Web 2.0 and the future of accessibility: A discussion with Derek Featherstone

Posted on October 9, 2008 by matyeo

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In this issue




Nov 13, 2008, 10am (Eastern) Free webinar: Designing Navigation with Task Management [5], presented by Gord Hopkins and Gerry McGovern.
Nov 13, 2008 Many World Usability Day events globally: [6] see some details below.
Nov 20, 2008, 7pm (Eastern) Agility and User Experience: The Final Frontier [7] (Toronto), presented by the User Experience Group (Waterloo).

World Usability Day events: November 13th, 2008

World Usability Day - hundreds of events around the world. [6] Thursday November 13th is World Usability Day. In this annual event, usability professionals and others around the world raise awareness and encourage people to create products and services that are accessible and easy to use. This year, there are local events in Ottawa and world-wide, on-line and in the ‘Real World’:

Free Customer Carewords webinar, 10am
Gerry McGovern and Gord Hopkins will present a free webinar ‘Designing Website Navigation based on Top Task Management’ at 10am (Eastern Time). Register now for this free webinar [5]. See the Customer Carewords website [8] for background information.

Neo Insight presentation for World Usability Day 2008, 7pm
For this special CapCHI event, our own Gord Hopkins will present the ‘live’ version of Designing Website Navigation based on Top Task Management [9], 7pm at The Code Factory [10], 246 Queen St., Ottawa.

Software Usability: Listening to the voice of the user, 8am
Hear Scott McEwen (Cognos), Michael Baynger (March Networks)
and Scott Plewes (Macadamian) discuss how software companies can find the right way to bring user research into the development process. 8-10am, Brookstreet Hotel, Kanata. See more details of the ‘Software Usability’ panel discussion [11].

World Usability Day in Canada and Worldwide
There are many other World Usability Day events in Canada [12], from Richmond, BC, to Montreal and Quebec, and more than one hundred usability events worldwide [13].

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Web 2.0 and the future of accessibility: A discussion with Derek Featherstone


Websites are becoming more interactive and more responsive every day, dynamically pulling in data from multiple sources and using AJAX, Flash, Flex, and other technologies for interaction. We are also seeing more and more powerful and complete web applications beginning to replace out desktop products. This rapid evolution creates significant challenges for designers who want to provide accessible websites and applications. However, standards groups and experts are rising to the challenge, and there are promising new approaches emerging.

We recently had the opportunity to discuss these topics with Derek Featherstone, a well-known speaker and – more more importantly – practitioner in web accessibility. So here are some highlights of our discussion, plus some resources and references we hope you’ll find useful.


Web 2.0 and the future of accessibility: topics we discussed

  • From accessible documents to accessible interaction
    Derek Featherstone.
    Derek Featherstone
  • A use-case called JavaScript off
  • Making JavaScript work with assistive devices
  • The problems of random JavaScript and of AJAX with everything
  • Building rescue points into page structure
  • WCAG 2.0 and accessibility standards based on Task
  • Going beyond checklists
  • The Web Accessibility Initiative standard on Accessible
    Rich Internet Applications
  • Interactive mapping and accessibility
  • Data visualization and enabling insights into data
  • Universal experience and a vision for accessibility
  • Accessibility resources to tap into

Our discussion has been edited to 34 minutes to improve your listening experience :-) The 32-bit mono mp3 file is 12 MB.

You can download a PDF transcript of Web 2.0 and the future of accessibility [15] (PDF 125Kb).

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Resources to track the future of accessibility

Derek Featherstone recommends some resources that anyone interested in accessibility should tap into, especially with respect to the future of accessibility and Rich Internet Applications. We’ve listed his recommended resources and added some key ones. In addition, we’ve included Derek‚Äôs own sites and blogs, and some sites he views as leading the way in information visualization on the Web.

Web accessibility standards

Web sites Derek referred to as leading the way in some aspects of data visualization

Derek Featherstone: websites, blogs, interactive maps and triathlons

At Neo Insight, our vision is that task performance measurement is the future of web management. Task performance should be measured for any website where people come to do things or to find things for a purpose; where time, effort, productivity and satisfaction are issues. This includes people using screen readers, magnifiers or any other assistive technology. Find out more about our Task Performance Indicators on the Customer Carewords website [42], or email us [43].

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Partner, consult, or work with us on Customer Experience

This has been an amazing year for us! Our business has more than doubled in the last year. If you have been part of that, thank you!

The growth has come because usability has become a strategic objective for many of our clients. And we look forward to continued growth. Our new partnership with Gerry McGovern and Customer Carewords has brought us new techniques, new data and experience to build on. It has also brought us new partners: we’re working closely with Rolf Molich [44] and Bob Johnson [45] on two major projects, for example.

We expect demand for our services to continue to grow, especially those focused on Intranet tasks and productivity [46], Customer Carewords [47], and Task Performance Indicators [42], for example.

We need more sub-contractors, consultants, partner organizations and employees who can help with Expert Usability Evaluations, Remote Usability Testing, Comparative Usability Evaluations, Visual Design and User Interface Design for websites and applications. There are also opportunities to grow with us into new usability techniques, especially those related to our Customer Carewords partnership [48], and to establish business relationships for our mutual benefit.

If you’re interested in working with us on short-term contracts, in partnering with us, or looking for a longer-lasting relationship, send us an email [49], or call us: (613) 271-3001.

Quote of the month

[To assess accessibility] “One thing that is absolutely critical is not just are we meeting these checkpoints, but can people perform the tasks that they need to complete?”

Derek Featherstone

If you have any comments
on The Insighter, or ideas on usability topics you’d like to
hear about, fill out our feedback form [50], or send us an email
with your comments


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URLs in this post:

[1] World Usa: #WUD2008

[2] Web 2.0 and the future of accessibility: A discussion with Derek Featherstone: #web2.0_accessibility

[3] Resources to track the future of accessibility: #accessibility_resources

[4] Partner, consult, or work with us on Customer Experience!: #partnersneeded

[5] Designing Navigation with Task Management: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/287386288

[6] World Usability Day events globally:: http://www.worldusabilityday.org/

[7] Agility and User Experience: The Final Frontier: http://uxgroup.wordpress.com/2008/10/17/november-2008-agility-and-user-experience-the-final-frontier/

[8] Customer Carewords website: http://www.customercarewords.com

[9] Designing Website Navigation based on Top Task Management: http://www.capchi.org/events/2008-11-18

[10] The Code Factory: http://thecodefactory.ca

[11] See more details of the ‘Software Usability’ panel discussion: http://www.ocri.ca/events/ocripartnered.asp

[12] World Usability Day events in Canada: http://www.worldusabilityday.org/en/events/2008/country#ca-anchor

[13] one hundred usability events worldwide: http://www.worldusabilityday.org/en/events/2008/country

[14] Back to Top: #top

[15] PDF transcript of Web 2.0 and the future of accessibility: http://www.neoinsight.com/blognewsletterResources/0810resources/DerekFeatherstoneNeoInsightAccessibilityDiscussion.pdf

[16] Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 1.0 guidelines and checkpoints: http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG10/

[17] Checkpoint on ‘New Technologies’ (Guideline 6) : http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG10/#gl-new-technologies

[18] Techniques for dealing with applets and other objects : http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG10-HTML-TECHS/#objects

[19] The Canadian Government’s Common Look and Feel 2.0 Standards and Guidelines: http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/clf2-nsi2/index-eng.asp

[20] Common Look and Feel 2.0 standard on accessibility: http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/clf2-nsi2/clfs-nnsi/clfs-nnsi-2-eng.asp

[21] The U.S. Government’s Section 508 accessibility website: http://section508.gov/

[22] (WCAG) 2.0 (possibly due 2009): http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/

[23] WCAG guidelines on Rich Internet Applications (WAI-ARIA): http://www.w3.org/TR/2008/WD-wai-aria-20080204/

[24] Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI): Rich Internet Applications (Overview): http://www.w3.org/WAI/intro/aria

[25] WAI-ARIA accessibility guidelines on supporting application states and properties: http://www.w3.org/TR/2008/WD-wai-aria-20080204/#supported

[26] The Web Standards Project: http://www.webstandards.org/

[27] Derek Featherstone’s Web Standards Project page: http://www.webstandards.org/about/members/feather/

[28] Web accessibility tools and resources on Accessify.com: http://www.accessify.com/

[29] Other accessibility references and resources (a list on the WCAG website): http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG10-HTML-TECHS/#References

[30] New York Times Interactive graphic on a plane crash in Manhattan (2006!): http://www.nytimes.com/packages/khtml/2006/10/11/nyregion/20061011_CRASH_GRAPHIC.html

[31] Digg Labs: http://labs.digg.com/

[32] bigspy: http://labs.digg.com/bigspy/

[33] swarm: http://labs.digg.com/swarm/

[34] MSNBC’s Hurricane Tracker: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26295161/

[35] Radiohead’s ‘House of Cards’ data viewer: http://code.google.com/creative/radiohead/viewer.html

[36] The Making of House of Cards: http://code.google.com/creative/radiohead/

[37] Derek’s blog ‘Box of chocolates’ : http://boxofchocolates.ca/

[38] Derek’s Twitter: Follow ‘Feather’ on Twitter: http://twitter.com/feather/

[39] Further Ahead: http://furtherahead.com/

[40] interactive, accessible maps: http://ironfeathers.ca/routes/dfeatherstone/

[41] Ironfeathers.ca: http://ironfeathers.ca/

[42] Task Performance Indicators on the Customer Carewords website: http://www.customercarewords.com/task-performance-indicator.html

[43] email us: mailto:info@neoinsight.com?subject=Task Performance Indicators

[44] Rolf Molich: http://www.customercarewords.com/about-rolf.html

[45] Bob Johnson: http://www.customercarewords.com/about-bob.html

[46] Intranet tasks and productivity: http://customercarewords.com/intranet.html

[47] Customer Carewords: http://www.customercarewords.com/what-it-is.html

[48] Customer Carewords partnership: http://customercarewords.com/

[49] send us an email: mailto:info@neoinsight.com?subject=Partnership, consulting, contracting

[50] fill out our feedback form: http://spreadsheets.google.com/viewform?key=pyInxomZi6PYhQ4WAtHgwdg&email=true

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