Being cleverly lazy and researching accessibility in Prague

I've spent the last few days in Prague/Czech Republic attending the Web Expo conference and visiting the Czech Technical University to talk about accessibility of rich interfaces.

Webexpo Prague by  you.Webexpo Prague by  you.

The WebExpo organisers invited me to give a talk outlining the opportunity we have as developers these days of not reinventing the wheel, but instead being able to create working, accessible and rich web experiences with frameworks and pre-made building blocks. The presentation, entitled "How being cleverly lazy makes you a better developer" is available on SlideShare:

There is also an audio recording of the talk available on archive.org: Being cleverly lazy - 36MB MP3.

If you want more detailed notes, check out my blog for the write-up.

My visit to the university was quite interesting as the work there is an intriguing mix of usability and accessibility research and technical development. One of their upcoming projects is to help make the ExtJS and Java Server Faces frameworks more accessible by adding WAI-ARIA support and improving their progressive enhancement approach. I've explained what Yahoo and YUI have done in this field as described in this earlier blog post by Ian Pouncey. I also got some more insight into the accessibility work of the university when it comes to improving living aids for elderly people and finding alternative interfaces into operating systems.

One extremely interesting prototype is an interface that allows you to control windows by moving your head and issuing simple voice commands that are sounds rather than words as shown in the following video:

There is a lot of potential in the accessibility work done in Prague and we will be sure to keep you updated on the progress.

Christian Heilmann @codepo8
Yahoo Developer Network