Standards,W3C

WCAG 2.0 moves to proposed recommendation04 Nov

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.

Standards,W3C

Common accessibility blunders08 Oct

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.

Standards,W3C,Web 2.0 News

How to enable trust/better search @Yahoo!17 Sep

Yesterday, Paul Walsh (Segala CEO) was over in Yahoo! to present “How to enable trust/better search” armed with a can of beans.

The event was hosted by Yahoo! at Yahoo!’s Mission College Campus, Santa Clara, California.

The purpose of the event was to present the new technology with real world applications that begin to show what POWDER can do.

POWDER and us

POWDER (The Protocol for Web Description Resources) is a new technology from the W3C that bridges the gap between the traditional Web and the Semantic Web. It’s simple, easy to use and can fit into existing publishing work flows with minimal development effort.

To the end user POWDER delivers more of what you asked for and less of what you don’t want, allows you to judge the trustworthiness of information found on the Web and brings the best of the Web to your browser.

For Publisher’s, POWDER is an easy and inexpensive way to describe lots of things at once (such as everything on a Web site). Is open to authentication so that others know they can trust your data and opens up your data to the Semantic Web.

For Service Provider’s, POWDER supports real-time content personalization, makes discovering relevant & trustworthy content easier and identifies online resources that meet criteria that are not solely based on popularity.

The Agenda

  • Welcome, Anne Toth, Yahoo!
  • Introduction to POWDER. Phil Archer, Family Online Safety Institute, POWDER Working Group Chair
  • The Semantic View, Jeremy Carroll, Top Quadrant
  • The QUATRO Project — Authenticated, Machine Readable Trustmarks, Kostas Chandrinos, i-sieve Technologies
  • POWDER in your Browser, Phillip Grønvold, Opera Software.
  • A commercial view of POWDER, Paul Walsh, Segala
  • Tying in with other standards, Matt Womer, W3C
  • Comments and discussion from the floor

It’s still early hours in San Franciso so I’ve not had the opportunity to speak with Paul and find out how the event went. But, Paul did manage to drip feed the rest of us via Twitter.

Phil Archer, FOSI, CTO is up first. Talking about POWDER.

I’ve just presented technology that a 10 year old would get. Next guy up is talking about what’s under it – way too technical. But he’s good.

Matt Womer from W3C is up. I like matt.

Opera is now up. But I’m not permitted to tell you what they’re doing.

Standards,W3C

Ignoring website accessibility is not just wrong – it is bad for business31 Jul

Maire Boran wrote a great piece on accessibility in the business section of todays Irish Independent. I’m delighted to say that Segala’s CEO, Paul Walsh was interviewed for the article. Actually, it was quite a spread. I think Paul will love the fact that his mug shot is the centre piece (the actual photo used was modified, replacing the Segala logo with the W3C. The editors probably thought it was a little over powering).

The article is a great promotion piece for accessibility, we have received a few enquiries today just because of it. Thanks Marie.

I have pasted the full article below but you can always read it on the Irish Independent Web site.

By Marie Boran
Thursday July 31 2008

If someone told you that your shop or business property was so badly designed that 10pc of your customers had great difficulty finding your products or services, would you consider a better layout or just watch them leave in frustration?

Nowadays, your website is just as much a port of call for the average customer as your physical premises. If you have not considered accessibility as part of its design, then you are excluding the 8.3pc of the Irish population with a disability of some kind, be it physical, visual or cognitive.

Simply put, this amounts to an estimated €3.3bn in spending power that is out of your reach.

The spending power of the 10 million-plus disabled community in the UK was estimated to have been worth £50bn sterling in 2005.

Having a website that is accessibility compliant is not only about opening up your business to those with disabilities, it can also add value to your business, says Paul Walsh, founder and CEO of Segala.

Segala helps website owners understand the commercial benefits of adopting accessibility best practices.

One website that uses the services of Segala is O2.com, which was completely re-designed to comply with accessibility guidelines laid out by the Worldwide Web Consortium (W3C), an organisation under the directorship of founder of the web, Tim Berners-Lee.

The benefits are undeniable, says Walsh. When O2 decided to change the colour scheme of part of its site, because it had adhered to W3C standards, this involved changing one simple piece of code in what could otherwise have been an arduous task.

Because many companies are not fully accessibility compliant, Walsh says they tend to shy away completely, fearing an entire tearing down and rebuilding of their website.

“You don’t have to change your entire website overnight. It’s about making ongoing changes, letting the user know you are aware of accessibility and doing something about it.”

The major problem is the misconception surrounding accessibility. Many believe it will be exorbitantly expensive to build this into their site, while others assume it will render their website ugly or leave it with less functionality.

Some businesses are even afraid it will affect revenue by discouraging banner or Flash advertising, and this is simply not the case, says Brendan Spillane, co-founder of Dublin-based accessible design firm Ilikecake.net.

“Irish businesses and government organisations are doing better than they used to.

“With any government tenders placed on the eTenders website, it is very rare to see one that does not specify accessibility and to the correct level, which is more important,” says Spillane.

Vivienne Trulock, co-founder of Ilikecake.net, carried out research on the level of accessibility among Irish websites and tested 152 different websites — all tested three years previously — to check their progress.

“There is an improvement in the level of knowledge that guidelines for accessibility exist, but not the same amount of improvement in the actual level of change,” says Spillane.

It is also interesting to note that structuring a website to work with the navigation software used by the visually impaired or blind makes that site easier to be listed and found on Google, Walsh says.

“Somebody once said that Google is the web’s most important blind man. If we make content accessible to people with disabilities, whereby a complete text alternative is made available in the background, then the search engine can read it and rank it accordingly.”

Spillane says his own firm’s website is proof of the pudding because it comes up as No 1 in its category when searched for on Google.

The internet should be the perfect enabler for those with disabilities, says Walsh. “When a blind person enters a supermarket for the first time, they have no way of knowing what kind of chocolate biscuits, for example, are on the shelf.

“But when they enter a website for the first time, there is the opportunity to have this information at their fingertips.”

© Silicon Republic Ltd 2008

All content copyright 2008, Silicon Republic Ltd — all rights reserved

Email: editorial@siliconrepublic.com

© Silicon Republic Ltd 2008

- Marie Boran

Mobile Web,Standards,W3C,Web 2.0 News

Do you deliver mobile web applications?30 Jul

The Mobile Web Best Practices working group has just published a first public working draft of their guidelines for developing and delivering mobile web applications.

If you already build and deliver mobile web applications or plan to then your feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Mobile Web,Standards,W3C,Web 2.0 News

Mobile Web Best Practices gets approved30 Jul

Just a quick note to say that the Mobile Web Best Practices has been rubber stamped as a W3C Recommendation and now officially known as Mobile Web Best Practices 1.0, offering practical advice on creating mobile friendly content.

“Mobile Web content developers now have stable guidelines and maturing tools to help them create a better mobile Web experience,” said Dominique Hazaël-Massieux, W3C Mobile Web Activity Lead. “In support of the W3C mission of building One Web, we want to support the developer community by providing tools to enable a great mobile Web user experience.”

Well done to the working group for all their efforts in getting this approved.

Mobile Web,Standards,W3C

WAI: Calls for Mobile Web experiences06 Jun

Shawn Henry has posted a request to the WAI Interest Group to collect experiences, stories, and perspectives
on people with disabilities using the Web via mobile devices. See below:

Dear WAI Interest Group Participants,

We are interested in collecting experiences, stories, and perspectives
on people with disabilities using the Web via mobile devices. For
example: What are use cases of accessing the Web via a mobile device
that are particularly useful for a person with a disability? What are
unique issues accessing the Web via mobile device (versus desktop or
laptop) for people with disabilities?

We are also interested in similar information about Web access via
mobile device by “seniors”, older users who may have Web accessibility
needs related to aging. Are there cases when accessing the Web via a
mobile device is particularly useful for older users, or they have
unique issues using the Web via a mobile device?

Please note that we are limiting the scope of this query to *specific
accessibility issues using the Web*, and *not* more general hardware
issues, non-Web functionality, etc.

You can send your feedback to me, the WAI interest list or you can send them
to wai@w3.org.

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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