17 December, 2008

BSI British Standards invites comments on new draft standard on accessible websites

British Standards LogoBSI British Standards is inviting all interested parties, and in particular marketing professionals and disabled web users, to review and comment on the draft of a new standard on accessible websites. DPC BS 8878 Web accessibility – Building accessible experiences for disabled people – Code of Practice is applicable to all public and private organizations wishing to offer accessible, usable websites to their customers.

DPC BS 8878 can be viewed at www.bsigroup.com/drafts until 31 January 2009. All comments will be considered by the BSI technical committee responsible for drafting the standard.

DPC BS 8878 has been designed to introduce accessibility, usability and user experience for disabled people to non-technical professionals, some of whom may be completely new to this subject. It gives guidance on process, rather than on technical and design issues, including recommendations for:

  • involving disabled people in the development process and using automated tools to assist with accessibility testing.
  • the management of the guidance and process for upholding existing accessibility guidelines and specifications

Based on PAS 78: 2006, Guide to good practice in commissioning accessible websites, DPC BS 8878 informs organizations of their legal responsibilities in relation to web accessibility, calling on them to appoint a specific person or department to oversee activity. Responsibility could fall within the Marketing, PR or External Relations departments which typically look after the organization’s website, or it could be Operations staff, Product Managers, HR Managers or others who are responsible for internal web applications.

The draft standard stresses the impact that an organizations’ choice of technologies can have upon its audience and gives guidance on how to assess this. It also includes guidance for considering the needs of web users according to their specific disability, for example, people with physical impairments or people with learning disabilities.

DPC BS 8878 also contains text which can be extracted and used in an organization’s accessibility or procurement statement.

Julie Howell, Chair of the committee responsible for drafting DPC BS 8878, commented, “Once published, this standard will be a fantastic tool for organizations wishing to understand their responsibilities in enabling disabled people to use web content. DPC BS 8878 encourages the enhancement of the overall user experience – a much more holistic approach than we have seen previously and one that I hope will yield exciting results. Right now we want to encourage as many people as possible to read and comment on the draft standard to ensure it is as relevant as possible.”

Publication of BS 8878 is expected in summer, 2009.

For further information please visit www.bsigroup.com.

 
04 November, 2008

Mobile OK Basic Tests goes to proposed recommendation

Yesterday the W3C announce the advancement of mobileOK Basic Tests 1.0
to Proposed Recommendation:
http://www.w3.org/TR/2008/PR-mobileOK-basic10-tests-20081103/

These tests are used to determine if your web site is Mobile OK. Passing all tests means you can display the Mobile OK icon on your site.

 
04 November, 2008

WCAG 2.0 moves to proposed recommendation

Yesterday, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) Working Group announced  the publication of WCAG 2.0 as a W3C Proposed Recommendation. WCAG 2.0 is the long awaited update of WCAG 1.0.

“Proposed Recommendation” means that the technical material of WCAG 2.0 is complete and it has been implemented in real sites. Information about implementations and changes since the last publications is available in the:

“Status of this Document” section

http://www.w3.org/TR/2008/PR-WCAG20-20081103/#status

W3C WAI encourages you to start implementing WCAG 2.0 now.

 
08 October, 2008

Common accessibility blunders

Are you responsible for maintaining your company’s Website? Or responsible for the design and build of your companies new Web site? New to the whole design and build game in general?

Have you heard of the W3C, Tim Berners-Lee, WAI or Web Content Accessibility Guidelines? No! not to worry.

Heres the skinny…

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) develops interoperable technologies (specifications, guidelines, software, and tools) to lead the Web to its full potential.

Tim Berners-Lee is the Director of the W3C and inventor of the World Wide Web.

The Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) works with organizations around the world to develop strategies, guidelines, and resources to help make the Web accessible to people with disabilities.

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) developed by the WAI are guidelines widely regarded as the international standard for Web accessibility. They are also referred to as best practice guidelines

Over the years Segala has conducted many many independent audits of Web sites for accessibility compliance. This means we have manually checked if a Web site passes or fails the WCAG check points. Companies have engaged Segala to ensure their Web sites are compliant on the fear that they maybe excluding some users from accessing information within their Web site.

Below is a list of common issues found during some of those accessibility audits:

  • Images have inappropriate alternative text
  • Page sections don’t have their own headings
  • Headings are incorrectly nested (H2 should follow H1, H3 should follow H2 etc)
  • Link text does not make sense when read of out context
  • A Focus state is not provided for links
  • Form labels are missing or incorrectly positioned
  • On-page items are incorrectly marked up in HTML
  • Skip to main content link not provided
  • Decorative elements are marked up in HTML code

To any developer well versed in the world of accessibility these issues are easy to over come. If the world of accessibility is new, you can sit down with a very large cup of coffee and try digest all the WCAG documents and working examples. It is possible and I would advise reading them and when finished read them again and again. After that take one guideline and apply it to your own Web site, baby steps.

Over the next few posts I’ll cover each bullet point above in more detail. Its very easy to pick up a bad habit, all I’m asking is that you develope the habit of considering accessibility when building a Web site.

I’m not going to quote guideline check point after check point. Instead I’m going to cover what is considered best practice and how people implement them in the real world.

 
01 October, 2008

Vote for Segala

Voting is now open for the Irish Internet Association Innovation Award.

The IIA Net Visionary Awards 2008 will be held on Thursday 30th October in the Great Hall, Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin. This is a gala, black tie evening. You can find more details about voting here.

 
22 September, 2008

Run Chrome on Mac or Linux

About two weeks ago, Google jumped into the browser war by launching a beta version of Chrome which created a buzz in the IT world. The big question is whether or not Chrome offers enough to attrach people to switch from other browsers, such as Internet Explorer (IE) and Firefox. Fortunately Google’s streamlined and speedy browser offers an intriguing alternative to Firefox and Internet Explorer.

CrossOver Chromium

CrossOver Chromium

Google plans to expand its Chrome offerings to the Mac and Linux platforms.

If you’d like to try Google Chrome on a Mac, there is no need for Boot Camp etc. The guys over at CodeWeavers (producers of the awesome CrossOver for Mac program that lets you run some Windows apps on your Intel Mac) have ported Chrome for Mac as well as for Linux recently.

CrossOver Chromium is a Mac and Linux port of the open source Chromium web browser , the freely available source behind Chrome.

CrossOver Chromium requires OS X 10.4 or higher and an Intel CPU, PowerPC Macs are NOT supported. Additionally, CrossOver for Chrome is absolutely not suitable for using as day to day browser; CrossOver just produced it as a proof of concept of their capabilities.

Sooner or later Google will launch Chrome; CrossOver Chromium is just something to try out Chrome goodness. So if you feel like checking out Chrome before Google release Mac or Linux version CrossOver Chromium is your answer.

 
19 September, 2008

Are you having iPhone 3G issues?

I’m not sure about you but i’ve been having real problems with the 3G reception on my iPhone. At home it is fine but as soon as i get into work I lose all reception. At first i thought it was just me but soon found out that it was all iPhone users in the office and then I realised that it was all 3G phone users….

But why? The internet was full of blogs claiming that the iPhone 3G reception issues were caused by hardware but that doesn’t explain why non-iPhone 3G users were also having problems. Then i came across this article which explained it all (kind of). Apparently, the iPhone is requesting a little too much power from the antenna. When this is multiplied by several hundred users it is causing interference with the antenna. Simple explanation right?

Mac have since released a couple of builds in an attempt to fix the problem, suggesting that the power request is software controlled. If this is true it is good news for iPhone owners. Of course, if the article is correct then it would require all iPhone owners to upgrade to the latest firmware in order for the problem to be fixed (or a good proportion of them).

My personal opinion is that this is also a 3G network issue. It simple can’t cope with the increased demand since the introducion of the 3G iphone and the REAL fix is to put up more cell towers (not that I advocate this).

NOTE: i work in central london in an office full of iPhone users

 

About

Founded in 2003 and privately owned, Segala is a specialist in testing and certification.

Segala’s mission it to help make the Web more reliable, safe and trustworthy. Our method of certification helps us to realize this mission by exposing more information about the suitability of each website in search results – enabling users to make informed decisions about which sites to visit. Read More…

Contact

Contact us by emailing daphne@segala.com or call +353 (0)1 2931966. Our address is 19 The Mall, Beacon Court, Sandyford, D18. Ireland.

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