This panel features Sharron Rush, Susan L. Gerhart, Lisa Pappas, and Becky Gibson. Sharron was the moderator.
Susan Gerhart spoke first. She is a programmer who is slowly losing her eyesight. She talked about text to voice software and screen readers. She described Blog Talk Radio which has podcasts and supposedly has interactive text chat. She found the chat there inaccessible, and pointed out that there are accessible tools for text chat. She went to Blog Talk Radio and showed us how difficult it was to actually listen to a podcast there using text to voice software.
Lisa talked about the industry perspective on standards and accessibility. Some businesses comply with accessibility only because it’s required by law. However, it is also a factor in competitiveness, quality, ease-of-use, and market share. She also talked about the problem with AJAX. Screen readers are often not aware of it when a page updates via AJAX. Yesterday, the W3C released new recommendations called ARIA, which has suggestions for dealing with this issue. Lisa also mentioned the failures of accessibility validation tools. She gave a demo of a Color Contrast Analyzer tool, a Firefox extension.
[I later learned in a conversation with Dori Smith that Dojo is nothing like Flex. When Becky showed the example app in Dojo, it looked just like something you could build in Flex, but Dori says that Dojo is not visual like Flex.]
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