Degrees/Certifications in Digital Accessible and Inclusive Design

Where do you go for a post-secondary education in digital accessible and inclusive design? All of the locations above are currently in my home base of Toronto, but I’d like to add programs from all around the world! Know of one I missed? Let me know! Here is the list I’ve complied to date:


Master of Design, Inclusive Design (OCAD University)


[none known – but let me know if you know of one and I can add it to the list!]


Free MOOCs offered by Ryerson University:

Discontinued Certification & Degrees:

Certificate in Accessibility Practices: AODA and Beyond (Ryerson University, Chang School of Continuing Education) Previously known as Certificate in Advancing the AODA.

Inclusive Design in Digital Media Certification (Humber College, Continuing Education): $96.00 per course (4 courses for Certification of completion – 24 hours in the classroom total)

Guelph Conference: Day Two

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.

Guelph Conference: Day One

photo of a button that reads I heart W C A G

Here are my raw notes from the Accessibility Conference at Guelph University, May 2016 #accessconf16

PDF and the User Experience with Karen McCall

  • Complaints on PDF have all been anecdotal until this survey; how PwD are accessing PDFs
  • Karen will be running this survey every November (Karlen Communications website)
  • We knew problems, but didn’t have research to prove

The Survey

  • 185 total responses; 146 complete responses; international response
  • advertised through Twitter and list serves;
  • Used Survey Monkey – most accessible tool I could find
  • Gizmodo was accessibility, but when they updated themselves they lost all accessibility
  • Asked for name and email to use as research; given a reference number by Survey Monkey
  • Most respondents identified that existing legislation in their country; most people didn’t know whether they had regional/state/provincial legislation (everyone from Ontario knew AODA existed though; everyone in the states quoted Section 508)
  • 69% respondents identified as advanced users (computer literacy level)
  • 49% have an intermediate PDF literacy; 53% advanced
  • We all know PDFs are a pain; David Leposky says PDFs are the bane of his existence; but PDF is not going away; PDF is everywhere and used for everything
  • PwD give very detailed responses as to what was working and not working for PDF
  • An accessible PDF can be read in different formats (change it to Word, HTML, structure remains the same – goal we want to have)
  • One person cannot imagine all the different ways someone will read the document, but a correctly tagged PDF will allow the user to choose the format they want
  • Most respondents were using screen reader
  • Top three: screen readers, screen magnifications, and text-to-speech
  • Large percentage are Mac users
  • Biggest alternative device: Human…, Voice Stream Reader (?)
  • Most people are not using tradition PDF readers
  • Tables are a big issue
  • Every developer needs “If a PDF if tagged correctly, its a pleasure to read.” framed and hung in their office
  • Some people know about PDF/UA or ISO 14289-1
  • NVDA is the only screen reader that is still PDF/UA conforming
  • We have known how to make PDFs accessible since Acrobat 5; PDF/UA was formed in 2012 – why are we still having so much trouble making accessible PDFs? (tools, education, etc)
  • Tables in the survey are a work-in-profess; table header tags are painful; everything else in the survey are tagged
  • / @karleninfo /

HTML & PDF: This isn’t an either/or with Adam Spencer

  • We’ve gone to extremes – either all HTML, or PDF, or publishing in four formats
  • A decision needs to be made on tech and capabilities
  • The challenge is getting developers to interact with PDF correctly
  • By limiting access to PDF, you’re limiting access to content
  • If the software isn’t able to access the tag structure, then it all useless
  • Preview ignores all tag structure; Adobe Reader reads tag structure
  • Content accessibility decisions are not linear
  • WCAG 2 Compliant PDFs do not exists – you wouldn’t want a ramp to be WCAG compliant
  • Its silly to make 300 page documents readable on a mobile device
  • PDF allows you to lock a file down; navigation; structure
  • HTML accessibility cost 4x more per page – not reinventing the content
  • Content is already offered in Word
  • No one writes in code except the web team
  • If everything is HTML, all graphic designers are out of a job
  • We still need a hard copy, so why not one copy for everyone
  • David Leposky opinion is not the only one in the country – unstructured plain text is his preference
  • People are terrified of doing something wrong – thats not how we build a document accessibility strategy
  • As a taxpayer, you do not to pay someone to retype their content four different ways
  • You would need an entire team to retype your content for HTML and WCG compliant; but what about cost and deadline
  • Microsoft fired their lead on PDF accessibility; people unsure what to be
  • Everything has to be mobile accessible, and digital but nobody knows how to do this
  • Policy of extremes isn’t working; all PDF; all HTML
  • We want content to reflow to how we want to read content
  • Back end of PDF is all XML
  • You cannot go from InDesign to a fully compliant PDF file
  • Document strategy in advance
  • Adobe Acrobat does not yet for PDF/UA; PAC 2 does (PAC 3 is about to come out)
  • Is the PDF readable? Usable? Accessible?
  • Not everyone should be a document accessibility expert
  • HTML is a quick step from being a good developer
  • Most of not have a DOM reader
  • Its knowing how to convey content to someone; planning head
  • As an organization, you are not getting rid of your PDF documents – plan in advance
  • If you have a legacy collection of PDF, you will have a big bill the first time; going forward, less
  • Never once has a document accessibility expert been consulted in government policy on accessibility
  • We know people don’t like PDF because there are so many bad PDFs
  • Authors don’t like semantics, hierarchy
  • PDF/UA is changing; initially built for developers; how to get technology to interact with PDFs – not for the user; WCAG is for the user
  • 14289 will be split into two parts: secondary standard for technology; 100 page betting on how to make PDFs accessible; published next Spring
  • Section 508 and AODA in refresh; no accessibility document experts called
  • Content format is critical
  • PDF is fully searchable, Googlable if tagged properly
  • HTML doesn’t have the same page structure as a PDF of a printed document (page 21, Section 3 in textbook; PDF – not HTML website)
  • Re-purposing content is the biggest waste of time and money
  • Content accessibility strategies are critical
  • Document accessibility is a business problem; fundamental right to read content; similar to the French language laws – before people had to ask, not anymore (gov)
  • “I cannot read web standard and all of a sudden become a ramp designer.”
  • I can Google how to make a ramp, but that doesn’t make me an expert
  • There is no easy button; this is looking for sustainable approach
  • You don’t post editable content; people can manipulate it
  • One person cannot be laden with the responsible to make all documents accessible
  • There is a reasonable bias for making things HTMLs because its usually web
  • managers who are asked about it- they know how to do it
  • Buying into accessibility is a tough one
  • There is a difference between authoring content and publishing content
  • One sided view because you can just read the WCAG site
  • Google shut off Reader in Chrome because they wanted to stay in Chrome
  • You can’t learn everything you need to know about PDF in a day; same with HTML; most people don’t know how to use Word correctly
  • Adobe and W3C are not always correct
  • Quark Express will not generate spaces at the end of sentences
  • There’s a lot more to PDF accessibility that “Add Tags”
  • Without sustainability, document accessibility either goes by the waistline or start removing content
  • Sustainability is critical; you need a budget for it
  • We need to have a conversation on content, not just a knee jerk one way or another

Audience Question: Tools for InDesign

  • Buy a generator from Callus
  • Use PAC or QuickFix (license $2000, but critical for UA compliance)
  • Staff costs money – if you’re doing one thing, you’re not doing another – the right tools are important

Audience Question: Compliance

  • AODA Compliant file is not an actual thing
  • I like PDF/UA because it is technically compliance, but doesn’t touch usability
  • Accessibility is not a checklist; “Does it make sense?”
  • Don’t need to apply ALT text to every image; takes away from usability/UX
  • If you’re not putting money behind usability, you’re not fully accessibility
  • A third of Accessible-IT teams is usability testing

AC, CC, and Me with Billy Gregory

  • used Go Pro and selfie stick; iMovie; iPhone
  • YouTube doesn’t let you post two audio tracks yet (so you need to post two vidoes)
  • Resource reminder: AMI’s Described Video Best Practices document
  • Netflix does great AD now (after people complained loudly) ; Netflix tailors AD voice to TV show

(and… I lost the rest of my notes for Billy’s talk when I was copying them over.. but here’s his slide deck: Billy Gregory’s Slideshare)

ALT text with Toufic Sbeiti

      • slides on slideshare: Toufic Sbeiti
      • ALT text is one of the first things you talk about in accessibility, is one of the hardest things to apply
      • ALT helpful for screen readers; image file not loaded; etc
      • context is key
      • WCAG turorial on images: 7 types
      • remember there is a screen reader reading everything; dont want to take away from content/experience
      • if no value added, empty ALT
      • Logos that are home buttons “W3C Home”
      • “Open in a new window” ; “Print this page”
      • use consistent image and placement for functional icons (ex: printer)
      • group of images: put ALT in one and empty ALT in others (star rating)
      • other group images: figure and figure caption

Image maps

      • map: one big alt and area alt
      • charts: describe relation

Complex images

      • best practice: short summary, collapsed – ask for source file in Excel (easier)
      • link to long description; not a fan (ex: D under images)
      • structure of a webpage is more important than the colour of a hammar


      • Web Developer Toolbar (Chrome) show ALT text
      • Color Oracle (browser): colour blindness simulator (helpful for testing for grayscale printing)
      • ALT Decision Tree

Post Camp Discussion

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

CSUN Day 3 Notes

My notes from Day 3 of the International Technology & Persons with Disabilities Conference (CSUN)

Here are my notes for Day 3 (and my last day) at the 2016 CSUN Conference. Please excuse any weird spelling, grammar, meaningless hyperlinks, or formatting errors. Reference to pictures are unavailable within this post as I probably shouldn’t have taken them – but I can’t type as fast as people speak.

Common Testing Mistakes

  • SSB Bart slides will be posted online
  • presentation = slides

7 Things Every Designer Should Know AND The Future of Web Accessibility Research are full.

Teaching Closed Captioning to Students

  • Captioning for Educational Media:
  • SPTE, W3C, CEA, EBU specifications rule the captioning world
  • The web is the Wild West; broadcasts captioning is constant

Tweets from @ellenking from 7 Things Every Designer Should Know

  • Avoid “big vast sheets of white” with little indication of where form fields are.
  • Lightest gray on white #ffffff is #767676. Get used to it.
  • One color and then all color that are safe contrast wise.
  • Don’t set :focus{outline:0;} in your reset file.
  • Don’t make people hover to find things, especially actionable things.
  • Don’t nest accordion in a menu.

A Publisher’s Dilemma

  • What output is best? What reading method is best?
  • Book Plug: Ensuring Digital Accessibility Through Process and Policy
  • Case study book: biography
  • First vendor said they new accessibility, showed tests where all passed (but tags were not checked)
  • New Vendor: new issues
  • Karen McCall saved the book
  • Book-sized PDFs tend to crash and burn
  • Tagging references is hard; no one agrees on how to use H1
  • Mystery links appear: (had to delete two pages to get them to go away)
  • Tags disappear
  • Adobe Digital Editions is a disaster; worse than Acrobat
  • iBook on iPhone is much better than on the Mac
  • Baseline initiate by George Kerscher (see slides on Slide Share)
  • BISH Quick Start Guide for Accessible Publishing (not short, but has a great appendix, resources)
  • Speaker working on a book on circuit diagrams. ALT text not useful here. Limit to the tools we have can do.
  • Common Look or PAC offer free validators for PDF; audience member finds CL product easier to use

WCAG: New Needs, New Work

  • Released new docs; updated quick guide
  • Working draft for low vision; low vision task force
  • Considering Extensions: mobile; cognitive; low vision: or all in one as a WACG 2.1
  • Extensions approach issues of changing technology
  • WACG Working Group meets on Tuesdays
  • Recognize that WCAG touches many professions and organization: All voices are welcome at the Working Group
  • Need to balance perspective for WCAG; set requirements;
  • WAI Interest Group
  • Task Forces looking into models to approach issues
  • All different technologies are merging into the web with W3C; haptics; broader area guidelines
  • Need for ppl with knowledge of the field (new technologies)
  • Concentrating on web content, but looking at applications; resize there are limitations

#VLshow taping social

  • Paciello doing research on using pitch and tempo for graphs (tempo found to be more effective)
  • Metzessible: YouTube channel on accessible docs to PDF from Word; feels Common Look does the same as Acrobat; uses Acrobat; specializes of UA

Low Vision: Beyond the buss words

  • #lowvisbuzz
  • YouTube video with examples of vision simulations (?)
  • Seniors just assume loosing vision is part of vision; early intervention is key; ask questions like “Do you have trouble seeing?” Instead of “Do you have low vision?”
  • Profs need to rethink AT: AT not for recording/cheating, but for access

EPUB3 Accessibility

  • Vital Source (?) product demo

Word to PDF

  • Lists can be nested; child lists within parent list; child lists need LBODY tag
  • Content order must match Tag order; will help ensure reading order if document is reflowed
  • TBase (speaker’s company) uses Acrobat and PAC to check docs
  • Audience, Karen McCall: can have more than one H1 in a PDF document

Digital Accessibility Trends

  • Slides online
  • Trends: interactive devices; mobile etc – accessing info through multiple devices
  • Framework as a primary coding approach
  • Responsive web design; gestural input
  • ePub; PDF – SSB Bart (speaker) focuses a lot on this
  • Moving beyond ‘project based accessibility’ to maturity models

Adobe Accessibility Update


  • Adobe Document Cloud services hook into web front end, Acrobat, Reader; mobile apps
  • Ability to sign law documents
  • set of programming UI and kits using what’s available in all of Adobe’e cloud; enterprise software; middle-ware
  • Marketing Cloud: hosting website’s; social media;
  • Adobe Accessibility more than Acrobat

Acrobat Document Cloud

  • High contrast mode
  • Keyboard and screen reader mode improvements
  • to improve for VoiceOver for OS X; reading tables


  • PhoneGap Mobile Accessibility: open source project for developers
  • AEM: content management ; create WCAG 2.0 AA websites;
  • Adobe has an internal GitHub; internal open development
  • Beginning work with common UI front end for desktop Adobe products
  • US govt has a component set of Adobe components to create code
  • ADOBE WILL BE ADDING AN UNDO BUTTON TO ACROBAT (no set date for release though)


  • Accessibility/compliance.html
  • Adobe will be posting all CSUN slides on their blog

Building an Accessible Culture: TELUS

  • Make it a practice, give value to make it sustainable
  • Not common: started small
  • MVP tasks: UX, DEV, QA
  • Slowly build up accessibility
  • user-centric design process
  • Agile lean culture; cultivate awareness
  • Made a Top 10 List to tackle first (big impact, relatively simple to do)
  • UX Principles for team: Colour contrast;
  • Intended design not always the reality (dim screen, projector colour off)
  • Challenge how to bring accessibility to the front when it was always an after thought

UX Design at TELUS

  • Darken green, bump up text size and bold text
  • Does it still make sense to refer to print colours when most customers interact with our product online?
  • If using colour to signify something, pair with icon/underline/pattern
  • Icons and images that are not crucial are labelled decorative (including TELUS critters)
  • No critical info in images
  • Uses Helvetica Neue – thin and ultra thin look great in print but not on screen
  • Started to phase out light weights
  • UX team uses Google Draw for wire framing; Sketch with Zeplin plugins
  • SimDaltilism? (App to test colour blindness)


  • aXe plugin from Deque; both developers, QA, and designers can use; works on multiple browsers
  • Totally from the CAN Academy (?)
  • Keyboard functionality was a big problem; guarantees responsive design for touch in addition to mouse/touch
  • Label form fields, hyperlinks, GUI etc consistently has a huge positive impact


  • Define criticality of a11y bugs; rank a11y bugs amongst each other
  • Maintain criticality Wiki to guide QA on what to fix first
  • Exploratory testing:
  • Pick and choose what to test, then focus
  • to test change over time for public facing websites
  • Create empathy lab to see how it works
  • TELUS caters to an ageing market
  • Add a11y into job descriptions
  • Don’t pose accessibility as something new – rather something normal, expected
  • About 6 months to get this going consistent
  • Walk through problems together as a group with expert

Pre-conference Notes


Friday, March 25:


  • Free & Low-Cost AT (Hillcrest AB, 3rd FL)
  • WCAG: New Needs, New Work (Harbour Ballroom F, 2nd FL)
  • Writing Accessibility Tests Using JavaScript & CSS (SSB Bart room)
  • Power Up Your Student’s Research Project (Promenade AB, 3rd FL)



CSUN Day 2 Notes

My notes from Day 2 of the International Technology & Persons with Disabilities Conference (CSUN)

Here are my notes for Day Two at the 2016 CSUN Conference. Please excuse any weird spelling, grammar, or formatting errors. Reference to pictures are unavailable within this post as I probably shouldn’t have taken them… but I can’t type as fast as people speak.

Accessible Maps

  • speaker: @accessibilityoz at
  • Inform the user that there is a long description in the ALT text
  • “this is the Goal Coast Train line an dits X miles long”
  • “there’s a slight incline from the house that such and such built, and you turn left..”
  • Long descriptions are visible to everyone, so it can have additional info to the map itself
  • ALT should not have additional info
  • Developers: label pin markers that are useful “South Fitzroy” etc
  • Alternative: provide a list view of maps if you can’t alter the code
  • Keyboard/touch accessibility
  • “Zoom of zoom” can’t move anything but the map
  • Ensure all actions can be completed using mouse, touch keyboard etc
  • Google Maps you get are very keyboard accessible now (
  • Press tab to see blue outline, keyboard accessible, see labels
  • When you embed Google Maps there are issues, third parties
  • Blue green colour blindness is common
  • Best practice: colours contrast with white or black and use borders, label sections of map (example: wards)
  • Juicy Studio Luminosity Colour Contrast Analyzer (new to me!)
  • Ensure users can increase the size of the map and map content (interactive maps online)
  • (speaker slides on maps)
  • Google audience member: problem with embedding, can’t tab through everything, update launching in 2 weeks where you can
  • Answer to another audience member’s question: native apps are difficult as you can’t access the code. You can’t go to the code and apply a label. In this case, include a long description.
  • Work around: link off to Google Maps if your map is not accessible

Diversity Within Accessibility: Workforce and Product Design

  • Speaker: Sassy Atwater, work in fashion and advocacy for PwD; Also works in acoustic physics
  • Not a lot of companies that cater to where I like to shop; Focus of talk on UX
  • We cater to one mindset – not diversity (ex: Stevie Wonder and Braille card at Grammies)
  • We need to be the catalyst; we need to be both the dream team and the orange (Whole foods packaged oranges: accessible packaging but wasteful packaging when it naturally has a peel)
  • Universal design allows customization; can solve diversity issues for employers
  • UX is like underwear: we all use it; all interact with it; we all have that experience
  • Does someone with CP know where openings are and how to get it one; does a blind person know what colour/pattern it is [when shopping online alone]
  • How do races; minorities; people come into that environment; how does minority experience affect the product you’re development
  • Infographic: most people 50+ do not how to use built-in tools; we are designing for a group that cannot utilize the tools we’ve designed for;
  • Universal design interacts with ‘common sense design’

Accessibility for UX Designers

  • Point of talk: UX Designers need to take on the extra work that accessibility brings; Accessible UX design 101
  • Note: the slides were really hard to read even after upping the contrast; body font does not work for distant reading – open, round, thin stroke. Heavy weight worked, light not. Familiar font – look up and note.

The Digital Accessibility Maturity Model

Making Non-English Content More Accessible

  • Speaker: Elizabeth J Pyatt, Penn State, AccessAbility
  • Talk changed topic or title? Not about images for non-english
  • Language Codes: ISO-639
  • Also, 3 letter codes: ISO-639-3
  • Region codes: en-US vs. en-GB (work for spell checker, not doesn’t seem to affect accent)
  • WikipediaTend to use 2 letter code; three letter when available
  • Not great support for less popular languages (ex: Cherokee)
  • Language tags in Word/PPT works well: highlight word Tools > Language > select language used for word)
  • PDF: tags do not carry over from Word/PPT (PDF only accepts one language)
  • JAWS plugin for languages
  • Voiceover: download different voices, but sounds weird is switching back and forth between accents in a document
  • Unicode: A B C D E F in Unicode – screenreader will read the letter (Wingdings)
  • Do screen readers read symbols: (see pic)
  • Need JAWS symbols file: eloq.sbl in settings (see Freedom Scientific) (see pic for URLS)
  • Install script to get JAWS to read unicode correctly
  • VoiceOver: Speech Tab > Pronunciation > modify for what it should say
  • Developing websitess for non-English text:
  • Foreign Language Accessibility resourc:


  • ARIA is for emergency use only
  • Pretend its an image and give a label
  • Hide an embedded icon
  • If a course, recommend beefing up symbol and font repository
  • Accents present a legibility challenge
  • Speaker feels that sans serif fonts are more legible when it comes to accents over letters
  • Andika is designed for different languages (Others: Charis SIL; Georgia)
  • Non-Western characters: mad need to increase font sizes
  • Really likes Text/Expander/Beevy: simplifies keyboard sequence; customize; robust; can do whole words

Is it a link or a button: ultimate showdown

Wearable Assistive Device Development Tool

  • University project presentation (Japan)
  • AeonKit: development kit without the need for coding language
  • Kit focuses on hardware
  • See handout for summary of session
  • Works on Andrino and Raspberry Pi; mac and pc; Code on GitHub

Accessible Publications with Adobe Digital Publishing Solution

  • Speaker: Matt May, Sr. Program Manager, Accessibility, Adobe
  • Adobe does not sell product in title anymore; focus on Adobe Experience Manager Mobile (AEM)
  • Having a town hall meeting tomorrow
  • AEM possibly best program for accessibility (re-enforces this is not a sales pitch; no commission)
  • AEM used to be known as CQ; digital management
  • Adobe is hiring product dev and managers right now
  • AEM and other products in the Marketing Cloud
  • AEM publishes content as apps; Individual articles, bind as an edition; manages subscriptions and levels of control; content management

Accessible SVG Charts using ARIA

  • Highcharts demo, documentation, downloads:
  • Interactive charts for web projects
  • Free for non-commercial use; open
  • JavaScript
  • Works in all mobile and desktop
  • Can generate tables from SVG content study found that tables were preferred
  • complex box plot SVG
  • Too many headings = cognitive overload
  • Chart types themselves need a description (what is a box plot)
  • Data Table usability: if marked up well, they offer more flexibility
  • Best practice: offer both a table and an SVG chart for user preference

Digital Accessibility Training Solutions

  • Review training engagement
  • 5 phase approach: develop plan; dev. design; storyboard; training materials; deliver training; long term strategy
  • Training aimed at policy makers; internal team; could work for outside audience, techy or not
  • Summary of each phase in slides (posted later)
  • SSB Bart does InDesign and Acrobat training
  • Felt slides weren’t very effective; found video training more engaging
  • Videos should last 3-5 minutes; anything longer looses attention
  • Hands-on exercises (Codepen) work well for in-person training to engage the team
  • Codepen is not a fully accessible product
  • SSB Bart uses Moodle for their backend LMS

Between Session Discussion with Microsoft employee:

  • Microsoft Disability Answer Desk: free to PwD, consumer channel
  • Answer Desk:
  • Very patience; trained in common assistive technology
  • There is also an Enterprise level for IT teams etc.

Pre-Confference Notes


Thursday, March 24:





CSUN Day 1 Notes

My notes from Day 1 of the International Technology & Persons with Disabilities Conference (CSUN)

Here are my notes for Day One of the 2016 CSUN Conference. Please excuse any weird spelling, grammar, or formatting errors. Reference to pictures are unavailable within this post as I probably shouldn’t have taken them… but I can’t type as fast as people speak.

9am (hopped between multiple talks)

  • Equidox offers software that converts pdf docs to html that is claims is better that Common Look or Acrobat
  • NASCIO has published a two part series in accessible procurement
  • Case Study: airlines didn’t change logo, but contrast within the font family

The WordPress Way

  • Talk focus: How to maintain accessibility? What is going on?
  • JavaScript wp.a11y.speak() to generate and announce JS updates in ARIA Live region
  • Release of H1 headings on admin screen; fixes to list tables, focus, focus styles
  • Release of Twenty Sixteen
  • Review of colour contrast; review of content-bearing title attributes
  • Twenty-Sixteen is very heavily audited – very accessible
  • Installing other plugins, widgets etc will screw things up
  • Need of tighter style guidelines for WP admin (50 shades of grey being used – need to scale down to 10)
  • Big areas: include contrast and backend of admin
  • Problem: list tables structure used for posts (put your HTML in a post, but it maybe in a table)
  • Media management UI code is a mess (talk of complete rewrite)
  • Backwards compatibly is a problem – 25% of websites on the internet are WP
  • Updates break websites
  • You’re affecting a lot of sites and people; those people will be very unhappy; have to be careful
  • WP has a statement that it strives not to break backward compatibly
  • adding a label is simple, but causes a ot of debate as it changes a theme (label where there was none before)
  • Creates ‘technical debt’ with backwards compatibility
  • Every plug-in is on Git Hub (useful for developers changing code) (not premium plug-ins)
  • WordPress does a lot of testing before a release is put out
  • User experience different than developer’s (dev “accessibility is great!” user “my website doesn’t work. Accessibility is a problem.”
  • List Table used for posts and plugins
  • List Table slows down=b changes – huge technical debt
  • List Table is html independent, controlled by the class itself
  • Updating the setting API and WordPress Admin settings is a really complex problem to solve (working on new fields API)
  • Other WP problems:
  • internationalization (change to other language, 80 lang right now)
  • labelling
  • accretion of new options without discarding the old
  • need to keep up with everything
  • colons help with internationalization (no structure is universally translation-able)

New Stuff

  • Calypso: new JS single page app (Joe says its a disaster, requires you to constantly jumping back and forth between old admin and Calypso)
  • REST API (for WP Core; custom JS admins; new challenge; pressure on WP Core to do own single page JS cap – very limiting, not good)


  • Officially committed to meeting WCAG 2 Level AA in future development
  • high expectations for new code = slower development
  • This will take over a decade
  • Mistakes will be made, we will miss things – but we have a great principles
  • WP has guidelines, standards – removes debate whether this is a issue to address
  • high expectations for new code will prevent the issues WP os currently having
  • Some rules for developers


  • harder to find the low-hanging fruit
  • some things that appear to be low hanging are not
  • The REST API opens a whole new set of challenges

@joedolson #csun16 (you’re welcome to join to help out when you can)

Post Talk Discussion

  • We need people to test; write documentation; looking at code; financial support everything is getting more abstract. instead of writing code that gives it an ID etc, you write a function; then wp generates all the code to make that
  • wp makes a change effects everything using that api or nothing at all
  • Audience: internationalization is overlooked by WCAG
  • WP core is about single language sites
  • multi-language is left to plug-ins
  • multi language is hard
  • in principle, solvable – add field to define language (Wp has built in languages that can be linked language codes
  • Not single solution to multi-lingual
  • ARIA in WSIYG is very hard problem to solveWP competitors are far behind in accessibility (SqareSpace etc)
  • Drupal is good
  • Making sites simple is not asking ppl for not inputting an ALT (SquareSpace, format)
  • As long as their is a market, it will continue to be a problem
  • The more complex a UI, the harder it is to use
  • Accessibility adds layers of complexity (captions etc)
  • Progressive interface is part of the solution (prompted to add captions; add image with ALT) but only works if you have an extremely controlled layout (but control is not popular)
  • Almost nothing in WP has been removed; rarely deprecated (if it has a major security flaw, it will be removed)

Accessible Documents

  • everybody being accessible reduces the backlog on web teams
  • user-generated content be accessible
  • real trick: throwing everything and the kitchen sink scares people – success
  • 125 page doc on making accessible Word doc (put out by security? gov?)
  • 7 principles of accessibility (minimum checklist)
  • new refresh of 508 will mandate sans serif font for kiosks
  • Section 508: size for prescription bottles and law docs
  • use WCAG 2 Success Criteria
  • helpful to provide the law that ‘says so’
  • break rule on font size on forms (example DSS Standard of Arial 12)
  • Full justify is the only Level AAA he includes in standard
  • Very important to check text for colour blindness (analyzer tools focus on vision colour contrast, very important to think of colour blindness)
  • some screen readers can tell you font colour, but its a big pain
  • Mark mandatory fields with * instead of colour only (red asterisk, happy medium)
  • *most screen readers stop reading ALT text around 180 characters*
  • Note on presenter’s slides: hyperlinks to WCAG to back up what they’re saying; reference
  • Simple tables: do not merge cells; do not split cels; have only one row in the header
  • The hardest thing about accessibility os philosophical
  • Learn a different way of making things
  • rewording can help make simple tables (see pics)
  • Graphic designers will learn how to make documents that look good, but it will take time to learn how through learning how to think creatively
  • Don’t put a lot in your standards at first to help designers ease into accessibility
  • When you first got InDesign, your docs didn’t look good – it took time
  • Accessible docs will look crappy at first, but with practice they’ll look great once you’ve changed your way of thinking
  • Screen readers can pull up a list of all hyperlinks in doc (importance of meaningful links)
  • “Is a heading a heading if you don’t assign it as a heading?” (Accessible document Philosophy 101)
  • Everyone needs to test for accessibility
  • Can’t always get rid of all the red X’s in Acrobat with forms
  • (free resources on accessible documents)
  • Bug in Office 2010 that puts all the image tags on the first page
  • Joe Krack (speaker)

Accessible Forms

  • Section 508 and WCAG covers all electronic content
  • 7 Essentials (see iPhone pic)
  • Screen readers need to go in forms mode
  • Once in forms mode, it only sees what is behind the scenes
  • No resources yet on making auditory forms, focus on visual forms
  • Windows Eyes is free fir Word users
  • Translate visual clues into text
  • Tooltip “Street Address” instead of “address”
  • Sub checkboxes ect need to include the heading in the tooltip (and heading, and thorough explanation so it makes sense)
  • Ensure tooltips include all necessary information (because its not reading the other text around it – just the form fields)
  • Include whether its optional (if it is) in the tooltip
  • Any text that is not part of a forms field, it is never read to someone in Forms Field
  • Read only n Acrobat is helpful to convey information that maybe missed in a form (total is of an order)
  • No hard returns in tooltips
  • Note: audience confused by Read Only
  • Auditory forms may not pass Acrobat’s Accessibility check, but will be more accessible – audible AND visual
  • Never rely on one tool for testing (speaker uses Acrobat)

Overheard in hallway (discussing about dating app for seniors?) “Instead of saying “Do you have a disability?” ask “Do you have difficulty with the following…?”

Digital Accessible Best Practices talk rescheduled to Thursday? (waited for speaker, didn’t show)

Designing Accessible Workplace Applications

  • Use waterfall process (see iPhone pic)
  • Pros: integrated a11y early on; well defined.predictable; easy documentation
  • Cons: not flexible; longer timeline; change to scope of accessibility requirements more difficult
  • See iPhone pics for slide pics

Google Docs Accessibility

  • Placing, wrapping image will read between content; in-line will read where it appears
  • Right click to apply alt text or search the menus
  • Accessible tool bars can be accessed using a switch device (mobile and desktop apps)
  • Note: really nice room; good place to go and sit when other talks are un-engaging

Accessible bar graph talk full – presentation slides:

Common Look

  • Reading order in Acrobat is not relevant; order of Tags is important
  • Common Look tests against WACG and PDF UA
  • We can send pdfs to sales rep to do a demo on; can do a private demo for one person or a group at the org

Pre-Conference Notes


Wednesday, March 23:





Scripts for InDesign: Accessibility

Adobe InDesign is a common application used by graphic designers.

Scripts can be used in InDesign to help designers make accessible documents, and to speed up some tasks. Below are some free scripts that I have found beneficial:


This add-on by Stephane Baril allows for easier access to the necessary items to set up a tagged document in InDesign (CS5+).

Its also great when teaching yourself or others the steps to create accessible documents in InDesign.

Note: This requires an Adobe  Creative Cloud subscription.

Batch Apply XMP ALT Tags to EPUB and HTML Images

This Script by Marijan Tompa is very handy if you work for someone who puts the ALT text for Images in the XML: Headline or somewhere else in the metadata of an image. Instead of applying the ALT text to each individual image through Object Export Options, you can run this script to do it for you.

Note: When I tried to run this in CS6, the Script did not work unless I moved it from the Users folder to the Application folder. See forum post, All InDesign Scripts won’t work for further information on troubleshooting this problem.

Regular installation instructions can be found at How to install scripts in InDesign.


If you are looking for general information on creating accessible documents in InDesign, I suggest: