Weekend Gazette – Link Collection for February 7

Last updated: April 17, 2019

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We present to you a menu of tidbits collected in recent days that are too short for blog posts and sometimes too long for a tweet (when we want to add clarifying comments). Headings provide a light grouping to help you skim the offerings. Bon appétit!

Where to Discuss Accessibility?

The Accessify Forum [No longer active as of 15May16] is an excellent place for accessibility discussions – for developers, technical communicators. All are welcome! A recent topic showing the versatility and importance of this forum discusses who is responsible or accountable for accessibility issues. Stop by soon.

Where to Learn About Accessibility?

It depends. Next question. No, seriously, this is a big topic because it depends on what you mean by accessibility. Do you write code? Do you write policies and procedures? Your accessibility focus will depend on your actual work. However, a good foundation is good for everyone, so stopping by the WaSP InterAct Curriculum at webstandards.org will always be a good choice. Get your bearings on the About page. (By the way, it’ll be time to say Happy Birthday soon. WaSP InterAct was born at the South by Southwest Interactive conference in March 2009.)

Another good starting point is ScrunchUp, the web magazine for young designers and developers.

More resources can be found at The OneVoice for Accessible ICT. OneVoice aims to “assist organisations in embedding accessible information and communication technologies (ICT) as a fundamental part of their diversity and inclusion values and culture.” It is a new, still developing site, so come back frequently to find resources for best practice, tools, and guidelines for web designers and developers, HR and IT departments, and other parts of the organization involved in building accessible ICT.

Text Alternatives

Alt and title attributes are parts of the web content that aren’t immediately visible, yet they are important to know and understand.

Get help from Ian Pouncey’s articles: Alt attributes and Title attributes. Steve Faulkner, The Paciello Group, has been diligently updating the draft for HTML5: techniques for the provision of text alternatives – another resource to monitor. Finally, Vlad Alexander asks how web browsers should render alt text.

Definitely an area for technical communicators to monitor!

Short and Sweet – Abbreviations

Make a note of “a11y” and “tsaccess” for future reference.

“a11y” stands for “accessibility”. A is the first letter, y is the last letter, and 11 is the number of all the other letters in between the a and the y! Some might recognize this model from “l10n” (localization) and “i18n” (internationalization). In the world of Twitter, saving letters counts! Purists will cringe, and others will argue that these terms are not clear, but they are here to stay.

“tsaccess” is a new term that stands for “touch screen accessibility”. Touch screens are getting a lot of attention with iPhones, the iPad, and other devices with touch-sensitive screens. Where is the accessibility in that? Jennison Asuncion coined “tsaccess” as a hash tag that can be used to discuss this topic on Twitter, in conferences, or wherever hash tags are used.

Connect the Dots

Braille for Everyone is an interesting new initiative that could lead the way to less expensive braille devices, which could promote a wider use of Braille. Why Braille? You may recall a recent article in the New York Times about Braille and literacy that went around Twitter. Audio books and videos are convenient to use when we are on the go, and videos seem to be touted as the way for technical communicators to make documentation in the futures. The literacy issue that has been raised in connection with the decline in Braille sounds quite alarming. One blogger even asks can Braille become obsolete. Technical communicators preparing single-sourced material to be delivered in multiple ways should be very concerned about literacy issues for that material. It is a topic worth monitoring.

Employment

The U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy has an article about when to consider revealing a disability to a prospective employer. Your mileage may vary depending on your local laws and situation, but the article has some useful insights.

Employers should read People with Disabilities: The Talent You're Missing. No explanation is necessary with that title.

Doing it My Way

The beta version of the accessibility pages for the BBC website is quite impressive. It’s called My web my way and definitely worth a visit, especially for some good old inspiration. The page has links to other great accessibility offerings from the BBC, so grab a cuppa and poke around the site for a while.

An Awesome Newsletter

The University of Minnesota at Duluth has been sending out the Web Design Update newsletter since 2002. Any time news or information is posted to the Web Design Reference site, a newsletter is sent out to subscribers. Get your copy of the newsletter today by following the WDU newsletter subscription information. You can also read past issues on that site. I remember hearing about that site on the STC Lone Writer SIG discussion list years ago. Awesome is the general term used to describe the resources at the Web Design Reference site.

SharePoint and the Technical Communicator

SharePoint is rather notorious among technical communicators – some love to hate it. Offices toss it out on the web because they have it in some package deal. Most could use better training and education, but that requires knowledge about its accessibility. Bruce Lawson wrote about SharePoint accessibility in 2008 and Alastair Campbell wrote about SharePoint 2010 late last year. These two posts should get you talking about accessibility and SharePoint in your workplace.

The Last Word

@gezlemon posted a tweet that was too good to pass up. He writes that it is a true story from Radio 4 (in the UK).

“Right-click on your desktop.”
“Okay.”
“What do you see?”
“Click.”
“What did you do?”
“Wrote click on my desktop.”

Link Contributors

This post was glued together with links or inspiration from many people. They are listed with their Twitter names.

@brucel
@blindperspectiv
@DaveBanesAccess
@gezlemon
@gmcdermith
@ianpouncey
@jennison
@mpaciello
@stevefaulkner
@TCSAssociates09
@webaxe

Weekend Gazette – Link Collection for January 17

Last updated: May 19, 2016

Note:  All links going to other websites will open in the same window. Use the Back button to return to our site.

We present to you a menu of tidbits collected in recent days that are too short for blog posts and sometimes too long for a tweet (when we want to add clarifying comments). Headings provide a light grouping to help you skim the offerings. Bon appétit!

Employment

By the way, you can now monitor our Twitter stream for job openings related to accessibility, thanks to the efforts of Web Diva Cyn, who followed a great tip from the webmaster of the STC Technical Editing SIG.

Did you know that some people view autism as an asset, not a liability, in some jobs? The topic of this article is just that – autism as an asset.

Evengrounds provokes with the question: Why bother hiring people with disabilities?

On the other hand, maybe those people with disabilities are too good for some employers?!

Cloud Computing

Is your head in a cloud with the talk about cloud computing? T. V. Raman gave a talk at the Accessing Higher Ground conference in November 2009 and made his slides (in PDF and HTML format) and talk (MP3 format) available to everyone. Check out the highlights of the challenges and opportunities of accessibility in the clouds.

Captioning

Before you say "I'm not deaf, so I really don't want to hear about captioning anymore", read "Captions: Understand DVD Shows," an article about the benefits of captions for people without hearing issues. As a person without hearing issues, I am grateful for the subtitles on my TV. It gets me safely through parts of shows where some technician went a bit crazy with the background sounds or music, disrupting the flow of speech in the process.

In the U.S., there is a petition to support a move to make telecommunications accessible for and usable by people with disabilities. The petition was created by the Coalition of Organizations for Accessible Technology (COAT) to support "The Twenty-first Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2009", also known as H.R.3101. COAT made a one-page summary of H.R.3101. From that page, you can also navigate to the petition site and follow the progress of the bill through the United States Congress.

More awareness about captioning is coming March 2, on Dr. Seuss' birthday. That is when DCMP holds its Read Captions Across America (RCAA) campaign, held in conjunction with the National Education Association’s (NEA) Read Across America event every year. RCAA wants to "raise awareness—particularly among children and their parents and teachers—that video-based media can be just as effective at encouraging and fostering reading skills as books, as long as captions are always turned on!"

Excellent information from the University of Washington's DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology) serves to increase the successful participation of individuals with disabilities in challenging academic programs and careers, such as those in science, engineering, mathematics, and technology: Creating Video and Multimedia Products That Are Accessible to People with Sensory Impairments, by Sheryl Burgstahler, Ph.D. "And How Universal Design Features Benefit Everyone". PDF version.

Social Media

Does Twitter need a wake-up call? This article says that user "accessibility is crucial for social media sites that want to stay successful. Now Twitter is risking its future by not taking accessibility seriously".

With that in mind, read this review of Twitter.com versus AccessibleTwitter.com!

For those who still find social media boring, here's a great "matchmaking" story from the Twitter community.

On Jan 20, 2009, @scenariogirl writes "@briankelly Fantastic talk this morning, I will come up and say hi at lunch". On Jan 23, 2009, @scenariogirl writes "massive thanks and kudos to @briankelly for adding context & purpose to my accessibility methodology i.e. Accessibility isn't binary." Later that month, a talk is born: "From Web Accessibility 2.0 to Web Adaptability". Finally, six months later, a paper is published.

Rather sweet, don't you think? It's also proof that Twitter isn't just vapid chatter! That paper is pretty amazing as discussed in our Toward Web Adaptability blog post back in July.

Web Accessibility

Have you been told to investigate the Web Accessibility Accessibility Guidelines? Tom Babinszki set up a nice WCAG 2.0 tutorial that is a very user-friendly introduction to the large body of W3C documents.

If you struggle with the alt and title attributes in HTML, you may enjoy this article by Steve Faulkner of The Paciello Group. The problem is often due to different ways of rendering the information depending on the browser, so Steve did some testing, which may improve your understanding.

Gaming

There is a need to make video games accessible for disabled gamers. This article discusses the benefits of using video games for people with disabilities, and why the video game industry should keep such customers in mind. Otherwise, "they are missing out on a great way to improve their games' brand equity."

Able Gamers "gets" the concept of accessible games. They review games to determine how playable the games are for gamers with disabilities. It's a good site for game developers to monitor. An interview with Able Gamers' Mark Barlet explains why.

What happens when a person who is not a gamer-with-a-disability starts thinking about video game accessibility? Read the article in that hyperlink to find out!

Conferences

What conference to attend? Where to go?

Our first recommendation is – of course! – the STC Technical Communication Summit 2010 in Dallas, May 2-5.

For other conference resources, try

Exhibits

From the comfort of your home, wherever you are in the world, you can explore the Smithsonian's Disability Rights Movement online exhibit. It shows information about with disabilities and the Disability Rights Movement.

eBooks

Did you know that Baen Books Offers Free eBooks For People With Disabilities? There have been some sign-in difficulties, as @vavroom writes. However, when you do gain access, their entire catalogue of e-books is available "to people who have a reading disability. This can be visual impairment or physical inability to hold a book."

See also Books for Visually Impaired from the Benicia Public Library.

Boomers/Silver Surfers

You may not have a disability yourself, but there is a good chance that you will grow older! That means you can't avoid discussion about baby boomers, senior citizens, the elderly, silver surfers – or whatever you want to call the older/oldest generation using the web and technology.

Some Senior citizens becoming more comfortable with using Internet. However, how do those "boomers" use technology, and what can we learn from their attitudes? The article includes a link to a full report in PDF format.

Another resource is Microsoft's free, online "Computer Guide for Boomers".

Showcase

Recently, @vick08 tweeted that "this is the web I'd like it to be." He was talking about the BBC's approach to accessibility – "my web, my way". Take a moment to explore what BBC has done with accessibility on their (massive) site. Get inspired for your work and learn along the way.

In contrast, we have the government site for New York City. Jim Thatcher reviews the site and gives his verdict about the accessibility of NYC.org (once available on dotgov.com). Oh dear, get inspired about what you should not do for your work!

Quotes

We close this week's gazette with some food for thought.

"Society is disabled in its inability to include the diversity of human experience equitably. Society needs an inclusion prostheses." – @jasonnolan

"The only disability in life is a bad attitude" – Scott Hamilton

Link Contributors

This post was glued together with links or inspiration from many people. They are listed with their Twitter names.

@mpaciello
@TVRaman
@AbilityNet
@AccessibleTwitr
@webaxe
@Twitter_Tips
@LinkAbilities
@tbabinszki
@stevefaulkner
@jfc3
@aebsr
@raspberryfrog
@jebswebs
@NCTI2
@michaeljanger
@Disabilitygov
@vick08
@Jennison
@briankelly
@justfordeaf
@DeafnessGuide
@ablegamers
@AquinasWI
@ESCrossroads
@IBMAccess
@GlendaWH
@BethAARP
@NADtweets
@grwebguy
@anikto
@vavroom

Thanks to all of you!

Mental Health

Last updated: May 26, 2016

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