TCUK 2013 Presentation Adrian Warman

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There are two trends that technical communicators must be aware of, and manage.

Accessibility is an increasingly important consideration when developing and delivering products, services, and technical information. In some regions or market sectors, you might not be permitted to sell your products or services unless you can demonstrate accessibility.

The growth of mobile platforms continues to accelerate. Figures vary, but the expectation is that 2013 will be characterized by a significant cross-over as the sales of tablet devices exceed those of PCs and laptops for the first time.

Individually, these trends are significant – but what are the implications when they interact with each other, or even combine? It might seem that mobile devices can view existing web content in an accessible form without difficulty. But is that always true?

In this presentation, we review key aspects of these accessibility and mobility trends, illustrated with simple examples. We explore the impact of accessibility and mobility interaction, and outline ways in which you and your organization can manage technical content to benefit from the resulting opportunity.

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TCUK 2013 Presentation Adrian Warman

  1. 1. Technical Communication UK Conference 2013© 2013 IBM Corporation Managing accessible mobile content Dr. Adrian R. Warman Information Architect IBM United Kingdom Ltd.
  2. 2. Technical Communication UK Conference 2013© 2013 IBM Corporation Important Disclaimer ● ANY VIEWS OR OPINIONS EXPRESSED IN THIS PRESENTATION ARE THOSE OF THE AUTHOR, AND DO NOT NECESSARILY REPRESENT OFFICIAL POSITIONS, STRATEGIES OR OPINIONS OF INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES (IBM) CORPORATION. ● THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS PRESENTATION IS PROVIDED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. ● WHILE EFFORTS WERE MADE TO VERIFY THE COMPLETENESS AND ACCURACY OF THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS PRESENTATION, IT IS PROVIDED “AS IS”, WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED. ● IN ADDITION, THIS INFORMATION IS BASED ON IBM’S CURRENT PRODUCT PLANS AND STRATEGY, WHICH ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE BY IBM WITHOUT NOTICE. ● IBM SHALL NOT BE RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY DAMAGES ARISING OUT OF THE USE OF, OR OTHERWISE RELATED TO, THIS PRESENTATION OR ANY OTHER DOCUMENTATION. ● NOTHING CONTAINED IN THIS PRESENTATION IS INTENDED TO, OR SHALL HAVE THE EFFECT OF: ● CREATING ANY WARRANTY OR REPRESENTATION FROM IBM (OR ITS AFFILIATES OR ITS OR THEIR SUPPLIERS AND/OR LICENSORS); OR ● ALTERING THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF THE APPLICABLE LICENSE AGREEMENT GOVERNING THE USE OF IBM SOFTWARE.
  3. 3. Technical Communication UK Conference 2013© 2013 IBM Corporation Agenda ● Introduction ● What do we mean by accessibility? ● “Incoming!” - trends and opportunities. ● Implications for organizations... ● … and writers. ● Reducing accessibility problems (in your content). ● Managing the implications. ● Q&A We are scratching the surface ...
  4. 4. Technical Communication UK Conference 2013© 2013 IBM Corporation Introduction ● Who am I? – Dr. Adrian R. Warman – Information Architect ● Where do I work? – IBM United Kingdom Limited – Hursley Park, Winchester ● Email: Adrian.Warman@uk.ibm.com ● Tel: +44-196-281-9176 ● Social – Google+: Adrian Warman – Twitter: @warmana – LinkedIn: Adrian Warman
  5. 5. Technical Communication UK Conference 2013© 2013 IBM Corporation What do we mean by accessibility? ● A dry but general definition: “The extent to which a person with disabilities has the same experience as anyone else when using hardware, software, content, services, meetings and processes to achieve an outcome. The disabilities include, but are not limited to, blindness and low vision, deafness and hearing loss, learning disabilities, cognitive limitations, limited movement, speech disabilities, photosensitivity and combinations of these.” ● In other words… Making it easier for everyone to fit in, participate, and contribute, irrespective of any disabilities.
  6. 6. Technical Communication UK Conference 2013© 2013 IBM Corporation Some practical experiments... ● To get a better understanding, let’s try a few things.
  7. 7. Technical Communication UK Conference 2013© 2013 IBM Corporation Preparation for the experiments ● Divide into pairs. – But not with your neighbor(s). – The person sitting in front or behind would be ideal. ● The cleverest one should close their eyes… ;-)
  8. 8. Technical Communication UK Conference 2013© 2013 IBM Corporation Experiment One ● We just did it. ● How do you evaluate something you can’t see, touch, or hear (cleverness)? ● Especially when that evaluation affects the actions you take next. ● Were you self-deprecating? Generous? ● Did you yield to age or authority? ● Were you “Politically Correct”?
  9. 9. Technical Communication UK Conference 2013© 2013 IBM Corporation Experiment Two
  10. 10. Technical Communication UK Conference 2013© 2013 IBM Corporation Experiment Two - the proof
  11. 11. Technical Communication UK Conference 2013© 2013 IBM Corporation Experiment Three
  12. 12. Technical Communication UK Conference 2013© 2013 IBM Corporation What have these experiments told us?
  13. 13. Technical Communication UK Conference 2013© 2013 IBM Corporation How do we know when something is accessible? ● Formal guidance and measures ● W3C: Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) – Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 ● Recommendations for making Web content more accessible. – Accessible Rich Internet Applications (WAI-ARIA) – Increasing the accessibility of web pages, in particular dynamic content and user interface components developed with Ajax, HTML, JavaScript and related technologies. ● Following these guidelines will also often make your Web content more usable to users in general.
  14. 14. Technical Communication UK Conference 2013© 2013 IBM Corporation Time for a sharp turn...
  15. 15. Technical Communication UK Conference 2013© 2013 IBM Corporation The “hot, new” trend...
  16. 16. Technical Communication UK Conference 2013© 2013 IBM Corporation Implications of Mobile ● Consumer and organizational demand for 'mobile enablement' is inexorable. ● But simply making content creation and delivery processes 'mobile friendly' is: – At best, insufficient. – At worst, information sabotage. ● Why? – Mobile is not a technology. – Mobile is a mindset. ● It requires creation and delivery process adjustment. ● Just like accessibility. Personal Opinion Alert!
  17. 17. Technical Communication UK Conference 2013© 2013 IBM Corporation So how accessible are mobile devices? ● Mobile devices have multiple platforms and form factors: – Android, iOS, Windows, Blackberry – Differing capabilities for accessibility ● Currently, iOS and Android are probably best at accessibility, with iOS slightly ahead because of: – Capabilities – Gesture support – Built-in screen reader – Wireless Bluetooth keyboard support – Field navigation – Some support for WAI-ARIA – Support for those with limited mobility
  18. 18. Technical Communication UK Conference 2013© 2013 IBM Corporation Simple things to consider: Part 1: Fonts
  19. 19. Technical Communication UK Conference 2013© 2013 IBM Corporation Part 1b: Fonts – the results
  20. 20. Technical Communication UK Conference 2013© 2013 IBM Corporation Part 1c: Fonts – the analysis ● Issues – Not all platforms have a large font mode – Large font setting works only with some default apps – Font size is not available to programmers – Cost prohibitive and inconsistent to have each team implement large font profiles ● Workaround / Solution: – Use of built-in Zoom feature – Use of high contrast
  21. 21. Technical Communication UK Conference 2013© 2013 IBM Corporation Part 2: Contrast
  22. 22. Technical Communication UK Conference 2013© 2013 IBM Corporation Part 2b: Contrast – the analysis ● Issues: – Not all platforms have a high contrast setting – Might have reverse video mode - reverses everything: good and bad contrast – Good (true) contrast must be provided by developer – Cost prohibitive and inconsistent to have each team implement user color / contrast profiles ● Solution: – Require teams to meet recommended contrast – Use in conjunction with reverse video to provide two high contrast modes
  23. 23. Technical Communication UK Conference 2013© 2013 IBM Corporation Part 3: Keyboards
  24. 24. Technical Communication UK Conference 2013© 2013 IBM Corporation Part 3: Keyboards – the analysis ● Most mobile devices have no physical keyboard – Paired Bluetooth keyboard navigation doesn’t match ARIA convention – Paired Bluetooth keyboard interface doesn’t provide adaptive keyboard ● Sticky keys, repeat control, etc. – Cost prohibitive and inconsistent to have each team implement specialized keyboard handling ● Workarounds / Solutions: – Achieve accessibility using paired Bluetooth keyboard – Follow platform keyboard conventions – Document platform limitations
  25. 25. Technical Communication UK Conference 2013© 2013 IBM Corporation Part 4: Simple content fixes ● Think carefully about sensory / descriptive words (adverbs, adjectives) and phrases. – “Red button” – “double-click” – “Bold text” – “... the diagram above.” ● They might suggest you are about to be inaccessible. ● Test, test, test – Screenreader – A colleague who has their eyes closed – .. or who performs the task with their non-dominant hand.
  26. 26. Technical Communication UK Conference 2013© 2013 IBM Corporation Now leverage those considerations, for the mobile mindset! ● If you are changing text, consider whether you could replace with a picture, a video, or even better, an audio accompaniment. ● In other words... – Could you supplement all content with audio? – Could you simplify navigation to allow single-handed operation? … in the dark, with your eyes closed? ● Mobile users expect a more immersive, multimedia experience. ● Use those multimedia aspects to meet and exceed accessibility requirements.
  27. 27. Technical Communication UK Conference 2013© 2013 IBM Corporation But what about the organizational aspects? ● Accessibility makes good business sense. – Increases market share – Avoids market inhibitors ● Increasing need to meet national and international obligations. ● Just one example: – European Accessibility Requirements for Public Procurement of Products and Services in the ICT Domain (European Commission Standardization Mandate M 376, Phase 2) – Potentially affects procurement, market entry. – A work-in-progress, currently. No legal advice offered or implied!
  28. 28. Technical Communication UK Conference 2013© 2013 IBM Corporation In summary, what are the expectations for managing mobile accessibility? ● At a simple level, consider the accessibility aspects of the mobile expectations you want to meet: – “Stand up” v. “Sit down” tasks. – “Tell me about...” – “How do I ...” – “What is the exact meaning of error message 12345?” ● At a more complex level, understand that the twin imperatives of mobile and accessibility will affect the creation and delivery of your products and services. – The rapid changes brought about by mobile increase the speed and risk of compliance failure.
  29. 29. Technical Communication UK Conference 2013© 2013 IBM Corporation Q&A

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