[Accessibleweb] Minutes - AccessibleWeb@U December 20, 2007 Meeting

Rick Ells rells at u.washington.edu
Thu Dec 20 17:03:31 PST 2007

AccessibleWeb December 20, 2007
- Theme: Tools that support accessible design
- An invitation to contribute ideas was sent to the AccessibleWeb
and Access email lists
- Terry Thompson has assembled the responses into a page at
* Terry is working on developing an Accessibility site
for the UW and hopes to have it ready in mid January.
- Discussion
- Free tools are getting very good
- Firevox, a free screen reader FireFox add-on
(http://firevox.clcworld.net/about.html) is working
on supporting AxsJAX site enhancements
- We could assemble a page for the Accessibility site
on quality free stuff
- "Free" does not include climbing learning curve
- As free tools improve, it raises the question of
whether they could be realistic accessibility
benchmarks, rather than much more expensive
programs like JAWS and Window-Eyes.
- DreamWeaver is a powerful tool commonly used on campus
- Users need to know what needs to be turned on or
checked to better support accessibility design
- Helpful as an assist for getting text into code
- Gives hints of what is needed (prompts for ALT text,
for example)
- Some people want a WYSIWYG and do not want to see
- Acrobat
- Much is hidden in Acrobat
- Creative Suite 3 is fairly well configured to produce
accessible Acrobat files
- Still need to understand what the attributes are for
and how to use them. When asked for Long Description,
supposed to enter a URL, rather than a long text
- Has check accessbility option
- Web Accessbility Toolbar for IE
- Being maintained by Web Accessibility Tools
Consortium (WAT-C)
- Includes the Colour Contrast Analyzer
- What other tools are commonly used here at the UW?
- Photoshop
- Acrobat
- Flash
- Coda for Macs (http://www.panic.com/coda/)
- HTML-Kit (http://chami.com/)
- Firebug
- Web Developer's toolbar for FireFox
- Simplesite (part of Catalyst Web Tools
- GIMP for graphics (http://www.gimp.org/)
- Needs lots of plug-ins
- Plone (http://plone.org/)(Nile)
- Local version of Plone is called Nile
- Drupal (http://drupal.org/)
- Sharepoint
- How accessible is Sharepoint?
- 2007 has a "accessible mode" but it is
not clear what it does
- A Sharepoint service will soon be offered
to campus by C&C
- Being offered through the UW Microsoft
Collaborative Applications project
- Multiple approaches to accessible design
- Basic 508/WAI criteria - the old rules based approach
- Standards adherence enables writing apps - build it
properly so others can interact with what you offer
- ARIA methodologies - do they really address accessibility
of AJAX?
- Dojo Toolkit (http://dojotoolkit.org/)
- AxsJAX (http://code.google.com/p/google-axsjax/) -
Access enabling AJAX
- Which approaches should the Web site cover
- In the past we focused on the Section 508, rule-based
- How do we do things here at the UW
- Every school has made different decisions, moving slowly
apart in their technology and design approaches
- We all come to the UW with our own tools and are often
allowed to approach our job in our own ways
- One of the advantages of working here at the UW
- We need higher level direction and goals to stick to
accessibility work
- Accessible design may involve forgoing enticing
gadgetry and bling
- Accessible products like Plone can be diligently
de-accessibilized by ingenious clueless developers
- With more uniformity in approach at the UW, we are in a
better position to work for accessibility
- Hard to make the case for accessible design because of the
complexity of laws
- Section 508 itself applies only to Federal government
- However, courts generally view Section 508
requirements as a measure of what is reasonably
possible, since the Federal government conforms to
- Washington State Information Services Board has
promolguated guidelines that Washington State higher
education should follow 508
- Guidelines, not standards.
- Could be held accountable under 504 and ADA
- Dept of Education processed 3,025 cases of
disability-related discrimination
- Very time-consuming and expensive to deal with such
- Accessible design can be argued as a technical competency
- Standards is a good approach for professionals
- Standards compliance means things can work together
- Learning methods puts you in a good position to do
quality work when you are called to do an accessibile
site. Putting off learning means you may respond
poorly when you need to implement an accessible site
or service.

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