A few people at the CSUN conference last week commented on the overbearing WCAG 2.0 specs. Many folks agree that WCAG is extremely large and difficult to read (not unlike the HTML5 spec). And especially for accessibility newbies, WCAG can be a difficult place to start.
In a session at CSUN, even the W3C WAI members said that beginners should not read the spec but start with other docs such as How To Meet WCAG2 which pulls the Understanding and Techniques together. The WAI is also working on a “Easy Checks” documents. Here’s a sneak peak to the draft titled Easy Checks – A First Review of Web Accessibility.
If you are feeling overwhelmed or confused about web accessibility, my advice is this: stick to the basics.
For design, this means not re-inventing HTML elements and behaviors. Particularly form elements, such as re-rendering a select dropdown for the sake of aesthetics. There’s also the horrible trend to make labels appear and function like placeholders.
For development, this means the proper foundational techniques. Namely, the four layers of web development:
- Semantic HTML for content.
- CSS for presentation.
- JS to enhance behavior.
- ARIA to fill any accessibility gaps.
This fun diagram on Flickr helps illustrate this point.
Using the four layers approach encourages the following good practices:
- Separating content from presentation from behavior.
- Maintaining code in external files.
- Adding ARIA only when needed.
If these practices are implemented in a website, it’s well on its way to being accessible.
Last week, my author Dennis Lembree attended the 28th Annual International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference (better known as CSUN) at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego, California.
Dennis presented one session “Developing an Accessible Widget with ARIA” representing his day job company. You may download Dennis’ PowerPoint file here.
WebAIM announced that there is now an API for WAVE, their web accessibility evaluation tool. It has a very affordable pricing model, and the first 100 “credits” are free with registration.
Besides the sessions, there are many activities happening at CSUN including the Tweetup, SS12 Finals, and the first WordPress accessibility meetup! A highlight was Deque Systems’ “Amazing Evening” event featuring a guitar player who played with his feet, and who was also a hilarious comedian!
Props to the Toronto accessibility crew who had great representation again. Met more Canadians this year (thanks to @Jennison) including Bill Gregory, George Zamfir and Jorge Mori.
Recommended session presentations:
Other great resources:
Mark your calendar for CSUN14 which is scheduled for 17-22 March 2014. In the meantime, you can plan for the upcoming, second annual Global Accessibility Awareness Day (#GAAD) on May 9th!
A few weeks ago, on October 20, Web Axe author Dennis Lembree attended the very first Accessibility Camp Los Angeles at CSU Northridge. The event is led by @jennison and @joedevon. After opening comments and introductions, Dennis presented Introduction to Web Accessibility (sorry, the Google docs nor the Slideshare version is very accessible). Dennis represented PayPal, his day job in San Jose, who sponsored lunch.
Many other well known accessibility professionals attended and shared their expertise. This is totally awesome since most came from out of state at their own expense. This includes:
- Elle Waters who spoke on accessibility as innovation.
- Karl Groves who spoke on testing tools.
- John Foliot who spoke on HTML5.
- Pratik Patel who spoke on document accessibility.
- William Lawrence who spoke on Section 508.
- Joseph O’Connor who spoke on WordPress accessibility.
Learn more about Accessibility Camp LA on Twitter:
More on the accessibility camps.
Another CSUN conference has come and gone and this year was better than ever. I met many great people for the first time including Joe Dolson, who’s been on the Web Axe podcast a couple times in the past. The conference included much discussion on Google and accessibility, the announcement of WAVE5 beta by WebAIM, and the Tweetup was a bash! Special thanks to Adobe, Deque, and Accessible Media for being such great hosts. On Saturday morning, I attended the SS12 finals in which @Jennison was one of three judges (I judged last year). Be sure to check out the Great Big List by @mactoph which includes many links to presentations, round-ups, podcasts, and more. Also, here’s my Flickr CSUN12 photo album. -Dennis
Photo: Joe, Jennison, Dennis, and John at lunch. Credit: Angela Hooker.
This podcast is a preview of the 27th Annual International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference, commonly known as CSUN, February 27 thru March 3 in San Diego, California. If you’re not attending to the CSUN conference this year, this podcast is valuable in learning about current issues in web accessibility and “meeting” several great people in the field. If you are going, then you can also make a better decision in which sessions you want to attend.
First, Dennis and Jennison Asuncion (@Jennison) do an excellent overview of the conference (OK, mostly Jennison). Then several guests, all women, speak about their work, their sessions at CSUN, and some other fun thoughts. Four of the women live in the UK!
Download Web Axe Episode 94 (Women of CSUN12)
[Transcript of podcast 94]