Accessibility Technology

CSUN 2014 Web Track Mega Post

As usual, I like to make a post that sums up my entire conference experience…I call this the “Mega Post.”  As you may have guessed from the titles of the sessions I attended, I’m interested in the web track.  If the web is your bag, you just might find all this helpful.



Friday, March 21


Thursday, March 20


Wednesday, March 19


Tuesday, March 18


Monday, March 17

Accessibility Technology

The CSUN 2013 Web Track Mega Post

Greetings, fellow web accessibilistas!  (not to be confused with accessiballistas, the little-known and even less-documented accessible siege engine of yore).

As you may have gathered if you followed my live blog posts a couple weeks ago, my interest in attending the CSUN 2013 conference was almost exclusively web-related.  Now that it’s been a couple weeks and I’ve had some time to reflect, I figured it would be a good idea if I consolidated everything into one mega-list.  This year, there were several times when I wish I could have been in two places at once.  Hopefully this gives you a pretty representative sampling of what was on offer web-wise this year.  Follow me @paulschantz for more web-related topics, including accessibility, project management, web development and design philosophy, thoughts on working in higher education, bad clients, off-color humor, and other ephemera.  Enough self-promotion…on with the list!

Pre-Conference Seminar:  Google Accessibility

Day One:  February 27, 2013

Day Two:  February 28, 2013

Day Three:  March 1, 2013

Accessibility Technology

IBM’s WCAG 2.0 Compliance Web-Costing Model

  • Phill Jenkins IBM Research, Human Ability and Accessibility Center
  • Dan Shire IBM Ineractive, IBM Canada

Why this presentation?  Our experience with Government of Ontario is relevant to organizations and web sites trying to estimate the costs of accessibility.

Questions that need answers:

  • What does it take to make a website accessible (from scratch)?
  • What does it take to keep it that way?
  • What are the opportunities and challenges?

Project Steps

  • Identify candidate sites and sample pages
  • Assess sample pages for accessibilty
  • Estimate cost to test, repair and maintain
  • How to apply project experiences to sites and policy

7 week timeline

Slide showing an IT project life cycle showing user-centered design.  UX, including accessibility and support for inclusive design, should be at the heart of your project – this can be integrated into every phase of the project.


  • “Most organizations take several runs at procurement before they get it right”  This is a true statement and I agree with it.
  • “How many of you work in corporate IT departments?” (several hands raise)  “Many of your colleagues in government and higher education wonder why it costs so much to make things accessible.  In those environments, you take care of the HTML and CSS and you’re done.. it costs so much more in corporate environments because those environments are very risk-averse.”  I find this characterization suspect.


  1. Look and feel:  expensive to update – design and significant coding changes.  If you get accessibility wrong, it can be broken everywhere.
  2. Content can be relatively dynamic and change frequently.  Compliance can be a problem.

How often do organizations refresh their sites?  Varies, but roughly every 3 years (evidence is highly anecdotal)

99% of businesses are small and medium sized business (less than 200 employees)

Provided a very detailed description of IBM’s analytical approach to their testing methodology, with breakdowns of costs of web accessibility remediation, with hours of effort by role…

…and it was at this point that I couldn’t take any more and walked out.  Everything they’re saying is true, but my god, I think IBM can make anything mind-numbingly boring.

Accessibility Technology

WCAG Guidelines – What about the Users?


  • Birkir R. Gunnarsson, Blindrafelagid; The Icelandic Organization of the visually impaired @birkir_gun
  • Hinni Hreinsson, The Stockholm Low Vision Center @hm_hreinsson

BIOVI (Blindrafelagid, Icelandic organization of the visually impaired), similar to NFB in the US (details directly from slide)

  • Fights for independent and responsible living conditions for visually impaired people
  • Fights for their secured equal rights and opportunities to respnosible, active and recognized participation in all sectors of our community
  • Part of a public medical service of Stockholm County; 80 staff in 5 teams
  • Birkir does audits and makes development recommendations
  • Hinni trains users on AT
  • Discussions between Birkir and Hinni revealed that their best practices recommendations did not always make it to AT trainers and end users


  • Delivering web content requires 4 players
  • Accessible web site
  • Browsers that render content and build DOM
  • (missed a bunch of items from this slide, sorry!)

To summarize (Paul’s description, so it’s probably butchered):  this is an outreach effort to get the word out about the roles of headings, landmarks, navigation hotkeys, etc.  Wanted to create a survey to help develop a vendor neutral guide to help explain how you can use a screen reader to effectively read web pages.  This would benefit users at various stages of screen reader competence.


  • 1,700 SR users
  • 2/3 of SR users consider themselves advanced Internet users, only 2% consider themselves beginners
  • Users keep their SR up to date
  • (missed details on this slide as well…will try to post link to WebAIM survey results)


  • Many users run multiple screen readers
  • Most have one up-to-date enough to read landmarks
  • 20% received formal training
  • Close to 80% use their SR web page summary feature


  • 60% are familiar with headings and use them for page navigation
  • 60% use navigation hotkeys to browse tables on web sites


  • Most users learn how to browse on their own, with little formalized training
  • Much of user base still relies on TAB and ARROW keys to navigate a web page.
  • Users also use the page description element of screen readers


  • Web developers:  use markup clearly and efficiently
  • W3C standards:  consider a set of more clear specified landmarks
  • SR Vendors:  include landmarks in web page summary features
  • AT instructors:  can we reach out to more users?
  • Make sure AT instructors teach effective browsing techniques

Create educational web resource that would be a simple online user manual on how to effectively navigate web pages.  This would include relevant navigation hotkeys for all screen readers.  Will be written first in English, then translated to Swedish and Icelandic.  Information would be updated as needed.  Possibly have WCAG certification or an associated accessibility statement that links to this resource.

Results will be released at an EASI webinar on May 2nd, at 2pm EST (US Eastern Standard Time).  Sign up at http://easi.cs

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