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Webmaster Jam Session Live: Real World Accessibility keynote

Nick Finck

September 22, 2007 at 3:51 PM

Ok, so after four sessions (one roundtable, one panel, one platinum session and one presentation) I am pretty beat, but I am looking forward to the last presentation of the day, Derek Featherstone’s closing keynote on Real World Accessibility… well that, and the Adobe/Coffee Cup party tonight! I can sleep later. I am live blogging this one.

Derek just took the stage after J doing his intro and thanking everyone for the conference. Derek points out that there is someone signing for a deaf attendee in the front row and is happy to see a conference putting accessibility in the forefront like that.

Ok, now Derek is swashing the “compliance” issue were it leads to a checklist syndrome. He uses the analogy that if we have rounded corners and gradients we are web 2.0 compliant. It just doesn’t work that way. He goes into a story about how a client didn’t care about one accessibility aspect cause it wasn’t on their compliance checklist. It doesn’t make since. It can be our start point but it can’t be our end point. Looking at accessibility as user experience expands our horizons.

Molly is heckling again :) She was calling out what Derek’s solution for radio buttons being more accessible to users who don’t have highly precision input devices such as using your knuckle to click on something. His “hack” is to use a user-side CSS file to increase the size of the radio button. Molly was saying he shouldn’t call it a “hack”.

Derek had a pretty good example of how someone with a screen reader can not use Google Maps since the map navigating buttons are not in fact buttons at all, they are divs. So seeing that he wanted to have a map on his ironfeather site he use the Google Maps API to hide their div-button zoom features and instead created his own zoom features that use the button tag.

Now Derek is talking about Flickr and editing the title element of a photo page. He points out the new addition of the edit link so people with keyboards can access this functionality that they may have not noticed before.

On to Amazon with a screen reader. He’s doing a search and the JS menu pops up. Then the screen reader had to read the source attribute of the image tag because there is not alt text.

Designers and developers need to work better together. And what I mean by that is translating from visual to code. He goes into an example of how someone designed a menu and how a developer built it.

One last example, crazy accessible crossword puzzle made out of XHTML form fields styled by CSS with a little bit of javascript. You gotta see it to really understand how crazy this thing is.

Derek is starting to wrap up. Its all about the people! Git ‘r dun!


Bob Way

September 25, 2007 at 10:05 AM

Nick, I have to say that this was really a great conference. It was hard to choose which session to attend. I know that I left with a lot of information rolling around in my head and am just starting to organize it. I felt so priviledged to hear all of the speakers and then hang out with them afterwards. Thanks to you and all the folks at BlueFlavor and Digital-Web for supporting the session and I look forward to Jamming with you all next year.

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