A Resolution for an Accessible New Year?

Last updated: March 6, 2015

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This year, Glenda Sims made a wish for a more accessible web. It's not nice to spoil someone's good wish, but I don't think she'll get her wish for Christmas. Santa would definitely need many, many helpers like fairy godmothers, Mary Poppins, and, well, you get the idea.

That's where you come in.

I hope you know about the Fix the Web project. (If not, do hop over and read about it, and then come back here for one more tip.)

There are more fantastic resources for reporting and grading the accessibility of websites.

EOWG and their resources

Here's an entire recipe for contacting organizations about inaccessibile websites. This marvelous resource helps you identify who you need to contact, assists you in how to describe the problem, and strongly encourages you to follow-up as needed. Let's give a round of applause or a waving of hands to the awesome volunteers in the Education and Outreach Working Group in the W3C's Web Accessibility Initiative for making such a useful resource available to us.

(Waving of hands?? Yes, that is how deaf people applaud. It's rather cool.)

Access Grade

Next up? Access Grade. Recently, Access Grade has appeared for giving grades to websites on their accessibility. Access Grade wants to

CrowdSource website accessibility! This means we want to use feedback from real users like you that use screen readers or other assistive technologies to navigate the web to inform our algorithms about the accessibility of websites. Our algorithms will learn about the web through your input, and eventually, we hope, get good enough so that they can make accurate predictions about the accessibility of websites, just by examining the HTML code of these sites.


Finally, there's the a11y bugs project. This is a project to squash the bugs in browsers that are barriers to accessibility on the web. Why a11ybugs, and not accessibilitybugs? Accessibility is a long word, so someone somewhere shortened it. 11 is the number of letters between the first and last letter of the word "accessibility". It becomes a plus 11 plus y, which gives you "a11y". You may recognize this trick from internationalization (i18n) and localization (l10n).

Let's go!

So… If you think some of these projects are too geeky for you to handle, stop a moment. Why not use your skills of observation, evaluation, and communication to promote these resources? Maybe you don't know the actual code that is causing problems, but you can recognize a frustrated user experience, right? Think about what went wrong and think about what would fix the problem (aside from dropping that website and visiting another). Share your conclusions and practice your communication magic by helping to make web developers and designers aware of the problems on their website.

After all, doesn't everyone have the right to easy access to information on the web? I have the feeling the community of people who care about accessibility – and doing something about it – is growing. It's a personal gut feeling from reading tweets over the past three years and noticing that it's not just the usual suspects tweeting about accessibility issues.

Will 2012 be a tipping point for getting more people involved in making the web a universally accessible place? Your actions count!

Participate in the face-to-face meeting of the W3C WAI EOWG

Last updated: March 6, 2015

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Message received from Shawn Henry

The W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) Education and Outreach Working Group (EOWG) will be meeting face-to-face on 1-2 November 2010 in Lyon, France. We plan to work on enhancing functionality of "How to Meet WCAG 2.0", redesigning the WAI website, expanding training materials, and updating evaluation resources, as listed at https://www.w3.org/WAI/EO/2010/11f2f#read If you are interested in participating in EOWG, coming to this face-to-face meeting would be a good opportunity to learn more about the group. If you might want to attend, please give me a call at +1-617-395-7664 or e-mail email hidden; JavaScript is required *by Wednesday 20 October*.

W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) welcomes participation from individuals and organizations to help make the Web more accessible to people with disabilities. WAI's Education and Outreach Working Group (EOWG) is looking for participants from industry, disability organizations, accessibility research, government, and others interested in Web accessibility. We are specifically looking for web accessibility advocates, developers, trainers, educators, evaluators, researchers, and editors to help EOWG with:
* copyediting
* drafting documents and incorporating group feedback, as a lead editor
* user interface / user interaction design
* CSS, javascript, and other development
* wiki editing
* print design
* testing with assistive technologies and adaptive strategies

You can work with WAI education and outreach through:

1. Joining the EOWG mailing list and commenting on documents in development.
To sign up for the EOWG mailing list, follow the instructions at https://www.w3.org/WAI/EO/participation.html#mail

2. Joining as an active participant in the Working Group by committing 4 or more hours per week to EOWG work.
If you are considering this option, please read the information at https://www.w3.org/WAI/EO/participation.html#participant and contact me to schedule a time to discuss your possible participation.

For more information on Participating in WAI generally, including a list of other Working Groups, please see https://www.w3.org/WAI/participation

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

~Shawn Henry, EOWG Chair

Shawn Lawton Henry
W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI)
e-mail: email hidden; JavaScript is required
phone: +1.617.395.7664
about: https://www.w3.org/People/Shawn/