WebAIM announces updates to the WAVE tool

WebAIM announced several updates to the WAVE tool. I always spend time in my accessibility classes telling students about the importance of accessibility testing. The WAVE tool is generally at the top of my list.

About a year ago, I wrote How to Use the WAVE tool to Boost Site Accessibility. I don’t want to revamp that post, but I do want to call attention to the updates.

A number of the updates deal with “smarter ARIA and HTML5 evaluation logic.” This includes HTML5 structural elements and ARIA landmarks. There are improvements in support for aria-labelledby and aria-describedby including a new icon for broken ARIA references.

There are some scripting changes that allow evaluation of dynamically generated content. There’s a new indicator for skipped heading levels and for big blocks of justified text. The Firefox extension is going to go away, but the Chrome extension will still be supported.

Still the Same

Click on an alert icon to see a brief explanation of the accessibility issue identified by the WAVE tool
Click on an icon to see a brief explanation of the accessibility issue identified by the WAVE tool

Using the tool on the web remains basically the same. You enter your URL in the form at wave.webaim.org. The results of the evaluation are displayed over a representation of your page with icons indicating errors, alerts, features, structural elements, HTML5 and ARIA, and contrast errors. Clicking on an icon gives you a brief explanation of the meaning, with a link for more information.

Most importantly for web developers and web educators, the WAVE tool is still a valuable tool to help identify accessibility issues in sites.


Amara Makes Video More Accessible

I just discovered a subtitling tool called Amara that is a global captioning and translation project for video. I’m a couple of years behind the times. In case you haven’t heard of it either, here’s an introduction to the tool.

Amara is now helping with translations and captioning in many places. They say their caption editor is easy to use. I didn’t try it out, but it’s free. Amara also provides you with a way to connect to others around the world who might be willing to help translate and caption a video into another language. Since translating and or captioning a video is a labor intensive process, it’s interesting that this web-based tool is using the idea of crowd sourcing the work.

  • There’s a good review of how using the tool works at PCWorld. The review is a couple of years old so there may be improvements since then.
  • The Global Voices Community Blog has a recently updated post of instructions for translators who use Amara.
  • Vimeo, TED, and many other organizations partnered with Amara. TED provides a set of tutorials for Amara users.

Their Twitter account is @AmaraSubs. Their Facebook page is Amara Community. Neither have frequent postings, but they are worth following if you are interested in accessibility or teach accessibility in your web education classes or at conferences.

Teaching Accessibility

A new industry-wide group is forming to establish models for teaching accessibility. Here’s their opening statement. Help if you can.

All technology companies that have worked on accessibility have faced a similar challenge of preparing designers, engineers and researchers to think and build inclusively. Similarly, academic programs in design, engineering and HCI are seeking ways to better prepare students to address the needs of diverse populations. Given this shared challenge, industry, academia and advocacy have now come together to create models for teaching and training students of technology to create accessible experiences. If you’re interested in working with us, please contact teachingaccessibility@gmail.com and @teachaccess.

Use our code for free enrollment in the Udemy “Web Design from the Ground Up” Online Course (50 only)

This is a $98 class at Udemy.
This is a $98 class at Udemy.

The first 50 people to sign up for the Web Design from the Ground Up course at Udemy using the special code webteacher.ws will receive access to the class absolutely free. This is a class for beginners. Here’s what you’ll learn:

  • Over 38 lectures and 9.5 hours of content
  • Introduction to HTML and XHTML including the most commonly used elements like linking
  • Introduction to CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) for working with fonts, colors, and complete layout control
  • Web Graphics and Image manipulation with an introduction to Photoshop
  • Introduction to JavaScript with practical applications including script tags, alert boxes, form validation, and much more
  • Domain name registration – how it works, pointing your domain to your site, best practices and much more
  • How to put your site on the Internet, including choosing a web host, working with FTP, and much more
  • Accessibility – make your site visible to all users
  • Ecommerce with PayPal – setting up a shopping cart, integrating PayPal, making money with your site!

That’s a lot for 10 hours, so I’m guessing it will be basic info, but that’s what a beginner needs, isn’t it?

Many thanks to Udemy for making this special offer available to Web Teacher readers.

Why is Accessibility Important? (Infographic)

This infographic is from Usability Matters. It’s oriented toward business and financial reasons for accessibility. I might add that accessibility is important to anyone wanting your content, whether you’re selling something or not.

Accessibility matters infographic

Text version

Types of impairments that may affect how people use your website

• Visual impairments such as low vision, colour blindness and blindness.
• Auditory impairments like people with restricted hearing or who are deaf.
• Mobility impairments such as inability to make fine movements or inability to use a mouse or keyboard.
• Cognitive impairments, which includes people with dyslexia, learning disabilities and even memory loss.

It’s bigger than you think!

Accessibility benefits people with or without disabilities, including:

• Older people and new users
• People who don’t have or are unable to use a keyboard/mouse
• People not fluent in English
• People with temporary disabilities due to accident/illness

3 reasons to make your website accessible

1. Increase your audience customer base
2. It may provide significant financial benefits
3. It’s the right thing to do legally and morally

Did you know?
People with a disability have a global annual spending power of $996 billion*.

Accessibility Teaching Materials: Free Download

Accessibility Teaching Resources
A free booklet for web educators

I prepared a booklet (PDF) of materials that I use to teach a short class in web accessibility. There really isn’t a great resource for a class in web accessibility that covers the basics in just a few hours. I took some of my handouts and made such a resource for you. It’s a free download.

Get Accessibility Teaching Resources now. Free!