach to Web design supporting accessibility
- UK Online: http://www.ukonline.net/
- TechDis: http://www.techdis.ac.uk/
- What guidance can we give Web developers?
- Set a goal of achieving WAI WCAG AA compliance
- Avoid deprecated features
- Use W3C technologies when available
- One problem is, with WCAG2 still in draft, we are stuck on
- WCAG2 draft implicily aknowledge that accessibility
to everyone is no posslbe
- what do students say they want?
- clear layout
- chunked information
- use logical and sequential layout
- provide meaning meaning
- Usability is the bigger problem, given new technologies and
access devices
- Accessibility is not a product - it is an improvement
process constantly evaluating current technology methods
against current user practices and outcomes
- Usual problems are with navigation - can get to the words,
but hard to get around
- We do not know enough about the capabilities of disabled users
- The disabled are a diverse population with varying limitations
and capacities for finding ways to meet their needs given those
- Many use mobiles
- listen to mp3s of lectures
- reads anatomy notes into mobile
- Navigation with GPS
- Capturatalk (http://www.capturatalk.com/home.asp) operates
on a mobile phone and reads text outloud from hardcopy or
electronic documents
- Many students want Flash
- Has built in speech
- Can be used with bright colors
- XeRTE (http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/~cczjrt/Editor/)
editor creates rich, interactive elearning content in Flash
- Some students get overwhelmed by the multi-media
- Much can be done to improve standard tools
- Liberated Learning Consortium
(http://www.liberatedlearning.com) working on better
learning environments
- ViaScribe speech recognition technology aims at
enhancing accessibility for students with
disabilities in the university classroom
- shows slides, text, moving highlight on text
- Students need toolkits, they do not want massive products with
huge numbers of tools
- Majority of people cannot afford expensive tools
- yEd Graph for mind-mapping is an example of an excellent
tool available for free download and use
- http://www.yworks.com/en/products_yed_about.htm
- Pragmatism and Holism seem to be key ideas on how to do accessible
design in the future
- Still need checklists to give developers basic testable criteria
- WCAG2 is flexible
- Ask for AAA level accessibility
- Emphasize good structure, semantics, usability
- Recognize new contexts and populations
- Silver surfers - growth area is in over-50 Web surfers
- Saga Zone - http://www2.saga.co.uk/sagazone/
- FaceBook - http://www.facebook.com
- Many disabled can participate well in online social
- How do social environments relate to education? If we
enter student's space do we spoil it for them?
- Assessment of e-learning is a challenge, given the new tools,
contexts, and methods
- e-learning Framework Reference Model for Assessment
(http://www.frema.ecs.soton.ac.uk) working on improved
assessment methods

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