Web Development

The W3C HTML Working Group published Using WAI-ARIA in HTML today. This document is a practical guide to help developers add accessibility information to HTML elements to help make dynamic content and advanced user interface controls developed with Ajax, HTML, and JavaScript understandable to users with disabilities.

For more information, see:

Boston, MA - The Interactive Media Awards™ presented the IMA Best in Class award (2012) to La Cresha Grayson of Southern California Edison for the SCE e-SMARTkids Website, in the category, “Energy.” Kathy Wahlbin, CEO and Founder of Interactive Accessibility, served as accessibility consultant for the project.

IMA Winner 2012 Best in ClassThe Interactive Media Awards™ recognize the highest standards of excellence in website design and development and honor individuals and organizations for their outstanding achievement. Created by the Interactive Media Council, Inc. (IMC), a nonprofit organization of leading web designers, developers, programmers, advertisers and other web-related professionals, the competition is designed to elevate the standards of excellence on the Internet and offer winners a boost in marketing and exposure. IMC serves as the primary sponsor and governing body of the Interactive Media Awards™, establishes the judging system and provides the judges for the competition

“We are very honored and excited to win this prestigious award. We believe that everyone should have access to the web and we take a lot of pride in designing creative, interesting, professional but fully accessible sites. When websites are not made accessible 20% of the population can struggle to access your content. This award validates our efforts and proves a site can be beautifully designed and still fully accessible. ” Kathy Wahlbin, CEO and Founder of Interactive Accessibility.

The creative team for this project consisted of:

  • Wendy Ellyn, Content Director, Culver Company
  • Chris Shanelaris, Creative Director, Culver Company
  • Anne Rothwell, Website Designer, Culver Company
  • Kate Van Dine, Project Manager , Culver Company
  • Kathy Wahlbin, Accessibility Consultant, Interactive Accessibility

 

Web applications today are a challenge to make accessible because native HTML does not have the language to support all of the types of widgets added to Web pages. WAI-ARIA provides a way to add roles, states and properties to make RIA accessible to assistive technology such as screen readers.

The adoption of rich internet technologies such as Dojo, jQuery and YUI has increased the overall usability of websites but many of these features are not usable by people with disabilities.  WAI-ARIA is a coding specification from the W3C that defines attributes that can be added to HTML elements to communicate key information to assistive technology to make these components understandable and accessible.

Today, there is varying levels of support within browsers and assistive technology but usage is increasing (See WAI-ARIA usage statistics published by BuildWith).  Interactive Accessibility recommends using WAI-ARIA but caution should be used and only those with good level of support across asssitive technology should be used. 

WAI-ARIA Assistive Technology Support

  1. JAWS screen reader supports WAI-ARIA (Word Document)

WAI-ARIA Reference Documents

For more information on WAI-ARIA see:

 

Facebook now has a dedicated accessibility team dedicated to improving the experience for people with disabilities. In a recent post, Jeff Wieland discusses the recent accessibility improvements of Facebook.

Facebook Accessibility Improvements

  • Photo captions and other structured information are now included in the alt tag
  • Working on making some of the more exotic dynamic interactions—like typeaheads, where you start typing something in and we show you matches—more accessible to the visually impaired
  • Trying to do a better job of moving keyboard focus to new dialogs when they open up on the screen

New accessible gaming development guide and companion website from the AbleGamers Foundation designed to explain the options and control mechanisms required to make video games playable by disabled gamers. The advice is broken down into three tiers for each disability (mobility, hearing, cognitive and visual).

In agile development, user stories capture what a user does or needs to do with the website or application. These “stories” are the basis for defining the functions that the system must provide and concisely captures the who, what and why or of the requirement.

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