Georgia Tech hacking Accessibility

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  • 1. Accessibility Hacking Christian Heilmann | http://wait-till-i.com | http://scriptingenabled.org Georgia, Atlanta, US, Hack-U Georgia Tech, March 2009
  • 2. What is accessibility?
  • 3. To find this out, let’s start with an expert.
  • 4. Sir Isaac Newton
  • 5. Portrait of Isaac Newton
  • 6. Picture of an apple
  • 7. Right now, we have quite a big mass of people who care and talk about accessibility.
  • 8. we access
  • 9. The problem is that a mass is not a force without any movement or acceleration.
  • 10. we access F = ma “the net force on an object is equal to the mass of the object multiplied by its acceleration.”
  • 11. This means that if we give this mass a push, it becomes a force.
  • 12. we access
  • 13. The more we push, the larger the force will get, and the bigger its impact will be.
  • 14. we access
  • 15. However, this only works, when we all push in the same direction.
  • 16. we access
  • 17. Otherwise, all we do is exert our strength pushing against each other.
  • 18. We do move the mass, but only randomly, and eventually it might get motion sick.
  • 19. This is where web accessibility is right now.
  • 20. A lot of people are simply getting sick of the inertia.
  • 21. Accessibility supporters are getting sick of things not moving forward.
  • 22. People seem to be more interested in checking boxes than removing barriers.
  • 23. Developers get sick of having accessibility as a show stopper.
  • 24. Developers are getting sick of being told off for not following guidelines that don’t seem to make sense.
  • 25. However, we all are ready for action.
  • 26. Accessibility supporters are happy to tell people about the impact of bad usability or technical assumptions.
  • 27. Developers are happy to spend hours on solving problems...
  • 28. ...right now mostly problems they came up with themselves.
  • 29. So what we are really facing here is a breakdown of communication.
  • 30. Accessibility is about removing barriers.
  • 31. The web is there for everybody, regardless of physical condition, location, or technical setup.
  • 32. When building web products people keep forgetting this.
  • 33. And if they consider it, then we add extras to make things accessible and look, err, interesting.
  • 34. http://www.shopmobilityuk.org/
  • 35. Put down Frontpage and step away from the internets, sir.
  • 36. Accessibility is not about building extra solutions for users with disabilities.
  • 37. It is about seeing disabilities as an hard core test case for our products.
  • 38. Making our products free of barriers improves the experience for all users.
  • 39. Sometimes this is as easy as rethinking a solution and getting back to basics.
  • 40. http://uk.tv.yahoo.com/
  • 41. http://uk.tv.yahoo.com/
  • 42. http://finance.yahoo.com/currency-converter? u#from=USD;to=EUR;amt=1
  • 43. http://developer.yahoo.net/blog/archives/ 2009/01/accessible_converter.html
  • 44. Three things make a really accessible solution:
  • 45. Knowledge about the barriers.
  • 46. A drive to make it a great experience for everyone.
  • 47. Being open to find consensus.
  • 48. Let’s take a tough nut to crack.
  • 49. A friend of mine works for a charity of people with learning disabilities.
  • 50. She tried in vain to find a video player that works for the people she cares for.
  • 51. Until she found me and I found the YouTube API: http://code.google.com/apis/youtube/overview.html
  • 52. Easy YouTube.
  • 53. Screenshot of Easy YouTube http://icant.co.uk/easy-youtube/?http:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=vkdZmi85gxk
  • 54. Easy controls ★ Option to search for videos ★ Copy and paste video URL to share ★ Select video size ★ Easy Volume Control ★ Option to show a playlist created with del.icio.us ★ Option to search YouTube ★ API to automatically open videos in Easy YouTube ★ Documentation how to host it yourself ★ Open Source ★
  • 55. That’ll never make it to the mainstream, though...
  • 56. Or will it?
  • 57. Screenshots of uk.video.yahoo.com with and without JavaScript http://uk.video.yahoo.com/
  • 58. I earlier used the YouTube API to build easy captioning interfaces.
  • 59. I also used the YouTube API earlier to build easy captioning interfaces. http://icant.co.uk/sandbox/youtube-captioning.html
  • 60. Which inspired others to hack their annotations API:
  • 61. http://www.nihilogic.dk/labs/youtubeannotations/
  • 62. And again others to build a whole web app about it:
  • 63. http://www.tubecaption.com/watch?v=jpCPvHJ6p90&vcId=137
  • 64. and maybe, just maybe YouTube to now offer it aswell... (yeah, I don’t believe it myself either)
  • 65. The main trick is to make Flash and JavaScript talk via APIs.
  • 66. Flash accessibility is much harder than just making the movie keyboard accessible.
  • 67. The big issue is that especially in Firefox you cannot focus the Flash movie with the keyboard.
  • 68. Flash, however, can talk to JavaScript and get parameters.
  • 69. If you build your Flash component to call outside JavaScripts notifying them about the happenings, sky is the limit.
  • 70. If you write out your Flash using SWFObject, you can send any parameter you want.
  • 71. But what if you don’t have a Flash developer or you don’t have time and money to build your own player?
  • 72. This is where geeks come in.
  • 73. Geeks like Scott Schiller
  • 74. Photo of Scott Schiller
  • 75. Scott works for Flickr, so naturally he’d spend his free time on...
  • 76. ...writing an MP3 player for JavaScript.
  • 77. Using his Soundmanager2, you can create a player for a list of MP3s you link to in HTML.
  • 78. http://www.schillmania.com/projects/soundmanager2/
  • 79. http://www.schillmania.com/projects/soundmanager2/
  • 80. http://www.schillmania.com/projects/soundmanager2/
  • 81. Other geeks found this, and started to mix it with transcripts of music to create a Karaoke machine..
  • 82. http://dt.in.th/2008–05–18.javascript-karaoke-lyric-scroller.html
  • 83. Seemingly pointless bells and whistles...
  • 84. ... but using this you could build a podcast and transcript viewer that works...
  • 85. ... for sensory impaired visitors and everybody else alike!
  • 86. For video, there’s Jeroen Wijering who built the JW FLV Media Player.
  • 87. Screenshot of the JW Video Player http://www.jeroenwijering.com/?item=JW_FLV_Player
  • 88. Using this, you can embed FLV videos easily into web sites and have an API to control them.
  • 89. Using the right meta data, you can also add audio descriptions and captions.
  • 90. Screenshot of the JW player with captioning and audio description showing a scene from Coronation Street. http://www.jeroenwijering.com/?item=JW_FLV_Player
  • 91. Another area we are seeing some tweaking in is browser and software extensions.
  • 92. AxsJax or Access-enabling Ajax is a JavaScript library that injects ARIA attributes into web sites.
  • 93. http://code.google.com/p/google-axsjax/
  • 94. WebVisum is a Firefox 3 extension that crowdsources fixes for web sites – including allowing screenreader users to fix issues themselves and work around CAPTCHAs.
  • 95. http://webvisum.com/
  • 96. IBM’s social accessibility project works in a similar fashion, except it is a screen reader extension that reports barriers to volunteers to fix.
  • 97. http://services.alphaworks.ibm.com/socialaccessibility/
  • 98. The final proof for me that we can work together on removing barriers was throwing the idea out at BBC’s Mashed08 hack day.
  • 99. Photo of me and screenshot of the “Easy BBC Audio Archive” http://www.flickr.com/photos/arron-woods/2605302289/
  • 100. I won a prize – funding for my own hack event.
  • 101. On the 19th and 20th of September 2008, around a 100 people listened to 6 speakers...
  • 102. ... speakers with different barriers to the web or researchers that spoke for people with barriers.
  • 103. On the second day about 30 hackers took these insights and built solutions that work around these barriers.
  • 104. We now have presentations on the barriers faced by the blind, dyslexic, learning disabled, the impacts of MS and and and... http://scriptingenabled.org/presentations/
  • 105. The videos of these talks are now being transcribed and will be online soon.
  • 106. We have hacks working around these issues.
  • 107. Easy Google Maps Reduce to the max Easy Audio Books Stylesheet Selector Accessible Editing ... http://scriptingenabed.pbwiki.com/
  • 108. The energy at the event was amazing.
  • 109. For *nearly 10 hours* we presented and discussed in Q&A sessions on day one.
  • 110. Hackers didn’t bother with presenting and competing with their hacks from 4–5pm as intended...
  • 111. ... but instead stayed till 7.30pm and kept hacking until we had to leave the building!
  • 112. But the best thing of all is seeing what your hack enables people to do.
  • 113. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dHBvqwRAduw http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CwsDKaalgq8& http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QiuT0y0KR6I
  • 114. So instead of building the next “photos on a map with search results and videos on top” hack...
  • 115. Have a look at what keeps people from enjoying the web because of their physical condition.
  • 116. And remove that barrier!
  • 117. THANKS! Keep in touch: Christian Heilmann http://wait-till-i.com http://scriptingenabled.org http://twitter.com/codepo8