Valour-IT – Laptops for Wounded Soldiers

(via Boing Boing) Valour-IT is a non-profit that is providing wounded U.S. soldiers with laptops loaded with voice recognition software. These laptops help soldiers who are struggling to cope with new disabilities to communicate with family and friends and empowers them by providing a tool they can use even without the use of their hands. This is a great cause and well worth your support if you have even a few dollars to spare. You can donate online or by sending a check through the mail. This is a great opportunity to bring up again the topic of accessibility and how important it is that the web sites and software we build be made as accessible as possible to help […]

Accessible Data Tables

(via Jonathan Snook) Roger Hudson has posted a nice primer on using tables in HTML to display data. We quotes the W3C specifications and walks through some clear examples on how to properly use tables in HTML. It’s good to see resources like this that explain how to create data tables that are accessible for all users. Hudson links to a number of resources at the bottom of the page but he leaves out a very useful post by Roger Johansson at 456 Berea Street. I’ve drifted away from posting basic HTML and CSS instructions here of late, hopefully these resources of of some interest.

Missing the Point: Web Applications

I recently went to try online banking with National City only to come face to face with the following error message: Alert – browser does not meet requirements Your browser does not meet minimum security requirements for Online Banking. If your browser does not support 128-bit encryption, you will not be able to enroll in Online Banking. In addition, your browser version must be Microsoft® Internet Explorer 5.0 or higher, or Netscape Navigator® 7.0 or higher I am browsing using Firefox 1.0.3, which shares a rendering engine with Netscape 8.0. However, the developers behind National City’s website have chosen not to recognize this browser. I’m guessing Safari, Opera and other modern browsers are also locked out of the online banking […]

Mouse Adaptor Compensates for Hand Tremors

IBM and Montrose Secam have partnered to release an adaptor for a computer mouse that will help users with hand tremors use pointing devices. The devices cost approximately $100 (US) and are available for sale online. The adaptor plugs into the PS/2 post and the mouse then plugs into the adaptor. If the computer lacks a PS/2 port there is a PS/2 to USB adapator available. The adaptor compensates for the tremors by filtering unintended hand motions, sending only the intentional hand movements on to the computer. It also compensates for difficulties with double clicking. This project was started by an IBM researcher named James Levine.

Using Ajax Wisely

Ajax is a set of technologies that is used to rewrite part of a web page without a complete page refresh. Jesse James Garret coined the term to describe a set of technologies currently coming into their own. This happens by using JavaScript to send a request to the server for information and then using DOM based JavaScript to rewrite a portion of the web page with the data that is returned. Using this method allows for complex form validation while the user is filling out the form in stead of and in addition to validation following submission. This means that a user can enter their ZIP code for their shipping address and see the shipping charges added to the […]

Alternate Content

One area where there is a lot of confusion in accessibility is the use of alternate content. There are questions about where it belongs, what form it should take, and whether it is acceptable or not. I’ll be addressing a few of the basics here. We’re going to leave more advanced questions like what to do with multimedia content for a later entry.

Flash Accessibilty

I’ve been looking into Flash Accessibility for a number of projects and I’ve been cautiously pleased by what I’ve seen. It looks as though the Flash player version 6+ and Flash MX 2004 have incorporated a bunch of new accessibility features that allow them to work better for average users as well as for users with serious disabilities. The Flash player now hooks into the MSAA in Windows to work with screenreaders. Flash is also good for such things as text zooming (and image zooming) and you can actually outdo browser support for accesskey attributes by using keylisteners to provide keyboard shortcuts within your .swf. It looks as though Flash is headed strongly toward being capable of delivering highly accessible […]


I’m removing the entry on the W3CAG due to a mistake on my part regarding the scope of a non-disclosure agreement. I had thought that the material would be okay to post since it was taken from the W3C guidelines, not realizing that I had transformed it into an internal process that was protected under my contract. This was an unintentional breach of professional ethics and should serve as a lesson on how a little ignorance can harm others. To compensate for my mistake I promise to create a new tutorial on accessibility on my own time (using my own material) that will go up here this week. I apologize for any inconvenience this mistake may have caused. In the […]

Work at Ford

I’ve started work at Ford in the Creative Design & Usability group. I’m working on ensuring a number of websites comply with the W3C Accessibility Guidelines (W3CAG). I’m going to try to post about my experiences without violating any NDAs that I’ve signed so please understand if I sometimes avoid getting too specific about my projects. Anyhow, I’m also trying to follow up on the request for more information on process so I’ll try to kill two birds with one stone by describing the process I am currently putting together for testing web sites for compliance with the W3CAG. I’ll be posting a step by step process that will walk you through the relevant guidelines, the (mostly free) tools you […]