July - September 2012
Volume 6 Issue 4 

Welcome to the Great Lakes ADA Center's quarterly Accessible Technology Bulletin

Technology Trainings & Events
(Central Standard Time)

Abilities Expo
June 28 - July 1, 2012
Chicago, IL
Abilities Expo is a free expo with items and services for the disability community. The forum has products and resources for people with disabilities, their families, seniors, vets, caregivers and healthcare professionals. For more information visit: www.abilitiesexpo.com
Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA) Annual Conference
June 28 - July 3, 2012
Baltimore, MD
If you are working in the field of assistive technology or rehabilitation engineering, studying or just interested in the field, then this is the conference for you! You will be able to learn about the latest advances in technology solutions for persons with disability and network with others with similar interests while earning continuing education credit. For more information: www.resna.org/conference/
Association on Higher Education and Disability(AHEAD)
July 9 - 14, 2012
New Orleans, LA
The annual international AHEAD conference brings together professionals in the fields of higher education and disability for a week of information-sharing, networking and theoretical and practical training. There are strands on technology for people with disabilities. For more information visit: www.ahead.org
Emerging Technologies for Online Learning Symposium
July 25 - 27, 2012
Las Vegas, NV
The conference is designed to bring together individuals interested in the technological aspects of online learning. There is a fee for this conference. For more information: sloanconsortium.org
Annual Conference on Distance Teaching and Learning
August 8 - 10, 2012
Madison, WI
The Annual Conference on Distance Teaching & Learning is recognized internationally for the quality and integrity of its program. Each year the conference provides an exchange of current resources, research, and best practices from around the world that are relevant to the design and delivery of distance education/training. There is a strand on accessible distance learning. For more information visit: www.uwex.edu/disted
Web Accessibility Training
August 29 - 30, 2012
Logan, UT
This hands-on training session, sponsored by Webaim, will teach basic web accessibility principles and to advanced accessibility techniques. For more information: www.webaim.org/training
Barrier Free e-Learning Course
July 9 - 30, 2012
The course is based on the realization that faculty are placing content inside a courseware management system which is responsible for achieving most Web Accessibility meaning faculty normally only need to know a limited set of accessibility features. The course demonstrates how faculty can achieve accessibility while using authoring applications they already know. Creating accessible course content can be easier than many believe.For more information go to: easi.cc
Accessibility of Web Authoring Tools
August 14, 2012 1PM CST
Having access to online interactions is no longer optional but an essential part of participating in society. This session will discuss how authoring and development tools can be designed to support the creation of accessible content, even by authors who are neither motivated nor knowledgeable about accessible Web content guidelines. For more information go to: Accessible Technology Webinar Series.
Challenges to Using Apps as Assistive Technology
August 14, 2012 2:30 PM
The iPad and apps are hot - everyone has one or wants one, but do they meet the needs of Assistive Technology users and the professionals who serve them? What should professionals be looking for when evaluating an App as Assistive Technology? What questions should researchers include in their research evaluation of apps? What should AT app developers be including in the apps that are designed as Assistive Technology? For more information go to: www.atia.org/webinars
Emerging Professional Development Trends for Assistive Technology
August 28, 2012 2:30PM
Finding appropriate Assistive Technology supports for students with disabilities is only half the battle. Once this critical step is complete, the process of training and support for the student begins. Unfortunately, due to time and other constraints, training on implementation is rarely reached, which is likely one of the reasons we see such high levels of AT abandonment across the country. During this session the presenter will discuss emerging trends and practical tips for providing effective professional development and support to those that use Assistive Technology. For more information go to: www.atia.org/webinars

Attend the Next Accessible Technology Webinar

The Accessible Technology Webinar series is hosted and coordinated by the Great Lakes ADA Center and the Pacific ADA Center on behalf of the ADA National Network.

The ADA National Network provides comprehensive services for up-to-date information, consultation, referrals, resources, and training on the Americans with Disabilities Act for businesses, employers, governmental entities, service providers and individuals with disabilities.

Next Session: August 14, 2012 1:00 - 2:30pm CST
Accessibility of Web Authoring Tools with speaker Jutta Treviranus, Director of the Inclusive Design Research Center

Session Description

Almost everyone is currently a Web author. Having access to online interactions is no longer optional but an essential part of participating in society. Not everyone can be made aware of, learn, understand and be motivated to apply Web accessibility guidelines no matter how hard we try. However, almost everyone that creates Web content or Web applications and services uses authoring tools, component toolkits and development systems. This session will discuss how authoring and development tools can be designed to support the creation of accessible content, even by authors who are neither motivated nor knowledgeable about accessible Web content guidelines.

About Our Speaker

Jutta Treviranus is the director of the Inclusive Design Research Centre (IDRC) and professor in the faculty of Design at OCAD University in Toronto. The IDRC is an internationally recognized center of expertise in the inclusive design of emerging information and communication technology and practices. Jutta is also the co-director of Raising the Floor and GPII. Jutta and her team have pioneered personalization as an approach to accessibility in the digital domain. Her team also leads many international open source projects that attempt to infuse inclusive design sensibilities into open source networks. She has played a leading role in developing accessibility legislation, standards and specifications internationally. She is the Chair of the W3C WAI Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines Working Group.

WebAIM Screen Reader Results In

In May 2012, WebAIM, conducted a survey of over a thousand screen reader users to document user preferences and trends in screen reader technology. The survey was a follow-up to the original WebAIM Screen reader survey first released January 2009.

Some of the key findings include:
  • JAWS is still the primary screen reader, but usage continues to decrease as usage of NVDA and VoiceOver increases.
  • 98.6% of respondents had JavaScript enabled.
  • The perception of free or low-cost screen readers is improving.
  • The perception of accessibility of web content is decreasing.
  • 72% of the respondents use a screen reader on a mobile device, up from only 12% three years ago.
  • iOS device usage is significantly increasing and well above that of the standard population. Screen reader users represent a notable portion of the iOS device user market. Usage of Android devices is well below that of non-disabled users.
  • The use of properly structured headings remains of great importance.
  • The items that cause the most difficulty on the web remain largely unchanged over the last 2.5 years, with inaccessible Flash content and CAPTCHA being the most problematic.

To read the full report: http://webaim.org/projects/screenreadersurvey4/

WebAIM's mission is to expand the potential of the web for people with disabilities by providing the knowledge, technical skills, tools, organizational leadership strategies, and vision that empower organizations to make their own content accessible to people with disabilities. For more information visit: http://webaim.org/

Inclusive Mobile Experiences: Beyond the Guidelines and Standards

There are no universally accepted accessibility standards for mobile web accessibility. The technology is developing at a blistering pace, constantly changing. We are the ones who stay the same. Human beings, of whatever capabilities, are who we are designing the experience for, not the device, not the operating system and not to determine if apps are better than mobile websites. An approach that seeks only to create a new set of standards, a mobile version of WCAG, runs the risk of being out of date before it is even published, let alone universally accepted by the mobile design and development community.

What standards apply to mobile? A few years ago the Reciprocal Interoperability of Accessible and Mobile Webs (RIAM) research project examined that question. They attempted to map the Mobile Web Best Practices (MWBP) to WCAG 2.0. The MWBP are concerned with usable mobile experiences, and the research project assessed whether these could be mapped to WCAG 2 to devise a possible mobile accessibility standard. While this was an attractive idea, there are limitations to this approach - WCAG 2.0 was developed for browsers, has almost no mobile-style gestural interactions and additionally, this mapping was done in July 2008 and last updated in June 2009.

However, since June 2009:
  • iPhone 3Gs with VoiceOver, iPhone 4 and iPhone 4s with Siri were all released. iPhone 3, available at the time of RIAM standards work, didn't have VoiceOver as part of its operating system or Siri, a kind of artificial intelligence in a mobile device.
  • Android has released several versions of its OS including Donut, clair, FroYo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb and Ice cream Sandwich. In the last 6 months of 2011, more than 30 devices were released by various manufacturers on different versions of Android OS
  • Windows phone 7 and 7.5 Mango releasedWindows Phone 8 code-named Apollo to come mid 2012
  • In June 2009, one of the most innovative mobile devices didn't exist at all. We had no tablets. Revolutionary devices released since June 2009 include iPad 1, iPad 2 and iPad HD as well as Galaxy tab and more

We are drowning in mobile devices and operating systems, technology that is literally changing on a weekly basis yet with nothing substantial in guidelines to enable us to determine if the experiences we are designing are accessible, inclusive or even usable for people with disabilities. None of the existing guidelines, mapped or not, cover these new, gesture-based interactions in any meaningful way and new interactions evolve with every mobile application or web site. The question is, is it possible to have a consistent, relevant and meaningful set of guidelines that are always up to date and universally accepted, to cover accessible mobile experiences?

We must stay focused on accessibility and inclusion. We must design for human capabilities. The development of the mobile accessible experience is more often than not being driven by the device manufacturers rather than people with accessibility needs. It's also focusing too intensively on the visually impaired experience. It's time to bring the focus back to all users with accessibility requirements to understand what an inclusive mobile experience means for them. This will allow their requirements to drive the formation of guidelines and standards rather than outdated standards mapping exercises completed in isolation, re-hashing of standards that are applicable to some other form of technology or interaction altogether, or device manufacturers devising whatever they think the experience should be. A user-centered approach is the core principle of this research piece, including one-on-one interviews, contextual inquiry to understand how users interact with their devices in the real world, and usability testing of core types of mobile tasks. These tasks can include fact-finding, shopping, information retrieval and comparing products as were used in the Nielsen Norman web accessibility testing study completed in 2001. Additional mobile context tasks would be included such as geo-located activities, use of mobile device capabilities such as the camera and overall gestural interactions. Using this proven inclusive approach we can understand the mobile usage context and intent for each of the disability groups with the main focus being on touch and gesture-based interfaces.

Utilizing "user stories" a repeatable engagement method can be created for involving users to sense check new mobile advancements as to how well they provide an inclusive experience. User stories are natural language statements describing a requirement from the user perspective structured in the following fashion: As a "user role" I can "do this task" so that "I get this benefit". Requirements will be articulated as "user stories" and one user story can potentially cross over several standards. Once a fully representative set of user story requirements has been established, a gap analysis can be performed against existing standards to see which requirements are covered and which requirements will need a new standard to be created. For example, the need for images to have appropriately labeled ALT tags is relevant to mobile standards and is already covered in WCAG 2. Each new "user story" discovered through repeatable research engagements can be analyzed against the set of guidelines and standards developed for mobile and touch to see whether it is covered either technically or by standards-based best practice. This will allow for a user centered "living" set of standards to evolve.

Adapted and reprinted with permission from Inclusive Mobile Experience: Beyond the Guidelines and Standards Online Symposium on Mobile Accessibility by Katja Forbes. http://www.w3.org/WAI/RD/2012/mobile/paper5/

A Free Toolbar to Evaluate Websites for Accessibility

WAVE is a free web accessibility evaluation tool provided by WebAIM. It is used to aid humans in the web accessibility evaluation process. Rather than providing a complex technical report, WAVE shows the original web page with embedded icons and indicators that reveal the accessibility of that page. From the mail Wave site http://wave.webaim.org/ you can, enter a URL, upload a file, or enter HTML code directly to receive the overview report. In addition WAVE can be installed as a Firefox toolbar, a Dreamweaver Extension, or Google toolbar.

The Accessible Technology Webinar series is featuring a webinar on WAVE on October 9, 2012. Don't miss it, register today at http://www.ada-audio.org/Webinar/AccessibleTechnology/


The Great Lakes ADA Center provides expert assistance via a national toll-free information line 800-949-4232 (V/TTY) or Online via Contact Us and presents customized trainings for employers, businesses, government, and individuals with disabilities regarding accessible technology and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990.

Great Lakes ADA and Accessible IT Center
University of Illinois at Chicago
Department of Disability and Human Development (MC 728)
1640 West Roosevelt Road, Room 405
Chicago, IL 60608-6904

Last Updated on:
Wed Jul 3, 2013