International Day of Persons with Disabilities

Today is International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Please take some time to get involved with the community, help out and spread the word.

From the site:

The annual observance of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on 3 December was established by the International Year for Disabled Persons (1981). The Day aims to promote a better understanding of disability issues with a focus on the rights of persons with disabilities and gains to be derived from the integration of persons with disabilities in every aspect of the political, social, economic and cultural life of their communities.

The goal of full and effective participation of persons with disabilities in society and development was established by the World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1982.

UN Enable – International Day of Persons with Disabilities – Background

Related Links

Nablopomo – Day 29 – Future of Web Accessibility in Canada – Update

From my previous post on the Future of Web Accessibility in Canada, the latest judgment has now come in from the Federal Court of Canada in favour of Donna Jodhan.

Reasons for Judgment and Judgment dated 29-NOV-2010 rendered by The Honourable Mr. Justice Kelen Matter considered with personal appearance The Court’s decision is with regard to Judicial Review (s.18)

Result: granted “THIS COURT ORDERS AND ADJUDGES that:

  1. This application for judicial review is allowed and the applicant is entitled to a declaration under section 18.1 of the Federal Courts Act that she has been denied equal access to, and benefit from, government information and services provided online to the public on the Internet, and that this constitutes discrimination against her on the basis of her physical disability, namely that she is blind. Accordingly, she has not received the equal benefit of the law without discrimination based on her physical [disability] and that this is a violation of section 15(1) of the Charter;
  2. It is also declared that the applicant’s inability to access online certain departmental websites is representative of a system wide failure by many of the 146 government departments and agencies to make their websites accessible. The failure of the government to monitor and ensure compliance with the government’s 2001 accessibility standards is an infringement of section 15(1) of the Charter since it discriminates against the applicant and other visually impaired persons;
  3. It is also declared that the government has a constitutional obligation to bring itself into compliance with the Charter within a reasonable time period, such as 15 months;
  4. This Court will retain jurisdiction over the implementation of this declaration and the Court will resume its proceedings on the [application] of either party if necessary to ensure the effect of this declaration is properly implemented;
  5. The applicant is a public interest litigant and is entitled to her legal costs including disbursements in the fixed amount of $150,000.” Filed on 29-NOV-2010 certified copies sent to parties Transmittal Letters placed on file. Final Decision Certificate of Judgment entered in J. & O. Book, volume 1106 page(s) 424 – 425

Federal Court – Court Index and Docket – DONNA JODHAN v. AGC (File Number T-1190-07)

Needless to say, this will potentially have huge ramifications on the future of web accessibility in Canada. Specifically with sites related to the Federal Government. I’ll continue to monitor this story very closely. For now, it looks like 15 months will be the time line to be in compliance. Much work will need to be done.

As I’ve stated before, it is a shame that it has to come to this. But, let’s not take the time to dwell on the past.

Let’s make web accessibility in Canada even better than it is today. It begins now.

Related Links

Nablopomo – Day 17 – Skip links

I’m a definite proponent of ‘skip links’ with any site I build. In addition to being an essential part of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines – 2.4.1. – Bypass Blocks, I firmly believe that skip links are valuable for a more effective user experience. I just do mine a little differently.

My site only has 2 skip links:

Skip to Content
Takes you directly to the content of the current page that you’re on.
Skip to Search
Takes you directly to the search field.

You may have noticed that I do not have a ‘Skip to Navigation’ link.

Why? Quite simply, I feel that skipping to static information doesn’t make the best experience.

This is not to say that the navigation isn’t important. It’s the key to any site, obviously. But for me, this site’s navigation shouldn’t be changing on a regular basis.

It’s not about the importance of content. It’s about accessing dynamic content and the tools associated with it.

Of course, there can be exceptions based on the type of site you have. Perhaps if you have navigation elements that are dynamic in nature (like a product based site that filters down to a specific type of product), then you’d want to reconsider how it’s treated.

Regardless, the key is to assure that the user is having the best and most effective experience possible. For my site, I feel this works best.

Site Review – Temple Gate

With the current discussion around the recently announced Temple Gate, An Accessible HTML 5 WordPress Theme, I figured I’d give it a quick review to see how the site measures up in regards to accessibility, usability and overall design.

Strengths

  • The feature highlights that are listed.
  • Decent visual design.
  • Effective highlighting of the most ‘Popular Posts’ in the banner.
  • Semantics are okay. (The <div> elements can be streamlined a bit, but not the end of the world.)
  • Utilization of WAI-ARIA roles: banner, article, complimentary and contentinfo.
  • Information is still differentiated effectively when colour is ignored. (via Graybit)
  • Visual guide used for focus on search input. (In other words, the little magnifying glass disappears when you focus on the search field.)

Improvements

  • Not all links have a title attribute assigned.
  • As well as the current link from the logo, add a ‘Home’ link in the main navigation.
  • Add a ‘Skip to Search’ in the skip links.
  • The main logo that shifts on mouse over can be considered a bit distracting.
  • No text resize widgets or themes in use.
  • Further utilization of WAI-ARIA roles: navigation, main, search.
  • No alternative themes used. At least have one for high contrast.
  • By default, some text is a bit small for skip links and some secondary content.
  • With keyboard navigation (not with the mouse), focus and visited can be improved. Use more than colour to indicate this.
  • Colour contrast can be improved in some areas. Dark grey ‘Sep 2010’ against light grey, light red ‘xiwang’ against light grey and off-white, blog post separators, etc.
  • Consider having an accessibility statement built in, as well as the brief description in the complimentary content area.
  • Consider using GZIP to improve load time. W3 Total Cache has done a decent job for me.
  • Take advantage of a grid layout. (Vertically align the separator between the picture and the ‘Popular Posts’ with the line between the main and complimentary content.)

Things to still test

  • Screen reader testing
  • Multiple User Agent testing (Older browsers, IPad, BlackBerry)

Keep in mind that this is not meant to slam any of the work that been done. It’s simply to improve things for all involved.

Overall, a good first effort. It’s always good to see people automate things in the effort of applying the best practices in recommended web standards. If there’s any questions about the points above, I’ll be happy to clarify them for you.

Future of Web Accessibility in Canada

Updated as of 29 November 2010

If you care anything about web and accessibility standards as much as I do, then you should be paying attention to a upcoming case that is challenging the federal government of Canada and it’s current state of web accessibility.

From September 21 to the 23 of 2010, Donna Jodhan, a legally blind Canadian, will have her day in court. Ms. Jodhan’s challenge is that the federal government’s current web sites are inaccessibile to those with visual impairments.

As per the press release from Bakerlaw Accessible Justice, this case was originally filed 2006 when Ms. Jodhan attempted to submit and application using a federal government job web site and was unsuccessful, despite asking the government for assistance.

It is truly is a shame that it has to come to this point. But, people should have access to information regardless of one’s ability. I’ll definitely be monitoring this case as it develops.

Reference