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Boosting new media accessibility - Scott Hollier


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This talk focuses on the efforts engaged by W3C and its members to promote and improve web standards and in particular HTML 5 with mechanisms to allow people with disabilities to access multimedia content, including audio and video.

Scott will present the current user experiences of accessibility and the challenges of getting uptake in government. This would include the take-up of W3C access standards within government, use of WCAG and ATAG by developers, the technical challenges of video-specific implementations of captioning and audio description, and ways in which such challenges can be better addressed through the involvement of Internet users.

Published in: Design, Technology
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Boosting new media accessibility - Scott Hollier

  1. 1. Boosting New Media Accessibility Dr Scott HOLLIER Presentation for Web Directions South 2009
  2. 2. Who is Media Access Australia? <ul><li>Not-for-profit organisation addressing access issues in: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>TV </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cinema </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>DVD </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Education </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>New Media </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Access issues include captioning, audio description, computer-related and Internet-related access issues </li></ul>
  3. 3. Who am I? <ul><li>Professional: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Project Manager New Media, Media Access Australia </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Advisory Committee member of the W3C </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Academic: PhD thesis examined ways to make computers and the Internet more accessible to people with disabilities </li></ul><ul><li>Personal: Legally blind, first-hand knowledge of access issues </li></ul>
  4. 4. Introduction <ul><li>Why should you care for the IT needs of people with disabilities? </li></ul><ul><li>Brief history of access: benefits and barriers </li></ul><ul><li>User perspective: how do people with disabilities use computers and the Internet? </li></ul><ul><li>Developer perspective: W3C, WCAG 2.0 and ATAG 2.0 (draft) </li></ul><ul><li>Online video: perception and the reality </li></ul><ul><li>How MAA can support your development projects </li></ul>
  5. 5. What is new media? <ul><li>New Media used to be about the emergence of digital technologies: now it’s about convergence </li></ul><ul><li>MAA looks at new media in terms of usability and accessibility </li></ul><ul><li>Usability is generally associated with intuitiveness and ease of use. </li></ul><ul><li>Accessibility focuses on application and design issues specifically for people with disabilities. Usability is an important part of accessibility </li></ul>
  6. 6. Cases for accessibility <ul><li>Moral/Social case: care for others in society, good thing to do </li></ul><ul><li>Educational case: accessible online resources leads to improved educational opportunities, then to a reductions in unemployment and poverty </li></ul><ul><li>Corporate case: inaccessibility may prevent customers from purchasing goods and services </li></ul><ul><li>Legal case: danger of being sued if accessibility not considered (SOCOG, Target USA, HSBC) </li></ul>
  7. 7. Brief history of access <ul><li>For the mainstream population, Internet was viewed primarily as an information and communication resource </li></ul><ul><li>For people with disabilities, Internet was viewed as a gateway to independence </li></ul>
  8. 8. Where we are <ul><li>Today, both mainstream and people with disabilities view the Internet as an essential service due to: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Choice of media type: text, audio and video on demand </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Real-time information delivery: Internet TV and radio </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Real-time AV communication: Skype </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Collaboration: Cloud computing and social networking </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Access issues <ul><li>Although these products sound great, people with disabilities are 18% less likely to have any form of Internet access in the home. Issues include: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Broadband access remains poor </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>70% of the population </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>30% of people with core disabilities </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Website accessibility issues (social networking) </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Access issues <ul><ul><li>Limited captioning and audio description availability </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cloud computing: some good hardware options (netbooks) but still access issues with phones/PDAs/online applications and OS. </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Why your work is important <ul><li>Initial premise of PhD study: people with disabilities are not using the Internet as much as the able-bodied population because they try to access computers and the Internet, but give up after running into barriers. </li></ul><ul><li>Was this true? </li></ul>
  12. 12. Why your work is important <ul><li>No! </li></ul><ul><li>People surveyed were aware of importance of IT and highly knowledgeable </li></ul><ul><li>Although there were barriers, they don’t give up and continue to fight for access </li></ul><ul><li>How to resolve: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Communication and engagement between developers and the end user is the key </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Improvements to policy and legislative frameworks </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. User experience <ul><li>Today, people with disabilities generally use assistive technologies to help use a computer </li></ul><ul><li>Assistive Technology is the practical implementation of technology to support and help people </li></ul><ul><li>OS contains many tools, but additional products often required for full featured access </li></ul><ul><li>AT software costs about $1200-$2000 </li></ul>
  14. 14. Windows XP/Vista features <ul><li>Change the icon and text size </li></ul><ul><li>Adjust cursor width and blink rate </li></ul><ul><li>Toggle Keys </li></ul><ul><li>Mouse pointer size and movement </li></ul><ul><li>Mouse Lock and Toggle Keys </li></ul><ul><li>Change the colour scheme to high contrast </li></ul><ul><li>Show Sounds </li></ul><ul><li>On-screen keyboard </li></ul><ul><li>Magnifier </li></ul><ul><li>Narrator </li></ul>
  15. 15. Additional Windows products <ul><li>Screen reader (JAWS, Window Eyes) </li></ul><ul><li>Screen magnifier (ZoomText, MAGic) </li></ul>
  16. 16. Mac features <ul><li>Improvements over Windows XP/Vista: </li></ul><ul><li>Improved screen reader VoiceOver </li></ul><ul><li>Full-screen Zoom feature </li></ul><ul><li>Braille display support </li></ul><ul><li>However… </li></ul><ul><li>VoiceOver doesn’t work with the Office suite (only works with Cocoa apps) </li></ul><ul><li>Hit-and-miss with Safari, although improved with Snow Leopard </li></ul>
  17. 17. What’s changing? <ul><li>Mainstream options reducing the need for expensive assistive technology products </li></ul><ul><li>Windows 7: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Full screen magnifier </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Predictive text in on-screen keyboard </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Works well on netbooks </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Free screen readers: WebAnywhere, NVDA </li></ul><ul><li>Netbooks becoming 3G and touch-capable </li></ul><ul><li>Reliance on collaboration and the cloud </li></ul><ul><li>iPhone 3GS with VoiceOver now an option </li></ul>
  18. 18. Web development <ul><li>World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) formed by Tim Berners-Lee in 1992 </li></ul><ul><li>Initially inaccessible as AT products couldn’t ‘read out’ graphics </li></ul><ul><li>Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 published in 1999, became definitive standard for web accessibility </li></ul><ul><li>65 checkpoints across three Priority levels </li></ul>
  19. 19. WCAG 2.0 <ul><li>Original WCAG very HTML-specific, became rapidly outdated </li></ul><ul><li>In 2001, WCAG 2.0 working group formed </li></ul><ul><li>Shift in focus from developer code compliance to user task achievement </li></ul>
  20. 20. WCAG 2.0 controversy <ul><li>Development process went for seven long years: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>‘To Hell With WCAG 2’: a frustrated Joe Clark felt that 165 pages for the ‘easy to understand’ manual was too obscure, vague, and a backwards step </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>‘To Hell With Joe Clark” by Martin Kliehm felt that WCAG 2.0 simplified the issues, provided achievable goals and better supported new web technologies </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. WCAG 2.0 <ul><li>Released in December 2008 </li></ul><ul><li>Although WCAG 1.0 still used in Australia, 2.0 quickly adopted in US, EU </li></ul><ul><li>Based around four POUR design principles: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Perceivable (adjustable) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Operable (finding what you want) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Understandable (content) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Robust: (other technologies) </li></ul></ul>
  22. 22. WCAG 2.0 <ul><li>Perceivable: </li></ul><ul><li>Provide text alternatives for non-text content. </li></ul><ul><li>Provide captions and alternatives for audio and video content. </li></ul><ul><li>Make content adaptable; and make it available to assistive technologies. </li></ul><ul><li>Use sufficient contrast to make things easy to see and hear. </li></ul>
  23. 23. WCAG 2.0 <ul><li>Operable: </li></ul><ul><li>Make all functionality keyboard accessible. </li></ul><ul><li>Give users enough time to read and use content. </li></ul><ul><li>Do not use content that causes seizures. </li></ul><ul><li>Help users navigate and find content. </li></ul>
  24. 24. WCAG 2.0 <ul><li>Understandable: </li></ul><ul><li>Make text readable and understandable. </li></ul><ul><li>Make content appear and operate in predictable ways. </li></ul><ul><li>Help users avoid and correct mistakes. </li></ul><ul><li>Robust: </li></ul><ul><li>Maximize compatibility with current and future technologies. </li></ul>
  25. 25. Application development <ul><li>W3C also provides the Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines </li></ul><ul><li>ATAG 2.0 supports WCAG 2.0, but still in draft </li></ul><ul><li>Two parts: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>PART A: Make the authoring tool user interface accessible </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>PART B: Support the production of accessible content </li></ul></ul>
  26. 26. ATAG 2.0 (draft) <ul><li>PART A: Make the authoring tool user interface accessible </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Authoring tool user interfaces must follow applicable accessibility guidelines </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Editing views must be perceivable </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Editing views must be operable </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Editing views must be understandable </li></ul></ul>
  27. 27. ATAG 2.0 (draft) <ul><li>PART B: Support the production of accessible content </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Production of accessible content must be enabled </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Authors must be supported in the production of accessible content </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Accessibility solutions must be promoted and integrated </li></ul></ul>
  28. 28. Online video <ul><li>Most online video lacks accessibility features </li></ul><ul><li>Many arguments as to why it’s not possible </li></ul><ul><li>Perception and reality are different </li></ul>
  29. 29. Online video <ul><li>The perception: </li></ul><ul><li>“ The technology can’t support closed captions or audio description.” </li></ul>
  30. 30. Online video <ul><li>The reality: </li></ul><ul><li>Flash, Windows Media, Real, QuickTime and open standards all support closed captions. Internet Captioning Forum: </li></ul><ul><li>Only Windows Media doesn’t support multiple audio tracks for AD, but Microsoft have released AMP to resolve this: </li></ul>
  31. 31. Online video <ul><li>The perception: </li></ul><ul><li>“ It’s all too hard and time-consuming.” </li></ul>
  32. 32. Online video <ul><li>The reality: </li></ul><ul><li>CaptionTube: an easy way to caption YouTube clips </li></ul><ul><li>Captions can be saved back onto local machine, don’t have to be put on YouTube </li></ul><ul><li>If uploaded to YouTube, captions can be translated in real-time to different languages </li></ul>
  33. 33. Online video <ul><li>The perception: </li></ul><ul><li>“ There’s no point: hardly anyone is captioning online, and online audio description is like the Yeti: you hear about it but no one's ever seen it.” </li></ul>
  34. 34. Online video <ul><li>The reality: </li></ul><ul><li>BBC iPlayer now features both closed captions and audio description </li></ul><ul><li>In a nutshell: if TV shows are already captioned, it can be easily included online </li></ul><ul><li>HTML 5 info in Silvia’s presentation up next </li></ul>
  35. 35. AWARe <ul><li>AWARe: Australian Web Access Review </li></ul><ul><li>5 websites per month for testing </li></ul><ul><li>Answer some simple questions </li></ul><ul><li>MAA will take data to government, industry to create change </li></ul><ul><li>Forum to discuss access issues </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  36. 36. Addressing the issues <ul><li>AWARe home page: </li></ul>
  37. 37. Addressing the issues <ul><li>AWARe ‘Participate’ section </li></ul>
  38. 38. Further information <ul><li>Large collection of web resources: </li></ul><ul><li>Advice is free </li></ul><ul><li>E-mail: [email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>Phone: (02) 9212 6242 </li></ul>