So I attended the first day of Google I/O 2011, my first time at a Google event. I was glad to hear a fair amount of talk about accessibility. There were at least 3 sessions focusing on the topic (see below) and a breakout area where you can talk with developers.
There was even an accessibility “Developer Sandbox” area which was great. I tried out the ChromeVox screen reader on a Chromebook with help from Google’s Rachel Shearer. I got a quick demo of the built-in TalkBack screen reader on an Android mobile device. Mika Pyyhkala and I were shown the LevelStar braille device running Android. The University of Washington showed off their mobile ASL Android project which used video chat technology.
Some tips for Android development from the sessions are:
- In Android code, ensure images, especially ImageButtons, are labeled with
- Use standard controls.
- Stick with standard or modified views; custom very complex to make accessible.
- Ensure all controls reachable with D-pad and Trackball.
- Test with screen reader using D-Pad. To turn on, enable accessibility under Settings/Accessibility, then enable Talkback.
- Take advantage of device’s “many eyes and ears” for alternative input/output (microphone, speaker, touch screen, camera, GPS)
The sessions specific to accessibility were:
Tim Credo, Charles Chen, and T.V. Raman on stage at Google I/O.
YouTube is obviously a great site for video, but not for everyone as it contains various accessibility challenges, particularly keyboard access. The use of Flash itself to play the video can be problematic, not be mention requiring support of the Flash plugin. HTML5 is a pending solution (HTML5 video is available on YouTube as a “trial”), but in its infancy, HTML5 video has accessibility issues that still need to be resolved, as does HTML5 itself.
In the meantime, here are a few alternatives to the YouTube website which provide more accessible controls and a much cleaner interface.
If you still don’t have what you need or want, why not build your own interface?! The following are tools and resources for building more accessible YouTube videos including captioning:
If you developed an accessible YouTube solution, or know of another not listed, please leave a comment.
Most of us are excited about HTML5 and all the benefits it will bring. Overly excited maybe is a more accurate term, which includes myself. We as a community need a “sanity check” about the readiness of HTML5 and its accessibility because:
- The spec isn’t complete (2012 for Candidate Recommendation) thus requirements may still change.
- The browsers are in the middle of implementation and much accessibility support isn’t provided yet.
- There are many accessibility issues remaining such as Canvas in general; no semantic information to assistive technology for many elements; keyboard access lacking in audio & video controls in most conditions.
The web site HTML5Accessibility.com is a great place to learn about these issues for each major web browser. Along with that is a presentation by Steve Faulkner (@stevefaulkner) of the Paciello Group: HTML5 Accessibility – Is It Ready Yet? presentation by Steve Faulkner and and Hans Hillen (SlideShare).
Because of this intermediate stage, we developers must implement more complex code as desired, including fallback methods for user agents which don’t yet support the HTML5 features. Here are some great resources on doing so:
Dennis speaks with Terrill Thompson about a variety of topics including a summary of the EDUCAUSE conference; a preview of the Accessing Higher Ground (AHG) conference; community efforts to fix the web; HTML5 audio, video, and controls; and captioning.
Download Web Axe Episode 86 (Educause review, AHG preview, HTML5 audio with Terrill Thompson)
[Transcript of podcast 86]
More on the EDUCAUSE Twitter backchannel
In celebration of its 5th anniversary, Dennis and Ross discuss the history of Web Axe and several memorable moments. Then, nine special guests provide excellent insight and information relating to web accessibility including Paul Boag and Bruce Lawson. It’s great stuff, don’t miss it!
Download Web Axe Episode 84 (Web Axe 5-Year Anniversary)
[Transcript of podcast 84]
Special Episode Podcast Contributors
Addendum: Podcast Corrections
- Steve Grobschmidt’s last name was announced incorrectly (it’s not “Aquinas”, that’s part of his Twitter handle).
- We state that there are 8 guest speakers; there’s actually 9!
- We mentioned that Boagworld is no longer podcasting, but failed to mention that they plan on returning in January 2011. (Paul mentions this in his commentary.)