Welcome to Edition 7 of the Web and Software Accessibility Newsletter
This occasional newsletter is designed to keep you up to date with news and information relating to web accessibility and AbilityNet’s involvement in this rapidly changing field. If you know someone this information may help, please forward this newsletter to them.
Latest ENation Report – Social networking sites lock out disabled users
Social networking sites may be revolutionising internet communication, and creating new and exciting opportunities in both leisure and business, but is this Brave New World as democratic and inclusive as it appears?
Our research of five of the most popular sites shows that, in contrast to their apparent universal appeal, they are effectively ‘locking out’ disabled visitors, the majority of whom can’t even register, let alone participate in the on-line communities they wish to join. This gross oversight is not only unethical, it is also clearly in contravention of the Disability Discrimination Act (1999).
As well as extensive review by our consultants, feedback was also compiled by survey responses from our team of 100 disabled end user testers. With a diversity of disabling conditions including vision or hearing impairment, motor, literacy and cognitive difficulties, they access their computers using a wide variety of adaptive hardware and software. These range from ‘tweaking’ the browser (making changes such as enlarging text or altering colour schemes), to using screen reading or voice recognition technology. The full story and the report itself can be found at: http://www.abilitynet.org.uk/enation85
Article – Creating accessible PDFs from Word 2007
Creating accessible PDFs from Word 2007 is a useful and practical article written by one of our consultants. Using the free plug-in from Microsoft, this article will guide you through the whole process of making an accessible PDF from Word 2007 documents. The article can be found at: http://www.abilitynet.org.uk/webarticle87
Web Accessibility and Web2.0 Event
We are hosting a one-day conference Accessibility 2.0 at City University in London on 25th April 2008. The conference, with speakers drawn from leading web development companies including Clearleft, Yahoo, the Paciello Group and from organisations such as the RNIB will equip web developers, web managers and technical designers with an in-depth understanding of accessibility issues and provide a host of practical solutions.
Robin Christopherson our Web Services Manager said “We believe it’s time for the focus to come back onto Accessibility, and that a conference of this kind is what is needed to help developers make their Web 2.0 applications accessible. It promises to be a highly practical day, where delegates come away knowing exactly what they need to do, and where they need to focus to make sure they consider accessibility in their products. With some of the biggest and best names in the industry we are very excited about what this event is going to bring to individuals and the industry as a whole.”
For more information and to register for the event please visit http://www.abilitynet.org.uk/accessibility2
AbilityNet are recruiting a Web Accessibility Consultant
We are looking for an Accessibility & Usability Consultant to join our internationally acclaimed team. The position will be based in our London office at City University, Angel and includes the flexibility to work from home.
We are ideally looking for someone with an established reputation in the ICT accessibility field, with a focus on new media and web based applications. You will be expected to work as a member of a small team and gain the respect of your peers with minimum supervision, managing a variety of projects delivering web and software audits and accessible web design, speaking at public conferences, delivering training, initiating new work and helping deliver it to the highest standards. This is an opportunity to increase your reputation in this sector whilst gaining huge job satisfaction.
Please visit our website for more information, a job description and application form: www.abilitynet.org.uk/about_working
DDA Compliance Checks
Are you 'DDA compliant'? If you are in charge of IT accessibility or recruitment/retention and would like a clearer picture of the accessibility of all your internal software and intranets AbilityNet can help. We are able to come on-site and review all your systems for 'DDA compliance' and give you an overall report that can feed directly into your roadmap to accessibility and DDA compliance.
"Just to let you know that I found the report to be very comprehensive and it covered a lot of issues that are of concern. I understand that the report will be acted upon and will receive the full support of The Pension Service executive team.”
Brian Aungles, Accuracy and Security Management Information Officer, The Pension Service
More information can be found at http://www.abilitynet.org.uk/webdda
Bobby Worldwide not publicly available
As of 1st February 2008 the useful Watchfire WebXact and Bobby Online products became no longer publicly available. WebXact was a useful automated tool which enabled you to check some of the accessibility issues your web pages may have. There are however, a few other useful programs which are free and can be used to highlight some accessibility issues. These are Cynthia Says and The WAVE:
Please remember that automated testing is not a substitute for manual checking but can be used to help in identifying potential accessibility issues within the page.
Courses for 2008
We have a number of spring and summer courses running in March and July at the British Computer Society (BCS) offices conveniently located off the Strand in central London.
· A very practical guide to testing against WCAG1.0 and 2.0 – Wednesday 5th March and Tuesday 22nd July. For more information and to book your place visit: http://www.abilitynet.org.uk/webpracticaltesting
· A practical introduction to website accessibility – Wednesday 2nd July. For more information and to book your place visit: http://www.abilitynet.org.uk/webintroaccessibility
· Rich media and latest trends in accessibility – Wednesday 16th July. For more information and to book your place visit: http://www.abilitynet.org.uk/webrichmedia
· Creating Accessible Websites – Thursday 15th May. Run by the Employers’ Forum on Disability in conjunction with AbilityNet, this practical workshop is designed to give you the most up-to-date information on current issues in web design and accessibility. It has been created specifically for web designers, covering the real issues in Flash, PDFs, Ajax and Web 2.0. It will give you an opportunity to directly apply your learning throughout the day in practical sessions. For more information, please visit http://www.employers-forum.co.uk/www/guests/events/prog/2008/05/accessible-websites.html
If the above courses do not meet your requirements, we offer a wide range of in-house training courses that we can customise to meet the needs of you and your team. To discuss this further either email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 0800 269545.
Useful Web Resources
With a range of articles, background info on areas such as accessibility guidelines and the law, an A-Z jargon buster and all our news stories please visit our resources section at http://www.abilitynet.org.uk/webresources
Top Tip – Do not hide skip navigation links
Instead of hiding ‘skip navigation’ links completely from view, the more optimal solution which benefits both visual and non-visual users alike is to temporarily hide the link until such times as it receives focus with the tab key. The screen reader user will hear the link be spoken, whilst the visual user will see the link when it is given focus. This means that the functionality can be provided without compromising the aesthetics of the web page. See www.abilitynet.org.uk for an example of this. As the user tabs through the page, the skip navigation becomes visible as it is tabbed over, and allows a keyboard only user to jump past the navigation. Our article Hiding Content from View provides more information on how to implement this technique. Please see: http://www.abilitynet.org.uk/webarticle67