Two hack-a-tons occurred which was great! A TPG Bug Bash and an ARIA Hackathon by organized by @JohnFoliot.
I attended the Project Possibility’s SS12 Finals where the “Code for a Cause” contest is concluded. The contest is among university teams for the best accessible application. The winner was the CSUN team for a camera app for the blind.
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 [link updated].
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:
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.
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: