accessibility


The International Association of Accessibility Professionals (IAAP) needs your feedback on our roadmap for accessibility certification. And we need you to help get the word out to the accessibility community. Spread the word on Twitter, Facebook, blogs, that the IAAP really, really wants your feedback.

Here is the roadmap as it stands now:

A Conceptual Roadmap for IAAP Accessibility Certification

IAAP is still in the early stages of designing the certification, so your feedback is most valuable now, before IAAP commits to a certain path.

Here are some questions to consider as you read the roadmap: (questions written by Paul Bohman)
* What do you think of the roadmap overall?
* What would you do to improve our roadmap?
* What do you think of the levels of certification outlined in the roadmap?
* Are there any broad Knowledge Domains and Roles that we have left off that should be included?
* Do you like our list of Digital Accessibility areas of certification? Should we add to or subtract from this list? (For example, one person commented that we should add gaming to the list.)
* Do you like the idea of certifying for these areas separately, in a modular approach as we have done? (See the section on Referencing IAAP Credentials for an explanation of how this might work)
* Do you like the 3 year period for certification? Would you make it shorter (2 years) or longer (5 years)?
* What kind of certification assessment would you create? Keep in mind that it has to be a valid and meaningful test of the right kind of competencies, it must be challenging enough that novices could not pass it without first studying or gaining experience, it must be scalable (not too burdensome to administer or grade/score the assessment), and translatable into other languages.
* Once certification becomes available, do you think you would go through the process to become certified? Why or why not?
* What else should we consider as we move forward?

Don’t be shy! Speak up and help make our field of expertise a recognized profession!

I bet my accessibility toolbelt is bigger than yours! I’m always collecting free accessibility tools. Why? Because I like to see what each one does and how it can help me be a better tester. My current toolbelt includes:

FireFox Accessibility Tools

In a class by itself, is FireEyes. A free testing tool that will blow your socks off (once you get it installed in a compatible environment). FireEyes is built on the following stack:

  • FireFox
  • FireBug
  • FireEyes

The “how to” for FireEyes installation at FireEyes FAQ

Once you install FireEyes….you will have the super power of accessibility heat vision that you have always craved!

Now…if you happen to be working in an environment where you want/need to test in Chrome and/or IE…here are some additional tools to consider:

Chrome Accessibility Tools

IE Accessibility Tools

So…now that I’ve shown you my toolbelt…will you show me yours? What accessibility tools have you discovered that I don’t have yet? Inquiring minds want to know!

Web equality. Cool super powers. No cape required.

Don’t wait! Whether you are a coder, a designer, a nonprofit recipient, or a volunteer you can join the coolest web design competition around. Sign up today as a super group or a single hero!

The Accessibility Internet Rally is a community hackathon with a unique twist – accessibility! Open-AIR increases awareness of the tools and techniques that make the Internet accessible to everyone – including people with disabilities. AIR benefits nonprofit organizations and schools in your community by providing them with free, professionally designed, accessible websites.

Teams of professional web developers learn skills to create accessible web content and then use those new skills to create accessible websites for local community groups. The result: dozens of professionally designed, accessible websites are donated to nonprofit groups and hosted for free for one year.

Get signed up now by by visiting Knowbility’s OpenAir Registration

10.23.13 Kick-Off | 11.23.13 Rally Day

Today, May 9th, is Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). The point of this day is to increase awareness of the importance of digital accessibility for all people. This outreach is for both geeks and non-geeks. It is for accessibility in learning, playing, working and enjoying life on the web. Because when it comes right down to it the web really is for everyone. So what are you going to do today to celebrate GAAD? Here are a few ideas:

Ideas for Celebrating Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD)

  • Real People, Real Lives, Real Accessibility – Watch the accessibility story of Aleeha and see how technology is allowing her to overcome her disability and study to become the first blind veterinarian.
  • Experience Loss of Dexterity – Trying switching your mouse to your non-dominent hand for an hour. See what it would be like to use the web without your current level of dexterity.
  • Experience Keyboard Only – Try using your favorite web page without a mouse. If you hit a road block realize that people who use screen readers or have dexterity issues and can’t use a mouse would not have equal access to this site. Consider sending a message via the “contact us” form for that site asking them to make their site more accessible.
  • Experience Reduced Vision – Dim the screen on your mobile phone and try to use it in bright sunlight. See what it would be like to have reduced vision and a lack of clear color perception.
  • Sign up for the online version of AccessUAccessU at Your Desk – Learn more about accessibility from the comfort of your own desk. What a great line-up of speakers and topics.
  • Apply for a $10,000 Accessibility Grant - Apply for the Amaze Digital Accessibility Grant. Deque has extended the deadline for submission through today. What would you do with $10,000 to make the web more accessible through innovative technology or an amazing new project?
  • Try using a screen reader.
    • ChromeVox – Try ChromeVox, a free screen reader for the Chrome Browser. I’ll tell you, the interactive ChomeVox Tutorial is really awesome.
    • VoiceOver – If you have a mac, try VoiceOver (it is already on on your computer).
    • NVDA – Try using the open source screen reader NVDA for PCs. Great instructions on getting started can be found at

Additional News and Resources of Global Accessibility Awareness Day

What did I do last year? I spent one hour using the web without my mouse. I reported my findings last year at “Accessibility Awareness: My 1 Mouseless Hour on the Web” .

What am I going to do this year? I’m going to use ChromeVox (a free and powerful screen reader) to explore Google Docs. I’ll share my findings in an upcoming Tweetchat as well as a post to my blog.

I’ve been living in the world of digital accessibility for over a decade now. I know so much about helping people who are blind, deaf and/or mobility impaired. But the area I’m weakest in, is cognitive disabilities. And, let’s be honest, that topic can feel overwhelming. Where are the lines about what is possible and reasonable to do for cognitive disabilities? Who can I turn to when I have questions on this topic?

One of the visionaries in the field of digital accessibility and cognitive disabilities is Lisa Seeman. She is really helping me understand that the time has come to further our research in this area. Why now? Because cognitive disabilities are more prevalent than all the other disabilities put together. We’ve spent over ten years focusing on blind, deaf and mobility/dexterity. Yes, at first the concept of cognitive disabilities may feel intimidating, but stop and remember when someone first told you that a blind person could use a computer and we needed to make our sites accessible to screen readers. That was pretty mind-boggling too. We didn’t let that challenge stop us, now did we?

Let’s stop being blind and deaf to the opportunities that await us in the realm of digital accessibility for people with cognitive disabilities.

AccessU is Knowbility’s annual conference that provides three days of accessibility classes and workshops. As Austin begins to warm toward summer, there is no cooler place to be than with the passionate speakers and instructors for this May’s AccessU! How can you resist all these wonderful accessibility courses and workshops from the world’s best instructors?

This year, some of the highlighted speakers and topics include include:

  • Henny Swan from the BBC, who will focus on Mobile Accessibility
  • Shawn Lauriat from Google, who will help us take on accessibility challenges in Complex Web Applications
  • Molly E. Holzschlag from Knowbility, who will demystify the emerging Open Web Platform.

Be sure to check out the AccessU full course schedule to learn more about all of the fantastic presenters and content, as well as opportunities for socializing and networking during evening events.

AccessU keeps close to the heart of the ideologies of Open Web – that the Web we create must transcend the platforms, operating systems, browsers and most importantly – societal barriers imposed on anyone seeking access to the information and services we create every day. To do this well is a fine art as well as deep technology.

Come and join in for a great experience that will leave you with new learning, inspiration and passion for building the Web – the way the Web was meant to be!

Want to change education for the better? Even if you are not from Texas…I need your help! Please send an email to the Honorable Jimmie Don Aycock in support of HB 3586. (see sample letter at bottom of this post) Let’s make it loud and clear to the Texas Legislature that education needs to be accessible.

Call to Action:

Students with disabilities, who are served in Texas schools, need your help. Please consider writing a letter of support or position statement for HB 3586. This bill will help move our schools toward providing learning and assessment materials that can be accessed by all students in an equally effective manner.

HB 3586 was recently filed by Texas State Representative, Mark Strama to form an Accessible Learning Materials Council. This Council will:

  1. Study issues related to improving the academic success of students with disabilities using accessible learning materials for instruction and accommodations on assessment instruments that will allow use of assistive technology devices or software;
  2. Make recommendations to change existing requirements, law, rules, or policies to require that assistive technology and accessible learning materials be available for instruction and use in the administration of assessment instruments;
  3. Produce biennial reports on the status of providing accessible learning materials for public school students with disabilities, including accommodations used in the administration of assessment instruments; and
  4. Establish accessibility and procurement standards to provide accessible learning materials for students with disabilities that are as effective as materials and assessment instruments provided to students without disabilities.

Desired Outcome of Action:

Persuade members of the Public Education Committee to hold a hearing on HB 3586

Action Steps

  1. Write a letter or position statement in support of HB 3586. ( see sample letter below ) If writing on behalf of an organization, please use the organization’s letterhead.
  2. Address your letter or position statement to:
    Texas House Public Education Committee
    The Honorable Jimmie Don Aycock, Chairman
    jimmie.aycock@house.state.tx.us
    P.O. Box 2910
    Austin, TX 78768-2910
  3. Salutation should read:
    Dear Chairman Aycock and Members of the Texas House Public Education Committee:
  4. Provide your name, phone number, and email address at the bottom of your letter or position statement and sign it.
  5. Email your letter or position statement to the following members of the K-12 Accessibility workgroup so that they can take a copy of it to each member of the House Public Education Committee:

Sample HB 3586 Letter

To: Jimmie Don Aycock
cc: k12accessibility@gmail.com

Texas House Public Education Committee
The Honorable Jimmie Don Aycock, Chairman
P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768-2910

Dear Chairman Aycock and Members of the Texas House Public Education Committee,

I positively support HB 3586 and its purpose of providing accessible and usable public school assessment materials for all students regardless of their abilities or disabilities. There is a definite gap in these services and students with disabilities are the only ones at a disadvantage. This has a real impact for successful independent lives.
Thank you in advance for working to pass this legislation.

Your name
Your phone number
Your email address

I just sent my own letter. I personalized it with information about my web accessibility experience and added my resume. If you are an expert in this field, you may want to use my email as your starting point:

Texas House Public Education Committee
The Honorable Jimmie Don Aycock, Chairman
P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768-2910

Dear Chairman Aycock and Members of the Texas House Public Education Committee,

I positively support HB 3586 and its purpose of providing accessible and usable public school assessment materials for all students regardless of their abilities or disabilities. There is a definite gap in these services and students with disabilities are the only ones at a disadvantage. This has a real impact for successful independent lives.

As an expert in the field of web accessibility, I solemnly swear that this is a reasonable and achievable requirement for K-12 education. There are numerous lawsuits and settlements in higher education based on universities not providing equal access to digital resources. Act now before we get hit with a lawsuit.

I’ve attached my resume so you can verify my experience in web accessibility.

Thank you in advance for working to pass this legislation.

my name
my address
my phone number
my email address

The Amaze Digital Accessibility Grant is a $10,000 grant that will be awarded to the applicant whose submission best exemplifies an innovative technology or project that will contribute to removing barriers on the web. All applications will be reviewed by a panel of Deque accessibility experts, and a winner will be selected from the finalists by Deque senior leadership team.

In addition to receiving the $10,000 grant, the winning applicant will receive a stipend of up to $5,000 to attend the 2014 CSUN Conference where they will present their project and share an update on how it’s going.

The grant website is now live at http://www.deque.com/amazegrant. Applications are due by May 1st, 2013.

So fire up your imagination and help make #a11y history!

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