I had been to conferences with live transcription before, but SRCCON 2014 was my first time seeing them at a mainstream conference. The transcription services even inspired a battle between a debate champion and the captioner. Three years later, and I’ve gone back the transcripts a few times a phrase or remind myself of the conversation. I am generally a person without any hearing related disability. I’m sure years of playing music, working concerts, and listening to headphones has left me with some hearing loss, but in general, I can hear at conferences. Except sometimes the room is loud. Or a person near me is talking. Or the mic isn’t held close enough to the speaker. In those cases, I’m reminded of one of the top reasons I love live captioning for tech conferences.
If #srccon was Happy Days, the transcribers would be the Fonz. Total breakout characters. All conferences should have them.— Aaron Jorbin (@aaronjorbin) July 26, 2014
This year has seen a lot of positive change in the WordPress contributor community, especially in the area of accessibility.
Take for instance, the appearance this year of two new faces on the credits screen as of WordPress 4.3:
Drew is completely on target here. The WordPress Accessibility team has been rocking it lately. It wasn’t long ago that the question of if the Accessibility team should exist was floating around. They were the only team without a product, but instead focused on things across many teams. Since then, the team has stepped up big time and really is making WordPress better for everyone. While Drew highlights the work they do for core in his post, they also have:
- Created the Accessibility Ready guidlines and tag for themes
- Helped to improve the accessibility of wordpress.org
- Helped WordCamps have more accessible sites
- much much more
Kudos to the WordPressAccessibility Team. WordPress, and thus the web, is better because of the work they do.
One of my favorite changes coming in WordPress 4.2 is a new accessibility API to help with communicating changes on the page to Screen Readers. Core is using it in a number of places (including shiny updates) to improve the experience for users of screen readers. I’m excited to see plugins start taking advantage of it as well. The first step in accessibility is making something usable. The second is making sure the experience is top notch. This helps support step two.
“The redness isn’t a property of the apple. It’s a property of the apple in combination with a particular lighting that’s on it and a particular observer looking at it.”
Next to typography, color is the most important part of the visual design of your website. Yet, color is also very misunderstood. Color more than any other part of web design, does not live in a bubble. Color is about how things relate to each other. Saying that #990000 is an easy color to read can change if your background is black, white, or pink
Ensuring that colors contrast correctly means both ensuring that there is enough luminance contrast, but also so that there is enough simultaneous contrast. And if that isn’t enough, we also need to remember to take into account the psychological effect of different colors and the cultural meanings that our color can have.
These four factors combine to make color selection a non-trivial problem. What makes color an even harder problem is that we are only at the type of the iceberg for color perception. What else effects color display? Our screens calibration. The tools we use to change how color display based on the time of day. The cones in our eyes. The lighting in the room.
Color is far from a simple problem. All these factors combine to show why we can’t rush color decisions. They need to be thought out and considered from many angles. As Josef Albers wrote in the seminal Interaction of Color, “In order to use color effectively it is necessary to recognize that color deceives continually.”
Last year, I went to Accessibility Camp DC 2010 and afterwards said:
Before hand, I knew just a little bit about accessibility, but I’m happy to say that I walked out with a ton of new knowledge and a desire to keep learning on the subject.
I’m happy to say I did keep learning and this continued at Accessibility Camp DC 2011. Some of the highlights for me this year included:
- Russell Heimlich presenting about Video Captioning including its history and more importantly, many of the solutions that are available. I think I now want to shoot another video so I can try it out.
- Ed Summers talking about making charts, graphs, and maps accessible. Ed demonstrated a cool user experience for voice over interactions with touch based charts (iPad, iPod, etc.).
- Great discussions with Eric Wright, John Utter, Char James-Tanny, Kevin Chao, Jennison Asuncion, Paul Adam, and many many others.
- Presenting about some of the work we have done making AddThis more accessible. My slides are available.
Thanks to John Croston and everyone that helped organize and run this things. This is the first annual event in DC that I’ve attended multiple times and I am already looking forward to next years event.
I spent last Saturday at Accessibility Camp DC learning about some ways to make technology more accessible to the world. Before hand, I knew just a little bit about accessibility, but I’m happy to say that I walked out with a ton of new knowledge and a desire to keep learning on the subject. Some of the highlights for me:
- Jeanne Spellman from the W3C speaking about standards and the upcoming Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines. She also spoke of other important standards that all developers should be aware of when it comes to accessibility. Slides
- Russell Heimlich (like the maneuver) gave speaking about “”How to Build an Accessible Website from the Ground Up” that was one of the most code heavy speeches for the day.
I can’t wait to see his slides online so I can look through them for all the great tipsEDIT:Russell shared his slides in the comments below.
- The Fire eyes plugin is a great tool for accessibility testing. Every developer should have it in there toolkit.
- UX expert Jimmy Chandler speaking about Integrating Accessibility Into Your Projects.
- The Able Gamers Foundation had some cool accessible games setup. I was able to play a racing game with my face, much like a quadriplegic would. It gave me a completely different prospective on gaming.
Overall, I’m incredibly happy that I went and can’t wait to continue learning. Big thanks to John Croston and his team for organizing this great event. Hopefully in the next year I will have learned enough to feel comfortable presenting a session at Accessibility Camp DC 2011.