Guelph Conference: Day Two

photo of a button that reads AODA, CS, IASR, and DOPS

My conference notes from Day Two of the Accessibility Conference at UofG. My notes from Day One are also available: Accessibility Conference: Day One #accessconf16

When Good Intentions Go Wrong with Brian Kon, Sterling Frazer Associated

  • People with disabilities (PwD) is the largest minority group in the world – the only minority group you can join at any time!
  • Signs behind glass windows are a problem when it comes to glare
  • Be consistent
  • Trail signage at start of trail: length of trail, terrain of trail
  • Choosing green for a nature sign is not smart – disappear in foliage

Build Environment:

Beyond checklists with Janna Cameron, D2L

  • Usability testing: calmer to have someone going through your system with AT instead of an angry customer who’s been passed from support person to support person at your company
  • Mentors help keep motivation going after the initial excitement about accessibility; to push and encourage as you make progress
  • Mentors need a broad understanding; keeps knowledge current; understands AT and browsers

Bundy’s Hierarchy of Digital Needs

  • importance of describing PowerPoint content for people who cannot see them (story of colleague sending texts to describe slides during another’s presentation)
  • Bundy’s Hierarchy (base to tip): Not accessible, not usable > accessible not usable > accessible and somewhat usable > Accessible, usable digital bliss
  • No skip links: have to read the main navigation all the time
  • Flash can be made accessible, but not great
  • has a blissful website: logical headings, empty ALT for dec. mages, easy contact form
  • has a blissful website – one of the best I’ve seen in my life: clear links; headings, labelled forms
    • Improvement: table headers on row and columns; don’t repeat the same links

Bundy’s Accessibility Enhancements

  • headings: organize page content and page sections
  • Screen reader’s can miss images as buttons
  • Signify whether pages open in a new window with an image with ALT or use ARIA
  • ARIA is a temporary solution that fills in gaps; very useful – but don’t put ARIA on everything
  • Forms: Not all AT recognizes placeholder text

David Onley: Capstone

  • challenges create broader choices and enhancements
  • accessibility allows people to achieve their full potential
  • inclusion is part values, attitude, skill and funding
  • values and attitudes are the more challenging to change
  • attitudinal barriers are the biggest barrier to overcome
  • 3.8 million PwD in Canada are unemployed
  • Employers fear hiring PwD
  • Instead of able-ism, I think disable-phobia is a better term
  • Unjustified terror paralyzes efforts to convert unemployment into jobs
  • compare plight of PwD employment to women rights, racism
  • We are us, we are not them; there is no them or they
  • PwD cross all minority groups (aboriginal, LGBTQ2S etc)

Implementing WCAG & Beyond: Lessons Learned from User Feedback with Jason Soo Hoo

  • partnership with Kitchener-Waterloo AccessAbility
  • We don’t guide them through, but observe how they approach the task
  • Lessons learned: skip to content;
  • Skip to content: names anchor and CSS
  • Semantic HTML: a button is a button, not a div
  • Pop-up tabs: reasonable solution with lists and ARIA
  • ARIA roles and alerts: forms

Workplace Inclusion with the RBC Accessibility IT team

  • Talk focus: employee accommodation from a digital inclusion perspective
  • All projects at RBC go through various gates, one of which is accessibility
  • IT Accessibility in Technology & Operations collaborated across RBC and with vendors in areas such as creating RBC IT Accessibility Requirements/Guidelines; training on providing accessibility testing; consulting on technology procurement; admins IT Accessibility Project Certification process; chair JAWS and Zoom Text user group across the country so employees aren’t so isolated, meeting once a quarter;
  • when consulting, we follow the W3C’s best practices
    primary method that people meet us: all technology projects need to go through our team for review
  • provide recommendations to procurement
  • keep up to date on new technologies
  • 4 consultants take turn monitoring the IT Accessibility Mailbox; the monitor will take on the projects from start to finish that come in during that time
  • important to have guidelines as a consistent point of reference; why we do it; code snippets how you do it right and wrong
  • emphasis on manual testing; everyone on teams have JAWS and ZoomText
  • Self-serve models with us available to consult and advise

Training at RBC for Accessibility

  • RBC Campus is our learning management system
  • mandatory course for business systems, analysts, and developers on accessibility (four core principals according to WCAG); course available to all RBC employees
  • Individual project training


  • Get vendors to commit to an accessibility road map to create a solution for us
  • We have a list of questions so when we work with procurement for initial assessment based on WCAG and open ended questions
  • Describe your testing process? (don’t ask accessibility specifically)
  • What’s your in-house expertise in accessibility?
  • “A little knowledge is dangerous.” – a vendor may use ARIA to fix everything, but keyboard accessibility can’t be fixed that way
  • A lot of people say they know about accessibility, but they don’t
  • Get a clause on accessibility before you get your contract signed with a vendor (otherwise they’re use accessibility to up the price)
  • We don’t score vendors, we rank them: pros and cons of each
  • answers help RBC to work on contract that is informed by the results; where the vendor needs to improve

Ad Hoc

  • Video CC and AD in house
  • Consultation; How to; best practices
  • Accessibility Clinics

Audience Discussion

  • RBC openly shares common challenges with other banks
  • We all have common challenges on Windows with JAWs, Dragon, etc
  • Vendors can make us feel like we’re the only ones asking for accessibility, but other banks are asking for the same thing
  • JAWs and ZoomText are most commonly used by RBC employees
  • The team does not deal with AT, ergonomic keyboards, screens etc – focus on the more complicated things that involve scripting and special tools/navigation
  • RBC has a Workplace Accommodation Group and other partners across the enterprise
  • Make it more clear what accessibility is to your organization
  • When we ask for a vendor road map, we ask how they plan to do it to see if its feasible; recommend third-party firms they can engage
  • We all have a harmonized approach to accessibility internationally for guidelines and best practices; challenge to find people below WCAG 2.0 AA;
  • Lester has on average 50 projects at a time, but not are active all at the same time
  • Our self serve model: give guidelines to project managers to distribute to developers; know who’s on the team and how much guidance is needed from that particular project
  • Very verse projects: mobile, ATM, web etc
  • co-op students lead Accessibility Clinics; always looking for co-op students with disabilities
  • processes are advanced – been doing accessibility for ten years
  • Richard Aubrey encourages anyone in the audience to email him questions

Speakers: feel free to contact me if I misinterpreted something you said or if you’d rather your talk was not posted online.


Author: nchitty

Inclusive designer based out of Toronto.

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