I have several concerns with the Aira service specifically, and prefer to use Be My Eyes instead, But, taken together, both Aira and Be My Eyes are doing something for the blind community that I couldn’t be more thrilled to see, and that thing is democratizing skills attainment and thereby helping blind people to be as self-reliant as possible. I hope to see the day when democratization of skills attainment for blind people is at the same level democratization of publishing is. at: decentralized and as open as possible. The blind community is at its best when we’re sharing skills hacks and other hacks with each other freely, and I think services like Be My Eyes and Aira will help to escalate that free sharing. There are, in the US, rehab counsellors and other professionals who are great at their jobs, and there will be a lot of situations where those professionals are necessary for a long time to come. But I think the rehab system as a whole has at least contributed to what I think is a multi-generational problem within the blind community of dependence on others for basic skills learning, and there are a ton of people who fall through the cracks and don’t even have the professionals on which to depend, which is a huge disservice to them. And the consumer organizations are just a different flavor of the same problem. I suppose all of this is incredibly radical, but so be it. I think that, in order to fix a lot of the problems we have as a community, we’re going to need to do the fixing ourselves. We can’t afford to wait for the professionals to catch up eventually. I am totally cool with watching from the sidelines as the professionals and the consumer organizations fight each other to the death, and while they destroy themselves the rest of us can not only take control of our technological destinies, we can take control of our entire destinies. In other words, fuck the establishment, all of it, and burn the whole thing to the ground once it outlives its usefulness, and do our best to make sure the day it outlives its usefulness gets here as quickly as possible. Oh, and spice that up with making sure the entire establishment, all of it, the consumer organizations and the professionals, know damn good and well they’re close to outliving their usefulness and that those of us who have chosen to not be caught in the middle of their whose-junk-is-bigger contest are looking forward to the day when its grave becomes a communal partying spot complete with bonfire and liquor.
Read What Tumblr Taught Me About Accessibility by Nic Chan

As someone who was a teenager during its peak, Tumblr has had an undeniable influence on my life. Like many people my age, my first exposure to the concepts of ‘accessibility’ and ‘ableism’ was through Tumblr. In sharp contrast to the web accessibility community, where we often focus on technical details, meeting clear criterion and legal compliance, Tumblr’s disability community focused on more human facets of accessibility by practicing accessibility in a variety of creative ways. Even when presented with access barriers created by the inaccessibility of Tumblr as a platform, Tumblr as a community has found unique ways to support disabled users. As developers, we need to learn from our mistakes by finding out where our users compensate for our deficiencies, and learn from how disabled communities support themselves.

#a11yWin Summit 2019 was captioned for the first time this year. I would like to point out that this conference has a $5 ticket price as well as the ability to stream it for free if you can’t attend in person, and yet they still managed to caption their talks and committees. I don’t have any data on attendance numbers but I’d be surprised if attendance is above 500, and I’m being very liberal with that. If a bunch of homebrew hackers and hobbyists can figure this stuff out, there’s no reason anyone else can’t. The only thing left is excuses and those become flimsier by the day.
Read Domino’s asks the Supreme Court to shut down a lawsuit requiring its website be accessible to blind people by Nick Statt (The Verge)

Domino’s is arguing the requirements would be inconsistent and costly

One more time for the folks in the back. Accessibility guidelines and a metric ton of supporting documents with examples along with easily findable mailing lists with every accessibility practitioner on the planet providing help and advice on accessibility for free every single day have been around now for twenty something years. There’s also Twitter, where those same practitioners have been providing free help for something like ten years every day. This isn’t hard. And a multi-million-dollar company to complain about paying $38,000 to fix their website so that it’s accessible to everyone is crap. Dominos wouldn’t be charged $38,000 to fix things if they had, wait for it, built accessibility in from the ground up. Stuff like this is why people with disabilities are practically in “sue them all and let God sort it out” mode. We shouldn’t have to keep asking politely that large corporations not violate our civil rights. “Please Sir, may I use your site?” I’m not sure if this will make it to the Supreme Court, it can decline to hear this case. I’m not even sure if the court ruling in favor of the plaintiff in this case is likely. But if it has to come to this, then so be it.
#IndieWeb Yes! Thanks to the very hard work of @dshanske @whiskeydragon1 now has working indieauth. I will get him added to the wiki later on today but I think this is the official welcome to the IndieWeb. Post kinds are already present and his personal site also supports webmention and most of the other building blocks. Good start to a Monday.
Read How to Use Brand Names on Your WooCommerce Store by Bob Dunn (BobWP – WooCommerce)

Let your customers search your products using the brands that you resell on your WooCommerce online store with lists an widgets.

This site continues to be an excellent resource for user-centered WooCommerce information. wooCommerce is a very powerful, and very complex plugin, and Bob does a great job highlighting extensions and providing instructions for using those extensions as well as the plugin itself in clear, easy-to-read language. Bookmark his site and check back often if you run your own store.
Bookmarked Link + Disclosure Widget Navigation by Adrian Roselli (Adrian Roselli)

Early in 2017 I filed an issue against WAI-ARIA Authoring Practices (APG) requesting a change to the menu navigation pattern. Despite a great deal of feedback in agreement, it languished.

I’m looking forward to taking this pattern as well as the linked ones for a spin. I’m hoping for an opportunity to find at least one of these in use in the wild, preferably coupled with research with other people with disabilities. Barring that, it’ll be fascinating to find out which one I like better.
Read What we learned from user testing of accessible client-side routing techniques with Fable Tech Labs by Marcy Sutton

In June 2019, I conducted 5 user testing sessions for accessibility research with Fable Tech Labs, a Toronto-based start-up that’s “making it easier for digital teams to engage people with disabilities in product development.”
The goal of this initiative was to gather feedback from users with disabilities on a set of prototypes with navigation techniques for JavaScript web apps. There are multiple variations recommended in the industry for accessible, client-rendered page changes, yet very little user research on those methods. Therefore, we wanted to find out which techniques are the most ergonomic and intuitive to users with disabilities, and if any of the techniques presented barriers detracting from their browsing experience.

I have often been personally and professionally critical of the National Federation of the Blind, its policies and its method of advocacy. I suspect I will do so again. But, the only way for any of that criticism to be meaningful or impactful is if it is balanced with credit when earned. I am very, very pleased to say that this year’s convention resolutions have presented an opportunity for me to say positive things about the organization, specifically Resolution 2019-09. The resolution reads:

WHEREAS, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) is a comprehensive civil rights law that prohibits discrimination based on disability; and
WHEREAS, to assist Americans with disabilities in asserting our rights under the ADA, Congress included a private right of action, which has assisted Americans with disabilities to secure landmark victories that have opened doors in employment, education, commerce, and other arenas; and
WHEREAS, under Department of Justice interpretation and court rulings, ADA Title III applies not only to physical places of public accommodation but also to their websites; and
WHEREAS, many websites are inaccessible to blind people who use screen readers to access digital content and to other people with disabilities; and
WHEREAS, a small group of plaintiffs and attorneys are exploiting the situation by filing dozens, occasionally hundreds, of lawsuits all at once or in rapid succession; and
WHEREAS, rather than acknowledging that website inaccessibility is a real and growing problem, some business groups and media outlets have focused on this behavior as evidence that the ADA is merely a tool for greedy lawyers to extort quick cash settlements from businesses; and
WHEREAS, this largely misplaced blame for ADA lawsuits has led to the introduction, and in some cases enactment, of state legislation that places onerous burdens on people and organizations who wish to bring legitimate complaints under the ADA, as well as attempts to enact federal legislation that would have the same effect; and
WHEREAS, even if litigants act in good faith and with noble intentions, blanketing a geographic area or business type with lawsuits often does not meaningfully advance the cause of accessibility because the litigants may lack the resources or the commitment to investigate each lawsuit thoroughly, and many lawsuits brought in this way are settled quickly and confidentially, thereby failing to hold public accommodations accountable for true progress toward making their websites accessible: Now, therefore
BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in Convention assembled this eleventh day of July, 2019, in the City of Las Vegas, Nevada, that this organization urge members of the legal community to engage in responsible, ethical, and transparent behavior when pursuing ADA litigation, including contacting targeted entities to try to resolve accessibility issues without litigation where possible and appropriate and to draw up public settlement agreements that outline the specific steps to be taken by an entity to achieve accessibility and the anticipated timeline for those steps to be completed; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization reaffirm its opposition to any legislation, state or federal, that seeks to shift the burden of compliance from the entities to people with disabilities affected by noncompliance; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization continue to work collaboratively with the policymaking, legal, business, and web development communities to advance accessibility, while not hesitating to commence litigation if needed.

The only thing I could think to add to this resolution would be a clause urging people with disabilities to act ethically and responsibly regarding aDA litigation. There’s quite a cottage industry of blind people who are all too willing to participate in the unethical practices of law firms like the ones engaging in the unethical behavior highlighted here. I understand that there are several reasons for the participation of blind people, and I think there needs to be an open, honest discussion within our community around all of this. So maybe my addition should be a resolution for next year. For now though, I think the NFB deserves a lot of credit for bringing this matter up as a policy suggestion for the organization, and I really do hope it passes. Good job to whichever member wrote this, and to the organization as a whole for not dismissing it.

I’m pleasantly surprised to find that Vimeo now has a much more accessible player. I plan to check out #PostPublish after I’m done with my next meeting. I will announce if it’s captioned. If you’re not already a PostStatus member you should be. Best WordPress newsletter around.
Friendly public service announcement to all corporations: Sponsorship of the #NFB19 convention is not a shortcut to the accessibility of your websites or apps. That sponsorship money would be much better spent on doing the actual work of making your websites and apps accessible to everyone.
Read Facebook’s Image Outage Reminds Us How Bad Social Media Accessibility Really Is by Kalev Leetaru (Forbes)

Facebook’s brief image outage earlier this week exposed the general public to just how bad accessibility really is in our modern visual-first social Web. While governments and the technology community are investing heavily in AI bias, they care little about accessibility bias.

I don’t use Facebook very much these days, so I heard about the media outage from the outside. And yes, while there have been improvements, and while I’m not placing blame on Facebook’s accessibility team, the accessibility isn’t great even when the AI so-called alt text functionality is working. The best alt text is text which exposes the context of the image being described, and this is down to content creators. This incident is a prime example of why accessibility advocates and consumer organizations should not be using Facebook as their primary distribution platform. If you must use something like Facebook, then you have a responsibility to make the content you host there as accessible as you can by learning how to add alternative text to your images and, (if you’re using Facebook Live), to transcribe that content and host those transcriptions somewhere else until you can make arrangements to use either a different third-party platform or your own platform, otherwise known as your own website.
Replied to A post from Greg McVerry by Greg McVerryGreg McVerry

@cswordpress Wow, thanks for pointing this out! Was commenting at organizing meeting that we have a strong presence, especially among people who use screen readers. Would love to learn more about your voice and journey. Maybe make a section here: https://indieweb.org/accessibility?

I agree that there is a strong accessibility presence within the Indieweb community. The focus on semantic HTML is the catalyst for this in my opinion. The backbone of accessibility is semantic HTML, which at its heart means using HTML elements as they were intended to be used. Thanks for making me aware of the accessibility page on the Indieweb wiki. Adding some information there could be useful to others. I’m getting back into the swing of writing things on my own sites again, and I still have several Indieweb tutorials to finish. Tiny steps.
Read I Am Cookie Dough by Allie Nimmons (HeroPress)

I was always told I had to go to college. I was “gifted” so learning came easy and I enjoyed it.  From ages 6 to 18, I went to competitive accelerated schools designed to churn out college students. It was a narrow path I’d been set on, without encouragement to explore beyond.

These posts are often times the highlight of my week.
Read Inaccessibility of CAPTCHA

Various approaches have been employed over many years to distinguish human users of web sites from robots. The traditional CAPTCHA approach asking users to identify obscured text in an image remains common, but other approaches have emerged. All interactive approaches require users to perform a task believed to be relatively easy for humans but difficult for robots. Unfortunately the very nature of the interactive task inherently excludes many people with disabilities, resulting in a denial of service to these users. Research findings also indicate that many popular CAPTCHA techniques are no longer particularly effective or secure, further complicating the challenge of providing services secured from robotic intrusion yet accessible to people with disabilities. This document examines a number of approaches that allow systems to test for human users and the extent to which these approaches adequately accommodate people with disabilities, including recent noninteractive and tokenized approaches.

Read How accessibility trees inform assistive tech by Hidde de Vries (Mozilla Hacks – the Web developer blog)

The web was designed with built-in features to make accessibility possible; these have been part of the platform pretty much from the beginning. In recent times, inspectable accessibility trees have made it easier to see how things work in practice. In this post we’ll look at how “good” client-side code (HTML, CSS and JavaScript) improves the experience of users of assistive technologies, and how we can use accessibility trees to help verify our work on the user experience.