eA11 Transcript : Nigel Lewis and Peter Abrahams


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Transcript of the morning plenary at e-Access 11, 'Motivate and mobilise: getting started', presented by Nigel Lewis and Peter Abrahams.

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eA11 Transcript : Nigel Lewis and Peter Abrahams

  1. 1. e-Access 11: Transcript [Final, edited, approved]Opening plenary: Motivate and mobilise: getting startedSpeakers:Nigel Lewis, Chief Executive, AbilityNetPeter Abrahams, Accessibility Practice Leader, Bloor Research>> Nigel Lewis:So weve heard from the minister and we heard from Sandi about her 10 principles. As I wasintroduced at the beginning, Im chair of the snappy titled ‘One Voice for accessible ICT Coalition’.Nothing to do with the coalition government. The coalition, my coalition, not the governmentscoalition, is about trying to bring like minded individuals and organisations together to work on acommon agenda and purpose so we dont all repeat the same things, we dont keep doing the samethings and wasting our resources. Our main focus is around 3 areas:We want to promote whats already out there. There is a lot out there. In fact theres more thanenough out there to help people with their accessibility issues.We want to campaign to raise the awareness because lots of people still dont get it.And we want to professionalize the I.T. industry. If we can get the I.T. professionals and the industryand all the project managers etc., to build-in accessibility right at the beginning, then we have a goodchance of actually getting accessible systems and solutions and content delivered. Its a bit a shamethat alpha gov had a blip at the beginning. Lets hope thats the end, Adrian, for governmentprocurements.The one thing we want to do in One Voice is we want to be practical and provide practical guidance.We want to launch today, and Peter will take us through a detail in a second, what was originallygoing to be called the 10 steps program. We were having a debate about how many steps thereshould be. Were launching the practical steps program, which is about trying to provideorganisations and individuals simple steps, what to do, where to start, where to go for advice. Thisprogram will hopefully be built and developed over time. And were going to create a series ofpractical guides. The areas were looking at are listed here.Were launching here today the web accessibility guides, and some of you when you see it might sayits simple but youve got to start somewhere. Weve got to build upon these. We want to helpwithin the mobile space. Weve all got one of these phones that rings incessantly and beeps. Whatabout gaming, VOIP, the desktops operating environments, Windows and Mac. Were launching withweb accessibility. And the steps will grow and grow. Now Id like to hand over to Peter.>> Peter Abrahams:A few months ago we had a One Voice meeting and we decided that one of the issues in the world isthat there are lots of websites out there that dont get accessibility at all or at least their ownersdont get accessibility. And Nigel and Graham and Jean decided that what is really need is the first 10steps, what do you do first, and for a while we called it the first 10 steps.I remembered a mantra, from my early days in IBM, which talked about the magic number 7 plus or
  2. 2. minus 2. You shouldnt have more than 7 things on your list of to do list. If you have too many, youget confused. If you have too few, youre not working. 7 seems like a good number. It may be 5, 6, 7,8, 9, but it shouldnt be more than that. Sorry, Sandi, 10 is too many.So youll notice on this slide, which points you to where all this information is going to be, its calledthe 7 steps; but you will notice that on the next slide it says 8 steps. And one of the reasons for thatis that there is another announcement today on education that wasnt available when I started, thatbecomes the 8th step. Ill talk about that in a moment.So I believe that most of the people in this room are into accessibility, thats why youre here. Youvegot to recognise that, unfortunately, there are a large number of websites, alpha gov being one ofthem at the moment apparently, but lots of other where accessibility really doesnt exist. If we wentto the owner of some of those websites and said, what youve got to do is youve got to take all theprinciples from Sandi, all the principles from WCAG and youve got to fix all of that, theyll probablyjust look and say, “Ill do it another day”.Why were sticking to 8 is we think 8 is do-able. Its not overwhelming. If we say to someone thereare only 8 things youve got to do immediately, they might actually go and do it.Also 8 is not trivial. If we just said theres one thing youve got to do, and that will make your websitemore accessible, its not good enough.Im the editor of the book thats coming out, well, the online book thats coming out. And thequestion is going to be when people see it, and see the 8 steps, all the people who know anythingabout accessibility are going to say, why havent you got this? Why havent you got that?The way we did this was to say, if were going to have 8 steps, the first 8 steps that people are goingto take then:They have all got to be important. Some things in accessibility are I have to say more important thanothers. I think everything on here is important.They have to apply to most websites. If I told a website owner that youve got to do 8 things andnone of them apply to their website, that would seem a bit odd.I think the most contentious one is the next one which is they are relatively easy to implement. Ihave to say having been working on the website, that this is put on, some of the things that Imsuggesting are not fully implemented yet.The 8 steps will undoubtedly improve accessibility of most websites.And finally if you go through these 8 steps youll then have a much better idea of what else you haveto do.So steps 1, 2, 3.The first thing, Step 1, Im suggesting is that people do a quick accessibility check of their website.We provide a methodology for doing that to give you an indication of whether your website is veryaccessible, reasonably accessible, partially accessible, or is an absolute nightmare. One of thereasons for doing that is, unfortunately, I know that there are websites out there that are anabsolute nightmare and it would be difficult technically to fix them. Its worthwhile figuring that outfairly quickly.I should say that the steps dont need to be in this order. This is the order Im presenting them in.Step 2 is to publish an accessibility policy. A statement on your website which says, you intend to be
  3. 3. accessible. That is your intent. Now, I think a lot of websites are very frightened of doing thisbecause theyre frightened people are going to say, but youre not... I have to say I was -- I write forBloor research, and when I first started writing accessibility the Bloor website was not accessible. Wegot real flaming about this. Its uncomfortable when it happens. Notwithstanding I think itsimportant people say that. They can say in the policy: “we know we havent got it all right yet. Weare working on it. We will get better. Well come back to you in 6 months time, a years time, with anupdate”.If you have an accessibility policy saying that, then the next step, Step 3, is to provide a way forpeople to give feedback. So that when something is not right the user can easily go onto the websiteand say I have found a problem. The reason this is really important is it is a way for the websiteowner to begin to understand the things that are really important, the things that really effect theusers. This information can be used to prioritize the changes. Its also I think very useful in terms ofthe user of the website. There is nothing more frustrating than not being able to do something on awebsite and then not being able to tell the website owner that there is a problem. So providing avery simple way for people to contact us and provide that information I think is very important.Steps 1,2 and 3 are sort of setting the scene type steps. The next four steps are really a few technicalchanges that you ought to make to your website.Step 4 is providing a ‘jump to content’ link so that when someone tabs into a web page, it says, pressthis and youll go to the content. That means that you jump over all the menus and gets to the realcontent. You jump over all the adverts and rubbish thats either side of it and get directly to thething you were interested in when you got to this page.I suffer from a limited version of RSI. I dont like using a mouse. I tend to use the keyboard. I findsome websites are absolutely appalling. I hit the tab button and the tab button and the tab button…until I get to what I want. It is a nightmare and its unnecessary, jump-to content fixes it.Step 5 is ensuring the tab sequence is logical. Ive been to websites and you click on the tab buttonand the first link you get to is the top left. The next link you come to is halfway down the right side. Itgoes around like that. Its absolutely impossible to understand whats happening. Its impossible forme to use it with my RSI problem. Its also a nightmare for people who use screen users. They dontknow where they are. Its a problem for people who use screen magnifiers. They only see a bit of thescreen. They have no idea where theyve got to.Step 6 is ensuring that pictures and links have alternative text when they need them so the screen-reader users get the information about images and links in a useful format and dont get informationabout images they dont need.The 7th step is to ensure that text sizing works. So that if you press control plus on a website, youcan get the text to increase in size. I do it all the time I have to say. Partly, I have to say, because Ivegot a large iMac. I sit away from it. All the text is too small. It gets bigger and comfortable. Its veryimportant to people who have rather more serious vision impairments than I have.So there are the four technical things I think need to be done. I know there are lots of other thingspeople would suggest. Remember, these are the first steps.Right, let me just show you roughly what the website looks like. Youre not expected to read that.This is the content structure of each of the steps. Theres a page on the website for each step. Andwithin that there are sections, which talk about:
  4. 4. The reason for this particular step. Very short.Some information about the implementation, not the technical implementation but the kind ofthings you should do.Links to good and bad examples.I have some videos on there showing you how this works.There is a section on further reading. Very often theres a link to the WCAG guideline that is relevantto the particular step were talking about.And then there are going to be techniques, which says, if you want to do this step, this is how you doit.Now, this is where we ask whether the technology is going to work. This is the live site. You can see alittle bit better. This is an example of the ‘jump to content’ link. You can see theres a little sectionabout reason. Im not going to go through the detail. Theres stuff about implementation, what youshould do, pointers to examples. This is where we try some really clever stuff and show you a littlebit of the video.Im going to stop it there. All I really wanted to show you was that we have videos in there. It has avoice commentary so people who want to listen to it can hear it. Im afraid its my voice, thats thebest I can do at the moment. It also has closed captioning included on it. So that people who aredeaf or hard of hearing or potentially are in an environment where they cant use speakers canaccess the information.So thats what weve done so far.Which brings me to step 8. Step 8 is new. One of the things that becomes fairly obvious when youthink about the initial steps is that the people who are involved with the website (web owner andthe web developers) need some education about accessibility.When we originally did this and there were only 7 steps, I didnt talk about education. The reason forthat was there wasnt any obvious education for them to have. Im glad to say that today wereannouncing the first module of some education specifically about accessibility. It is called digitalaccessibility e-learning. Its about web essentials. It has been commissioned by the Equality andHuman Rights commission, by AbilityNet, Nigel, and by the BCS, I suppose in particular Jean. Its alearning module and online examination.Its an accredited qualification. If you take this, you get points. Its only initially level 1 at themoment. This is an introduction to accessibility, probably exactly what the kind of people that weare talking about in the 8 steps need.And theres a plan to do qualifications for level 2 and 3 for accessibility as part of e-learning. It saysvisit partner demo, down in the corner later in the coffee break.So weve created the 7 steps. Weve created the portal. Weve created the booklet. Where do we gonext?We need to add more detail to those 8 steps. It has been created over the last few weeks. There areplaces where Im sure if you read it you would say, we can improve on that. We would like to do afurther booklet on where you go next, what the rest of the steps of the journey are.There are other accessibility areas, the list that Nigel produced at the beginning, with all the others,
  5. 5. mobile, etc., where he mentioned Windows and Mac. It occurs to me, Nigel, that we ought to addiPad to that as well.>> Nigel: Absolutely.>> Peter: And theres a request to all the people in this room because I know you all understand it,come and join One Voice. I believe that if we get more people involved with that, we will have abetter chance of making sure accessibility gets out into the community.I would love to get responses back; validation of whats in the 8 steps and what else should be there.I need some help in fact with the techniques. There are certain things in there about how you shoulddo it technically which I need some help with. We need to extend it. We need to create new areas.Theres plenty of more work that can be done by the community thats here today.Thank you very much. (Clapping)