Accessibility Day in Vienna

Last week I talked at the Vienna Accessibility Day (“A-Tag”) about the emerging W3C standard for Accessible Rich Internet Applications (ARIA). The presentation went well as I included code fragments and screencasts of ARIA demos, though I lost the audience a little when I started to speak about the JavaScript that is required to add keyboard access to more complex widgets. ;) So I revised that slide and added another one pointing to tab navigation widgets in various JavaScript frameworks as Christian Heilmann suggested.

You can see and download the slides at Slideshare (German). As I promised to write a detailed post about ARIA enhanced tab navigation for the Webkrauts web standards advent calendar (think of a German version of 24 ways) you will be able to enjoy an English tutorial soon. Never mind the references to Chris in the slides — I had to choose an example from my flickr pictures, and I believe there are too many presentations already with kittens.

The conference was surprisingly innovative: I half expected a crowd of suits as the event was co-organized by the Austrian Ministry of Health, Family and Youth, instead there were many young faces and a fair percentage of women. Things I have learned (and tweeted about) include:

  • As of January 2009, websites sponsored by the Austrian Ministry of Health will only receive funding when they are accessible. That doesn’t come as a surprise as a European Ministerial Declaration in 2006 announced that accessibility and best practices could become mandatory in public procurement in 2010.
  • Artur Ortega showed examples of Dirk Ginader’s accessibility features for Yahoo! Finance, including two input fields where the labels were dynamically updated after a currency was chosen. So a screenreader read “convert pound sterling to euros” instead of “convert currency to currency.”
  • One reason for JavaScript enhanced HTML controls for Flash objects like Yahoo! video is that the Flash object cannot get tab focus when the wmode param is set to opaque or transparent. Still without that param it is impossible to tab into a Flash object in Firefox 3. Or did I overlook something?
  • Designer Maria Putzhuber quoted an interesting delusion: 70% of designers believe that visitors are almost always able to maintain orientation while in fact just 10% of the visitors are able to achieve this. What do you think is the reason?

Deutsche Fassung

View SlideShare presentation

Comments are closed.