On April 14 and 15, Funkas Tillgänglighetsdagar 2010 (Funka Accessibility Days) took place in the Swedish capital, Stockholm. Accessibility and anti-discrimination laws were discussed from European and national perspectives. Yahoo! was invited to provide a review of the progress of web accessibility, its actual status, and its future horizon. As Yahoo! Accessibility Evangelist, I led this time travel of web accessibility — not only by surprising the audience with some unusual examples of accessibility, but also with insights on general increased accessibility as well.
In the last ten years, we learned how to make Web pages accessible. But Web pages have changed dramatically since then. They have become fully interactive applications with a lot of new models of interaction. Additionally, the Web has become our all-day companion — including for persons with disabilities.
These changes have created new challenges for accessibility, but at the same time enabled the chance for a new kind of accessibility.
- Automatic conversion from simple, accessible data tables to YUI Charts
- Easy YouTube Player by Christian Heilmann
- Accessible currency converter with auto-completation, dynamic labels, and enhancing focus management for keyboard use
- Fully accessible AJAX apps on the Yahoo! frontpage that make Facebook , e.g., accessible for keyboard, screen-reader, and screen-magnifier users.
- YQL used to translate Twitter search results into Swedish with Google Translate, a simple example of how YQL can make content easier to understand and to consume for everyone.
- Yahoo! Messenger's fully accessible iPhone Chat app can be used by blind and deaf users to communicate cheaply by using the data plan instead of costly text messages.
This app works with the built-in screen-reader "VoiceOver" in different languages. When logged in, the Yahoo! Messenger alerts the user of new incoming messages even while using other apps on the iPhone or having the iPhone locked.
- Other useful iPhone apps:
- Starbucks: Can be used to find an accessible toilet (most branches have an accessible one).
- Toiluxe: Finds public toilets. Unfortunately, still not restrictable to accessible ones but can be helpful to find them.
- Qype Radar: Provides images of restaurants and pubs. They can be used to have an idea of how many steps are in front of a venue.
- Tube Deluxe: Finds an accessible route through London using its ancient tube.
- London Bus: All London buses are accessible in London and finding the route through London with this app is always a very good fallback solution.
- Tesco Club card: A good example of how persons with disabilities can easily manage reward and loyalty cards without the hassle of finding the wallet, distinguishing the correct one, and getting it out of the wallet. A huge increase of accessibility for persons with reduced mobility or a visual impairment.
After being surprised at how much accessible Web and mobile apps can improve independence, we begin to understand that the fundamental requirement for accessibility can create a better tomorrow.
P.S. Because of the ash cloud over Europe, I was stuck in Stockholm and am hoping to get back to London by motorcoach today. Please follow my #ashtag updates on Twitter — with greetings of "Stuckholm" ;-)