Accessibility Technology

The 2015 CSUN Mega Post

Hey there!

When I come to the CSUN conference, I write about every session I attend.  When I’m all done with the conference, I make sure I gather up all my posts into one <echo>MEGA POST</echo>.  In the past, I felt strongly pulled toward the more technical web track sessions, because I run a web development shop.  This year, I sprinkled in some legal and compliance sessions, because the technical stuff doesn’t exist in a vacuum.  That, and I find myself being asked to weigh in on accessibility concerns in senior-level conversations more frequently these days.

I may be a glutton for punishment, but whenever I attend a busy conference that has lots of concurrent sessions throughout the day, I try to attend as many as I can…with no breaks in between.  This year, I got to 18 sessions, and it was pretty tiring.  I think it matters that I get the most “bang for the buck” for attending, and it’s important that I don’t keep what I learn all to myself.  So I take notes.  A LOT OF NOTES.  This helps me stay focused when my mind starts to wander, and it may be useful to others.

I hope you find it useful.

Wednesday, March 4 Session Notes

  1. The Implementation of PDF/UA and Standardized Access to PDF Content
  2. Digital Accessibility: 2015 Annual Legal Update
  3. Accessibility at the BBC
  4. Do We Need to Changes the Web Accessibility Game Plan (Redux)?
  5. Real-Time Conversations:  From TTY to Real-Time Text (RTT)
  6. Aiming for Excellence at a Fortune 50 Company (aka TARGET)

Thursday, March 5 Session Notes

  1. CSS, Accessibility and You
  2. Scaling Web Accessibility From Specialist Niche to Business-As-Usual
  3. Web Compliance Evaluation Strategies – All In One
  4. Accessibility in the Web Project Lifecycle
  5. Accessibility in an Agile World
  6. Revised Maturity Model: Case Study of the CIA

Friday, March 6 Session Notes

  1. Choosing an Accessible UI Framework
  2. Evaluating the Accessibility of Your Website:  New Resources and Tools
  3. 7 Lessons from Developing an Accessible HTML5 Video Player
  4. The Digital Accessibility Maturity Model for Measuring Program Success
  5. A Digitally Inclusive Future for Canada’s National Broadcaster
  6. Purchasing Accessible EIT Products:  A Suggested Campus Procurement Process
Accessibility Technology

Purchasing Accessible EIT Products: A Suggested Campus Procurement Process

Presenters:  Cheryl Pruitt and Dawn Futrell from California State University, CSU Office of the Chancellor, Tom Siechert from California State University, Fresno, Susan Cullen from California State University, Northridge

@seichert | @cullensus

This was my sixth session and final session at the CSUN conference on Friday, March 6.  Showing some love to my CSU people before heading home.   I should be able to avoid some of the San Diego – Los Angeles traffic, but not all of it 🙁  Anyway, procurement is a great place to start when ensuring that you’re meeting accessibility requirements; the CSU has made a commitment to ensuring that everything it buys is accessible.

Controlling Purchasing can be a Daunting Task

  • Implementing accessibility into the purchasing process for a 23-campus system is tough…
  • Every campus implements accessible procurement differently:  different forms, processes and evaluation techniques
  • We Wanted to Break Down the Problem
  • Document the process that can be adopted and adapted by every campus
  • Expectations:  buy the most accessibile products, create a plan for providing accommodations, promote a culture of accessibility, institution wide ever, speak with one voice
  • We have 7 people/campuses on the ATI standardization team

Findings and recommendations

  • Keys to implementing accessible procurement:  strong sustainable executive level support, roles and responsibilities, shared responsibility across the campus
  • It’s not JUST an ATI process or JUST a procurement process
  • Roles:  ATI designee or other designees, purchase requester, admin support staff, buyer, vendor, IT support staff, disability services staff, executive sponsor

4-step Process for Campuses

Documentation of the steps below can be found here:

  1. Gather information
  2. Review information
  3. Review product
  4. Place order

Equally Effective Alternative Access Process (aka “EEAAP”)

  • Sometimes a product cannot meet everyone’s needs.  The EEAAP is how accommodations will be met for people who cannot be served by the product.


  • Reqs often don’t include critical info:  what are we buying, how will it be used, who will use it, end users reqd to use product, what are future plans for product use
  • Need for speed (RUSH orders)
  • Large numbers of IT purchases
  • Over 1,600 IT items in 2014 were ordered!  About 203 were reviewed for a11y
  • Of those 203, almost 100 were for “smart classrooms,” 44 were for Multi Function Devices, 54 were for departments and colleges, 8 were for students

Procurement + Accessibility

  • Integrate accessibility into the existing procurement process
  • Integration types:  one-size fits all (aka shotgun approach)
  • Impact-based process and intelligent workflow

Review Process

  • Minimum reqs:  needs to work for both reactive and proactive review requests, and needs to work regardless of funding source (i.e. gifts, auxiliaries, etc.)
  • Successful adoption:  easy for end-users, isn’t heavy
  • Tom reviewed a workflow diagram and the CSU online requisition form

Campus Impact Policy – We’re Moving Away from Dollar Thresholds When Reviewing

  • Litigation does not consider product $ amount or if it is free
  • Consideration of level of accessibility and business need
  • We do a functional analysis to determine the overall value of the product.  Sometimes the most accessible product is not the best one.
  • Targeted:  software, applications, devices, copy-scan-fax
  • Not targeted:  servers, security systems, wires & plugs, software for individuals
  • The big cultural change is that people need to start thinking about this when they start thinking about buying the product

Language is the Key to Communications

We need to make sure that the language we’re using makes sense to people who just want to make the right choices.

  • 1194.21 & 22 = modern web applications, software
  • 1194.24 = video, multimedia, YouTube
  • 1194.25 = iPads, Phones, Copy-Scan-fax
  • 1194.31 = usable to individuals with different abilities
  • 1194.41 = documentation for use for individuals with different abilities

Campus Department Requests

  • Bulk purchase and commonly purchased items (i.e. Dell, HP, Lenovo computers)
  • VPAT forms

Universal Design Center Evaluation Categories

  • Alt Descriptions
  • Multimedia
  • Structure
  • Comprehensive Visual Display
  • User Interface
  • Navigation




Accessibility Technology

A Digitally Inclusive Future for Canada’s National Broadcaster

Presenters:  Patrick Dunphy accessibility specialist from the CBC

@PatrickDunphy | Co-lead #a11yTO with George Zamfir (@goodwally) and Billy Gregory (@thebillygregory)

This was my fifth session at the CSUN conference on Friday, March 6.  I’m always interested in hearing about how very large – particularly media companies – approach their accessibility remediation efforts.

What is CBC?

  • We’re a publicly funded Canadian radio, tv, online

2020 Strategy

  • Intensify relationship with citizens with disabilities
  • 13.7% of Canadians self-identify as having a disability (3.8 million)
  • However, no captions for recent olympic coverage
  • Silver tsunami is coming…

We’ve Been Busy!

  • Launched to gather feedback on what’s wrong
  • GAAD:  Global Accessibility Awareness Day
  • 4-part learning series
  • Accessibility inquiry form for intake
  • Developing an internal knowledge base (Confluence)
  • Accessibility task force (July 2014) got everyone involved:  IA, design, SME, QA, PM, Apps, Architect, Content, UX, management
  • Jumped into agile in a big way (which was not without it’s bumps)

In October 2014, We Committed to a 4-year Rollout Plan

  • We will make our digital content meet WCAG 2.0 AA standards by April 2018.  Digital operations is leading this effort, with 8 product teams using agile methodology.
  • We completed a gap analysis with The Paciello Group
  • Identified training needs
  • WCAG2.0 training for devs, designers, and QA analysts
  • Accessibility requirements identified for 3rd party vendors

Gap Analysis

  • Task force meets weekly
  • First, we reviewed 25 screens across CBC, CBCNews, CBCSports, CBCRadio, Network
  • Summary of gap analysis identified a range of issues likely to significantly affect the ability to interact with; lots of work had been done, and moderate level of effort would be required to get it up to scratch.
  • Screen reader training

Learning & Development Initiatives

  • Lots of checkpoints to think about what we want to get to, and narrowed it down into what was feasible
  • Onboarding process
  • Q&A webinars
  • Moderated forums
  • Printable cheat sheets
  • Code samples
  • Bi-annual training
  • External assistance




Accessibility Technology

The Digital Accessibility Maturity Model for Measuring Program Success

Presenters:  Tim Springer and Jason Megginson from the SSB BART Group

@SSBBARTgroup | View this slide deck online

This was my fourth session at the CSUN conference on Friday, March 6.  The CIA’s session yesterday referred to a different maturity model (the Business Disability Forum’s Accessibility Maturity Model), which piqued my interest and is why I’m here.  I’m beginning to think that the tagline for this conference should be “There’s a session for that.”

What the hell is a maturity model?

  • Defines organizational maturity level in addressing a business problem.
  • DAMM (Digital Accessibility Maturity Model) measures digital accessibility program maturity along a series of dimensions and aspects, to assign them to particular levels

The Digital Accessibility Maturity Model

  • The five levels of DAMM
  • Initial (chaos)
  • Managed (pockets of expertise across the enterprise)
  • Defined (across the enterprise)
  • Quantitatively Managed (repeatable, metrics lead change)
  • Optimizing (reflective, feedback system)
  • DAMM is not a roadmap, but an ongoing business process
  • More maturity != greater conformance
  • Other models require that you must reach a higher level of compliance to achieve a higher CMM level
  • A mature org with a clear grasp of digital accessibility concepts may determine not to conform to a higher level of accessibility

Why a CMM based Maturity Model?

CMM model process improvement adds value to other business areas:

  • Fewer defects
  • Better on-time delivery
  • More likely to be on budget
  • Increased Quality Software Management Productivity Index

There are 10 DAMM Dimensions…

1. GRC (Governance, Risk, Compliance)

  • Looking for higher levels of organizational ownership
  • Aspects:  organizational ownership, governance policy, risk management, compliance program, accessibility program office, monitoring, reporting, record keeping
  • Artifacts:  Org chart, accessibility monitoring plan, accessibility program roles and responsibilities, accessibility project management plan, risk prioritization model, accessibility coverage questionnaire

2. Communication

  • Aspects:  Program comm, internal comm, market comm
  • Artifacts:  Public comm plan, org-wide compliance statement

3. Policy and Standards

  • Aspects:  accessibility policy and standards
  • Artifacts:  digital accessibility policy (some laws require this), technical standards

4. Legal

  • Aspects:  Regulatory process
  • Artifact:  regulatory calendar, regulatory filings, VPATs GPATs (in conjunction with communications)

5. Fiscal Management

  • Aspects:  budget, ROI
  • Artifacts:  central APO budget (persistent from year-to-year), LoB digital accessibility budget guidance, LoB digital accessibility budgets

6. Development

  • Aspects:  development artifacts, roles and responsibilities, user acceptance, pattern library
  • Artifacts:  lifecycle roles and responsibilities, development artifact guide

7. Testing and Validation

  • Aspects:  accessibility training, infrastructure, accessibility testing artifacts
  • Artifacts:  Accessibility testing plan, usability testing, user group profiles, pilot program, assistive technology catalog

8.  Support and Documentation

  • Aspects:  support process, issue handling, accessible documentation
  • Artifacts:  features document, resolution policy, issue submission form

9.  Procurement

  • Aspects:  solicitations, contracts, vendor governance, employee guidance
  • Artifacts:  3rd party compliance policies and reqs, ICT procurement contract template, ICT procurement policy, procurement accessibility email address

10.  Training

  • Aspects:  training, certification, job aids, internal communication, rollout strategy
  • Artifacts:  training plan, internal comm plan, training metrics and trends
Accessibility Technology

7 Lessons from Developing an Accessible HTML 5 Video Player

Presenter:  Dennis Lembree from eBay (previously with PayPal access team 2+ years)

@dennisl | @EasyChirp | @WebAxe

View the project on github

This was my third session at the CSUN conference on Friday, March 6.  I know PayPal has done a lot for accessibility, so this should be an interesting session.  Keyboard traps have historically been a big issue, I wonder if that will be covered here.  We shall see.  [UPDATE:  this was a really meaty presentation, glad I attended ]


Works on accessibility at eBay, previously at PayPal, Creator of @easychirp, creator of @webaxe

About the Player

  • Launched September 2014
  • Goals:  take advantage of HTML5 for video, controls, captions
  • Greatly reduce code weight and complexity while still supporting cross-browser/OS/device
  • Support captions (WebVTT format)
  • Options upon intialization:  captionsOnDefault (default is true), seekInterval (default is 10), videoTitle (default is play), debug (default is false)
  • Width adjusts to width of video element (minimum 360px)
  • Fully responsive version of the player by @LauraKalbag
  • Controls are toggles (checkboxes “under the hood”), which can be activated by the spacebar or enter key
  • Question:  is there a reason why captions are on the top?  This was a design decision.  Web VTT spec has a mechanism that tells where captions can be keyed.
  • Has a pure HTML5 range input slider for volume

Lesson 1: Don’t Need Dependencies

  • Developed without the use of any CSS or JS libraries
  • Code weight is very small; uncompressed and not minimized
  • CSS is 5k (mediaelementplayer.css is 24kb)
  • JS is 18K (media-element-and-player.js is 156kb)

Lesson 2:  HTML5 Elements are Becoming More Accessible

Lesson 3: Don’t Need Flash Backup

  • All modern browsers support HTML5 video element
  • Only IE8 doesn’t support it.  In that case, a direct link to the video can be provided
  • See your browser’s level of support

Lesson 4:  Mobile Has Great Support

  • iOS and Android support the HTML5 video element
  • They also support WebVTT captions
  • Custom controls of the video player are not used on mobile devices (bypassing all of Dennis’ code)

Lesson 5:  Browser Sniffing is Required

  • I REALLY didn’t want to deal with this, but I had to.  Why…?
  • There are several inconsistencies in support between desktop browsers:  display of range input in IE, coloring the progress bar in Firefox, support of the textTracks video property in IE, Firefox, and Safari (this was by far the biggest problem that I had)
  • Question:  does the MP4 container require the VTT hosted as a separate file?  Yes.

Lesson 6: Chrome by Far Has Best Support

  • None of the challenges of the project were experienced in Chrome
  • Chrome was used as the baseline browser for development
  • Chrome supports textTracks and WebVTT very well and renders HTML5 elements as expected

Lesson 7:  github is Great for Tracking Issues

  • Great for sharing code
  • Done in the development stage and now in the released stage
  • Make an enhancement request, log an issue or better yet, resolve an issue!
  • ..also for showing how successful the project is!  Been starred over 1,500 times


  • Limitations:  supports only one caption file and one caption type
  • Would be great to see mainstream browsers support HTML5 video better
  • Key enhancements:  localized text (internationalization), support for audio description
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