IceWeb 2006 notes - Joe Clark "AJAX and Accessibility"

Written April 28. 2006, at 14:04 GMT.

  • One wonders who'll be taking notes on Joe's blog while he's up on stage. :-)
  • Starts with reading an introduction in (surprisingly little broken) Icelandic. Crowd cheers.
  • Mentions the fact that his reference material book Building Accessible Websites is available online as HTML.
  • Says WCAG 2.0 (now in final call) is/will be shite. Why??
  • Roughly defines "AJAX" as a webpage that changes dynamically as the user interacts with it.
  • Notes that accessibility guidelines are vague and/or give conflicting (or even impossible) messages about Javascripted sites.
    • Says using javascript is no longer a faux-pas - like it was back in 1998. :-) Javascript works in practically every screen-reader available today.
  • Speaks fast. Loads of info.
  • Tells of a quick usability test he did on Basecamp. Asked his users (presumably using some sort of assistive technology) to try to create/edit/delete a todo list.
    • The Basecamp developers seem to have just left out accessibility.
    • However, "It seems that Basecamp is difficult and confusing, but possible to use. Especially on Windows. On Macintosh it's better because it has better assistive technologies built in."
  • Introduces as (some of?) his testers:
    • "Brothercake" (a.k.a. James Edwards) who's every possible combination of screen-readers and OSes setup on his computer(s).
    • Derek Fetherstone (http://boxofchocolates.ca).
  • Joe answers audience questions about "(why) does accessibility matter?". Joe's answer: "Ask a blind person. Does preseving the Icelandic language matter? Ask an Icelandic person". Next quiestion "You can't make something 100% accessible, can you?" Joe's answer: "No, some things are intrisically inaccessible to some people (henche the term "disabled") but you can try as hard as you can".
  • HTML + CSS + JS is easier and more transparent than Flash [in terms of making it accessible].

All in all, a very important subject. Joe offered no big solutions but hopefully got a lot of people thinking.


More like this: English Entries, IceWeb2006.


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