Archive for May, 2011

Today I read very powerful words about the right for everyone to have equal access to education from the U.S. Office of Civil Rights. If you are in edu, do all your students, regardless of disabilities, have equal access to course content? See what the Office of Civil Rights has to say:

All school operations are subject to the nondiscrimination requirements of Section 504 and the ADA. Thus, all faculty and staff must comply with these requirements.

Section 504 and the ADA require that covered entities designate at least one person to coordinate their compliance efforts, and that they adopt and publish grievance procedures to resolve complaints of noncompliance. In addition, postsecondary schools often designate certain staff or offices (sometimes referred to as disability student-services offices) to assist students with disabilities.

The law applies to all faculty and staff, not just a Section 504 or ADA coordinator or staff members designated to assist students with disabilities. All faculty and staff must comply with the nondiscrimination requirements of Section 504 and the ADA in their professional interactions with students, because these interactions are part of the operations of the school. So, for example, if an adjunct faculty member denies a student who is blind an equal opportunity to participate in a course by assigning inaccessible course content, the school can be held legally responsible for the faculty member’s actions. Therefore, schools should provide, and faculty and staff should participate in, professional development about accessibility and emerging technology, and about the role of faculty and staff in helping the school to comply with disability discrimination laws.

Source: OCR FAQ on eBooks

I am a minimalist. I believe that simple solutions are better. So, when it comes to tabindex, I rarely invite “him” to the accessibility party. Why? Because if you will just write the source code in the same order you need the items for the visual presentation, then tabindex is not necessary. But there are two decent reasons for using tabindex.

  • tabindex = “0” to add something that is not a link or a form field to the tab order.
  • tabindex = “-1” to keep something out of the default tab order, but make it focusable using the javascript focus(). Remember to use progressive enhancement.

When you specify the tab index on visible elements, remember the following:

  • Elements with tabIndex=0 are ordered based on the source
  • Any element with tabIndex>0 appears before all elements with tabIndex=0
  • Any elements with the same tabIndex are ordered based on the source order

These features work in Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera and Chrome, but they are undocumented. So, always play it safe. Build the core functionality in with pure HTML. Add CSS to enhance the presentation. Add javascript to enhance the experience. Have your source code order match the visual presentation order (after CSS is applied). Remember that all form fields and links are automatically in the tab order (so tabindex is redundant on these elements if you just have good source code order). When in doubt, leave tabindex out!

I recently went to see my dear friends, Rhonda & Lindsey, play in a softball tournament with the Son’s of Pitches. It was seriously the most entertaining softball tournament I’ve ever been to in my life. While I was there, I got to try Vodka Gummy Bears for the very first time. It will probably come as no surprise to you…I loved them. So…before I ate too many, I begged for the recipe.


  • 1 pound of Haribo Gummy Bears
  • Bottle of Vodka (I used a 750 ML bottle of Grey Goose Vodka)
  • 12 oz can of Minute Maid Premium Fruit Punch (defrosted)


  1. Making Vodka Gummy Bears takes patience, like 5-7 days worth of patience.
  2. Put Gummy Bears in a large glass bowl (the largest bowl if you have a set of 3 nesting bowls).
  3. Pour Vodka over the Gummy Bears until they are completely submerged.
  4. Put plastic wrap over the top of the bowl and put the bowl in the refrigerator.
  5. Stir Gummy Bears a couple of times a day for 3-5 days. (First day, they were quite challenging to stir. I had to wash my hands and “stir”/separate with my hands. I kept adding vodka to keep them submerged.)
  6. When Gummy Bears are nice and plump, drain vodka off. (note: liquid will be gummy bear color and thick with sugar. you can drink it if you dare.)
  7. Add the 12 oz can of defrosted fruit punch and 1 1/2 cans of water to the bowl.
  8. Stir Gummy Bears a couple of times a day for another 2 days (or so).
  9. Taste test a Gummy Bear to see if they have achieved maximum plumpness and are soft in the center.
  10. Drain off excess liquid and put Gummy Bears in shot glasses. (I used plastic shot glasses. And since I made so many, I put the filled shot glasses in a large rectangular tupperware container.)

Important! Keep Vodka Gummy Bears cool. They dissolve if they get warm.

Who knew candy could be this much fun!