Welcome to Marco's accessibility musings!

Hi and welcome to my blog!

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The future of mobile accessibility, a hopeful lookout

In case you haven’t read it yet: Nokia acquires Trolltech. DougT also posted a follow-up article on the future, or lack thereof, of Symbian S60/S40, which you can find here.

tagged with: #Embedded, #Gnome, #Iaccessible2, #Kde, #MicrosoftActiveAccessibility, #UniversalAccess

Easy ARIA Tip #1: Using aria-required

Inspired by a conversation I had with Aaron the other day, I’m starting a mini series about easy accessibility improvements you can accomplish using ARIA, but which do not require you to implement a whole widget. Some ARIA attributes also work on plain old standard HTML elements and can easily improve accessibility within supported browsers and screen readers. On browsers that do not support these attributes (yet), they are ignored and do not break your page just because that attribute is there.

tagged with: #Aria-required, #Attributes, #Html

Easy ARIA tip #2: aria-labelledby and aria-describedby

Sorry it took me so long to get back to it, but here it is, my second tip on the usage of some easy ARIA markup to make your sites more accessible.

tagged with: #Aria-describedby, #Aria-labelledby, #Attribute, #Html

A follow up to my Easy ARIA tip

Community member Ben Millard has pointed out in a recent blog post that roughly the same as shown in my example can be achieved using regular HTML 4 by embedding the input into the label. Thanks for that info, Ben! It is very useful and shows that some of the techniques that have been available for years escape even us gurus sometimes. But then, we don’t dig through every W3C doc on a regular basis, either.

tagged with: #Firefox, #Html

Started on automated test case development

As some of you may already have read on the newsgroups, or heard through statements from me or other accessibility developers at the Firefox project, one of my tasks is to develop automated test cases for our accessibility module. I started this project after the all-hands work week end of January. The first tests have been implemented, and pace is picking up speed. So far, I’ve implemented tests for the following interfaces:

tagged with: #Automatedtesting

Some better evaluation of image markup

Thursday’s nightly build of Firefox 3 contained a change that will give more useful information on certain pages where attributes for image tags have been used in some funny way. There are sometimes sites where the web author supplies an alt attribute with an empty string "", and in addition supplies a title with useful data.

tagged with: #Altattribute, #Imgtag, #Titleattribute

Are Ajax and Accessibility mutually exclusive?

Peter of ATRC and an a11y community member, pointed me to a blog post titled “Stop using Ajax!”, written by OperaDev community member James “Brothercake” Edwards.

tagged with: #Ajax, #Dojo, #Jquery

Impressions from a German Web 2.0 accessibility conference

Last week on Tuesday, I attended a German web 2.0 accessibility conference titled Einfach für Alle – Konzepte und Zukunftsbilder für ein Barrierefreies Internet, loosely translated “Simply for all – Concepts and Visions for an accessible internet”. The conference was organized by the Aktion Mensch initiative Einfach für alle. I was invited to participate as an expert on Web 2.0 technologies in a workshop titled “web applications – The software inside the browser”.

tagged with: #Conference, #Einfachfueralle

Impressions from SightCity 2008 in Frankfurt, Germany

From May 7 to May 9, I attended the SightCity conference and exhibition of assistive technologies for the blind and visually impaired. It is the biggest one in the German speaking world, and one of the biggest venues of this kind in Europe.

tagged with: #Conference, #Sightcity

Two new ARIA related resources

There are two new ARIA resources that recently entered the web which I’d like to point you to if you’re interested:

tagged with: #Liveregions

Easy ARIA tip #3: aria-invalid and role "alert"

I know, I know, it’s been a while since I posted my last Easy ARIA tip. But I’m hoping that this one will find you all excited and willing to play with it some more!

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WordPress 2.6 brings a lot of accessibility improvements!

I just upgraded this blog to WordPress 2.6.

tagged with: #Nvda

Some random thoughts

I’m currently attending the Mozilla 2008 summit in Whistler, British Columbia, Canada. Among all the good sessions we’re having, there are a couple that I definitely want to blog more about over the course of the next few days, but wanted to share a few thoughts right now so we all kind of know what to expect:

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ARIA in Gmail #1: Alerts

Google have recently started to put ARIA (Accessible Rich Internet Applications) into GMail. This means that ARIA is now getting a lot more exposure than it used to, with GMail being probably one of the most widely used web applications today. It’s great to see that the hard work Mozilla, IBM, the W3C and especially Aaron Leventhal put into this standard recommendation is getting this prominent placement so soon!

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Progress on automated testing for the accessibility module

Today, I checked in two changes that allow the unit tests we’ve developed for the accessibility module so far, to run on what we call a staging server. A staging server is a server that simulates production conditions, but isn’t the live thing just yet. It allows us to test new features in build, testing, web sites etc., in close-to-real-life conditions before finally pushing them to production.

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ARIA in Gmail #2: Enhancing the Chat experience

This post continues a series on the implementation of ARIA (Accessible Rich Internet Applications) in Gmail.

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More ARIA in the news

As I’m catching up with news after my return from Whistler, I have two suggested ARIA-related readings for you:

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Jim Zemlin on this year's breakout of the Linux desktop

Jim Zemlin of the Linux foundation wrote a very good post on this year being the year of the Linux desktop breakthrough. One thing he did only mention marginally, but which I think is just as important for certain users/markets, is the fact that there is now a wide range of accessibility solutions available for at least the GNOME desktop, which either come directly with the distribution such as the Orca screen reader for the visually impaired, or are easily installable. Screen reading, which includes support for a huge variety of braille displays, magnification, on-screen keyboard solutions, alternative input device support are all available as open-source now and open up the Linux desktop alternative to virtually every potential user.

tagged with: #Linux

Why I would not buy an iPod just yet

Recently, Apple announced better accessibility features in iTunes 8 and the 4th generation iPod Nano. This is a major breakthrough in accessibility because now, the maker of a mainstream hardware media player is taking steps to make sure the device is useable also by people with vision impairments. Previously, the only way to make certain types of MP3 players accessible was through projects like Rockbox, which provides a custom firmware for these players. This approach is never fully complete, because for the supported iPods, it does not allow the very specific features to work like DRM-protected media playback.

tagged with: #Ipod, #Ipodnano, #Victorreaderstream

Mac OS X accessibility: A success story

Over the past couple of years, accessibility options have become more widely available than just on the Windows platform. Since GNOME 2.18, Orca has become part of the desktop package, offering a way for some distributions to be installed with some speech guidance.

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Seven things you may or may not know about me

Wow! I have the distinct honour of being the only one tagged by my new colleague on the Mozilla QA team: Henrik Skupin. I was also tagged by Steve Lee, and he came first! 🙂

tagged with: #Personal

At FOSDEM 2009

I’ll be at FOSDEM in Brussels this weekend. I’ll be at the Mozilla booth or attending sessions in the dev rooms. If you feel like dropping by and talk accessibility, ARIA and such, feel welcomed!

tagged with: #Fosdem2009

JQuery UI 1.7 released

The jQuery UI team has released jQuery UI 1.7. Congrats on this release!

tagged with: #Jqueryui, #Wai-aria

Happy birthday, world wide web!

Today, CERN will celebrate the 20th birthday of the world wide web.

tagged with: #Happybirthday, #Www

Why are web forums so unpopular with the blindness community?

Last week, David Tenser, Kadir Topal, and I received an e-mail from Dirk, a moderator at www.BLINDzeln.net, a mostly German-speaking community which uses mailing lists exclusively to promote exchange between their members. These mailing lists vary in topics from cooking and gardening to some pretty advanced computer science, psychology and others. Dirk asked whether it would be possible to create German-speaking mailing lists pertaining to accessibility to give those who have switched to Firefox and/or Thunderbird, or those willing to do so, a common place to go. He also said that he and other moderators thought about doing this at BLINDzeln, but didn’t do it because they wouldn’t want to create an isolated island, but encourage end-user exchange by asking Mozilla to do it on our servers instead.

tagged with: #Mozillazine, #Phpbb, #Sumo, #Webforums

Article on how to use NVDA and Firefox to test web sites for accessibility

I just published an article on how to use NVDA and Firefox to do website testing.

tagged with: #Article

My first experience using an accessible touch screen device

Yes, you read correctly: An accessible touch screen device! This morning, I went to a retail store carrying mostly Apple products and had a look at the new iPhone 3G S that was released in Germany on Friday. Apple revealed during the WWDC keynote two weeks ago that it would have a built-in screen reader named the same as is included in Mac OS X: VoiceOver. This is a feature not available on the regular iPhone 3G, as its hardware capacity is insufficient.

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The WAI-ARIA Windows screen reader shootout

Firefox 3.5 has been released, and now it’s time to take a look at what features of WAI-ARIA are being supported by which Windows screen reader. Competition is healthy in this market, and two new screen readers have started supporting Firefox during the 3.5 development cycle: Dolphin’s Hal/SuperNova and Serotek’s System Access (including the free SAToGo offering). So to document the current state of affairs, I’ve taken each one of the following screen readers running on the Windows platform on a tour through some WAI-ARIA implementations that are out there for everyone to use. I’ve chosen not to do a widget-by-widget walkthrough of the Dojo DIJIT Toolkit or some other JS library already including WAI-ARIA, but instead concentrated on stuff users will actually encounter while surfing the web under non-clinical conditions.

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Use CSS3 transforms, makes your pages more accessible!

If you’re one of those types who likes to visually twist, rotate or tweak some text, in previous years the only real choice was to use pictures to achieve such visual effects. However, thanks to CSS3 transforms, supported in Firefox 3.5 and later, Safari 3 and later, and Opera 10 beta, it is now possible to use plain text and rotate, twist and tweak its looks via CSS. The big advantage: Screen readers will still read the text OK because their reading order is not influenced by the visual appearance of the text. So even text rotated by 45 or 90 degrees will appear correctly in a screen reader’s virtual buffer.

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You're a table, and I don't care what lies underneath

Over the past couple of weeks, Alex, David and I have been hard at work refactoring, discussing, and implementing better support for accessible tables in Gecko. Some of this has seen the light in Firefox 3.6alpha, but the heart of the work is currently only in mozilla-central (AKA Firefox 3.7). Update: As of October 29, these changes have also been ported to the Firefox 3.6 AKA the Gecko 1.9.2 branch and will be in the final release of Firefox 3.6. It will not yet appear in the upcoming release of Firefox 3.6b1, since that was branched off before we landed the IAccessibleTable2 support.

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The importance of placement of HTML elements in a document

This was an issue I ran into today, so thought I’d blog about it.

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Easy ARIA Tip #4: Landmarks

Yes, they’re back! This is the fourth Easy ARIA Tip in a trilogy of Easy ARIA Tips. 🙂

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Easy ARIA Tip #5: aria-expanded and aria-controls

In this Easy ARIA tip, I will give you a bit of a hint on how to make not too complex, but still dynamic, menus accessible. We often encounter menus that pop in and out upon a mouse click or activation of an element using the keyboard.

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CSUN 2010 recap

From March 22 to 27, the 5th Annual International Technology & Persons with Disabilities Conference took place at the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel in San Diego, California. It is most commonly referred to as CSUN 2010.

tagged with: #Csun2010

Apple's iOS 4 supports WAI-ARIA landmarks

This is, I believe, my 100th post on this blog, and I’m using it to announce that Apple’s iOS 4, released yesterday for the iPhone and iPod Touch, supports WAI-ARIA landmark in the VoiceOver screen reader. VoiceOver has had, since its inception, a feature called the rotor. The rotor allows users to set a particula rweb element by which the one-finger-flick up and down gesture moves in mobile Safari and other apps that use a web display. This feature is now highly customizable. Not only can you enable and disable certain features (for example if you never want to navigate by graphics, you can disable it completely and it won’t show up in the rotor). But the rotor settings also include a new feature called landmarks. This rotor setting is disabled by default, but can be enabled through the Web settings sub window of the VoiceOver settings. Once enabled, and the user switches to it via the rotor gesture, navigating by WAI-ARIA landmarks on a page works very nicely. The one thing that VoiceOver does not do yet is announce the type of landmark, be it banner, main, search, complementary etc. Furthermore, the landmarks also include what is called automatic web spots in the VoiceOver on Snow Leopard for the Mac. So not only do you jump to the actually marked up landmarks, but a few more spots on a page Apple deems interesting. In my experience, these usually are quite useful spots, too, so this doesn’t harm the original landmark feature at all.

tagged with: #Ios4, #Voiceover, #Wai-aria

From WAI-ARIA to HTML5 and back...or maybe not?

Over the weekend, I gave a presentation at the German Multimediatreff. I talked about how to make things more accessible by combining HTML5 and WAI-ARIA in smart ways, using HTML5 where available and appropriate, and enhancing the user experience where HTML5 still has gaps in the implementation. This is a recap of what I showed.

tagged with: #Constraintvalidation, #Html5, #Html5forms, #Wai-aria

Quick tip: Handling the sub menus in the WordPress 3.3 admin area with a screen reader

This is a quick tip to show how to use the new sub menus in the admin area of WordPress 3.3 with a screen reader. For this, I’m using NVDA 2011.3RC, and Firefox 9.

tagged with: #Firefox, #Keyboardaccessibility

If you're not accessible, you lose sales and reputation

Did I ever mention that I love the community, and I love operating systems with truly inclusive design?! Well, now you know! Here’s a little story that took place in the last half hour:

tagged with: #Apps

If you use the WAI-ARIA role "application", please do so wisely!

This goes out to all web developers out there reading this blog and implementing widgets and other rich content in HTML, CSS and JavaScript! If you think of using the WAI-ARIA role “application” in your code, please do so with caution and care! And here’s why:

tagged with: #Landmarks, #Roles, #Wai-aria

Hiding content untangled: Hiding vs. moving out of the visible viewport

This blog post is once again prompted by something I encountered in the wild. The other day, I was testing browserid.org‘s account manager for accessibility and encountered some inconsistencies in keyboard navigation and screen reader usage. For one, there are “edit” buttons next to the “Your E-Mail addresses” and “Password” headings whose usability wasn’t obvious to me. To my screen reader, the “remove” buttons next to the e-mail addresses linked to my account, as well as the two password entry fields, were visible without me having to actually press these “edit” buttons at all. I could perform all actions without a hitch, so these buttons seemed superfluous and just adding noise. Secondly, even when just navigating through the page via the tab key, I couldn’t find anything that these “edit” buttons could be used for.

tagged with: #Css, #Displaynone, #Hidingcontent, #Negativepositioning

Are web apps accessible enough to replace desktop applications any time soon?

I know, reflections on things usually happen at years-end time, but to be honest, this blog post has been in my head for the last two-and-a-half years, and has thus “seen” a number of year-ends, so I felt that it’s now finally time to put it in writing.

tagged with: #Nativeapps, #Web

Accessibility - what is it good for?

There are those days when you watch a discussion unfold on Twitter, and a point is reached where a statement is made that leaves you more or less speechless for a while.

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My recap of the Accessibility Day 2012 in Vienna, Austria

On October 25, I took part in the 2012 Accessibility Day A-Tag 2012, in Vienna, Austria. This semi-annual event brings together people of various technology fields and organisations as well as end users with disabilities to exchange, share, and get updated on the latest developments in accessibility. This year’s motto was “mobile accessibility”, and with Mozilla’s recent mobile efforts like Firefox for Android and Firefox OS, this was a perfect venue to share and get feedback about our accessibility development and ideas.

tagged with: #A-tag, #Accessibilityday2012, #Atag2012

A top 100 killer web accessibility blog

Last night, I received an e-mail from Jimmy Atkinson, owner of the Web Hosting Database, who informed me that this blog is now listed in the 100 killer web accessibility resources, blogs, forums and tutorials article. I must admit I’m totally blown away by this, and would just like to whole-heartedly thank Jimmy for this recognition!

tagged with: #Whdb

Five years at Mozilla

Exactly on this day five years ago, on Monday, December 3, 2007, I started work at Mozilla as the QA engineer for Accessibility. I’d like to take this small anniversary to look back and look ahead.

tagged with: #Accessibility, #Firefox, #Mobile

Why do native mobile apps seem to win all the time?

Twitter is often a place of small, but thought-provoking bits of information or personal impression. Just today, Mick Curran, one of the NVDA core developers, tweeted this:

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Advanced ARIA tip #1: Tabs in web apps

The following article will describe how to properly create accessible tabs in web apps. This is important for both mobile and desktop web applications. Tabs are not native to HTML5, so if you simulate them, you’ll probably use other markup such as lists and list items to generate them. You will have to add WAI-ARIA markup to make these semantically correct. For non-touch-screen interfaces, you’ll also have to add keyboard support manually to make sure the experience is consistent with native apps.

tagged with: #Tab, #Tablist, #Tabpanel, #Wai-aria

Sometimes you have to use illegal WAI-ARIA to make stuff work

In this blog post, I’d like to recap an experience I just had while trying to apply some accessibility enhancements to the NoodleApp app.net client.

tagged with: #Group, #Listbox, #Option, #Roles, #Tree, #Treeitem, #Wai-aria

Switching to Android full-time - an experiment

A few weeks ago, I decided to conduct an experiment. I wanted to determine if Android 4.2.2 “Jelly Bean” was finally ready for me to switch to full-time, away from an iPhone.

tagged with: #Accessibility, #Android, #Talkback

Easy ARIA Tip #6: Making clickables accessible

It often happens that designers and web developers agree on the fact that they do not like the standard buttons or the styling capabilities of buttons in browsers. To work around this, they then resort to what’s called clickable text. It is in many cases a simple span or div element with some funky styling that makes it look like a button with some fancy twists. A JavaScript click handler then does the magic behind the scenes that happens if the user clicks on that particular styled text with the mouse.

tagged with: #Aria-label, #Button, #Tabindex, #Wai-aria

Recap of Beyond Tellerrand 2013

On may 27 and 28, I attended the Beyond Tellerrand 2013 conference. Tellerrand is the German word for “edge of a plate”. The conference is targeted primarily at web developers and designers, but provides many tracks that look way beyond the edge of the plate of their daily work. It was my first time attending, and the third incarnation of this conference as a whole.

tagged with: #Beyondtellerrand

Advancements in the accessibility of Facebook

In December 2011, I wrote this overview of the accessibility of social network sites and apps, and I had to paint a rather sad picture about most of the accessibility experiences. As time went by, some things improved here and there, others stalled.

tagged with: #Android, #Facebook, #Ios4, #Web

How I came to grudgingly accept aria-hidden

Yes, that’s right, I grudgingly accept the fact that aria-hidden is here, and most probably here to stay. Those of you who know me and have been involved in discussions with me, like poor Victor Tsaran, whom I pestered more than once to give me tangible evidence that aria-hidden solves problems normal visibility techniques don’t, know that I’ve been always a strong opponent to give web developers that much power over the accessibility tree. Unlike role “presentation”, which marks only one particular element as uninteresting for accessibility, aria-hidden does the same for an element and all its child elements.

tagged with: #Aria-hidden

Twitter now has a dedicated accessibility team

Ever since I joined Twitter in March of 2008, at my first CSUN under the Mozilla banner, Twitter’s own web presence was always a bit, or even a lot, of a challenge to use for me as a screen reader user. While the initial version was still pretty straight-forward, as time went by and Twitter added more features and turned their web presence into a web app, the interaction became increasingly cumbersome. Fortunately, there are clients on various platforms that allowed me to access the service without having to rely on the web site. Even after the more strict API 1.1 roll-out a year ago, this situation hasn’t really changed for me.

tagged with: #Twitter, #Web

Why accessibility APIs matter

This morning, Victor from payPal and I got into an exchange on Twitter regarding the ChromeVox extension. ChromeVox is a Chrome extension which provides screen reading functionality for blind users. Through keyboard commands, the user can navigate page content by different levels like object by object, heading by heading, form control by form control, etc.

tagged with: #Apis, #Webdev

What got me into programming

On Nov 20, 1983, Borland released Turbo Pascal 1.0. At a price of revolutionary 50 us$, developers received the world’s first fully integrated development environment (IDE) for the PC. It combined the compiler and code editor, and later also debugger, in a package that ran as a single program and didn’t require developers to go in and out of different applications under MS-DOS constantly, immensely increasing productivity.

tagged with: #Borland, #Codegear, #Delphi, #Dolphin, #Embarcadero, #Hal, #Jaws, #Turbopascal

WAI-ARIA showcase: Microsoft Office web apps

Prompted by the recent Microsoft and GW Micro partnership announcement, I took a long overdue look at Microsoft’s Office 365 product offerings. The Home Premium edition not only gives you five installations of full Office Professional versions in your household, Windows and Mac combined, but also the apps for iOS and Android on up to five mobile devices, extra SkyDrive cloud storage space, and access to the Office in the browser offerings. Considering the cost of shelf Office products, the subscription prices are an amazing end user benefit!

tagged with: #Ie, #Jaws, #Microsoft, #Office, #Safari, #Wai-aria, #Window-eyes

WAI-ARIA showcase: TinyMCE 4.17

Today, on February 26, the TinyMCE team released version 4.17 of the JavaScript/HTML editor for the web. In the release notes, the first item mentioned is much improved accessibility support. For those of you not familiar with TinyMCE: It is the WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get), AKA visual or rich editor used in many popular content management systems such as the WordPress blogging software.

tagged with: #Tinymce, #Wai-aria

Why screen reader detection on the web is a bad thing

On February 26, 2014, the webAIM project published the results of their 5th screen reader user survey. Two questions were new in this survey that pertain to a recently growing desire of some web developers to know whether they’re dealing with assistive technologies on the other end or not. The results were rather shocking to me as a representative of a browser vendor and experienced assistive technology user:

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Easy ARIA Tip #7: Use "listbox" and "option" roles when constructing AutoComplete lists

One question that comes up quite frequently is the one of which roles to use for an auto-complete widget, or more precisely, for the container and the individual auto-complete items. Here’s my take on it: Let’s assume the following rough scenario (note that the auto-complete you have developed may or may not work in the same, but a similar way):

tagged with: #Auto-complete

What is WAI-ARIA, what does it do for me, and what not?

On March 20, 2014, the W3C finally published the WAI-ARIA standard version 1.0. After many years of development, refinement and testing, it is now a web standard.

tagged with: #Wai-aria

Improvements to the handling of the aria-pressed attribute

On Monday this week, Heydon Pickering brought to my attention that Firefox has a problem with the way it handles the aria-pressed attribute in some circumstances. aria-pressed is used on buttons (or elements that have a WAI-ARIA role of “button”) to turn it into a toggle button which can be either pressed or not. Think of the Bold, Italic, etc. toolbar buttons in your favorite word processor as an example.

tagged with: #Aria-pressed, #Wai-aria

WAI-ARIA for screen reader users: An overview of things you can find in some mainstream web apps today

After my recent post about WAI-ARIA, which was mostly geared towards web developers, I was approached by more than one person on Twitter and elsewhere suggesting I’d do a blog post on what it means for screen reader users.

tagged with: #Facebook, #Microsoft, #Onedrive, #Twitter, #Wai-aria

Accessibility in Google Apps - an overview

I recently said that I would write a blog series about Google apps accessibility, providing some hints and caveats when it comes to using Google products such as GMail, Docs, and Drive in a web browser.

tagged with: #Docs, #Drive, #Forms, #Googkeapps, #Google, #Sheets, #Sites, #Slides

Revisiting the "Switch to Android full-time" experiment

Just over a year ago, I conducted an experiment to see whether it would be possible for me to switch to an Android device full-time for my productive smartphone needs. The conclusion back then was that there were still too many things missing for me to productively switch to Android without losing key parts of my day to day usage.

tagged with: #Android, #Talkback

Started a 30 days with Android experiment

After I revisited the results of my Switching to Android experiment, and finding most (like 99.5%) items in order now, I decided on Tuesday to conduct a serious 30 days with Android endeavor. I have handed in my iPhone to my wife, and she’s keeping (confiscating) it for me.

tagged with: #30dayswithandroid, #Android, #Talkback

Your must read post for this week

This goes out to all my readers who are web developers, or who work with web developers closely enough to hand this to them.

tagged with: #Webcomponents

Apps, the web, and productivity

Inspired by this public discussion on Asa Dotzler’s Facebook wall, I reflected on my own current use cases of web applications, native mobile apps, and desktop clients. I also thought about my post from 2012 where I asked the question whether web apps are accessible enough to replace desktop clients any time soon.

tagged with: #Usability

Apple are losing their edge also in accessibility quality

This post was originally published in January of 2015, and has last been updated on April 10, 2015, with latest information on the mentioned problems in light of the OS X 10.10.3 and iOS 8.3 releases from April 8, 2015.

tagged with: #Softwarequality

Quickly check your website for common accessibility problems with tenon.io

Tenon.io is a new tool to test web sites against some of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines criteria. While this does not guarantee the usability of a web site, it gives you an idea of where you may have some problems. Due to its API, it can be integrated into workflows for test automation and other building steps for web projects.

tagged with: #Development, #Extension, #Tenonio

Blog change: Now using encrypted connections

This is just a quick note to let you all know that this blog has switched over to using encrypted connections. The URLs (web site addresses) are now redirected to their encrypted counterparts, starting with https instead of http. For links to posts you may have bookmarked, it means that they’ll be automatically redirected to their encrypted counterparts, too, so you don’t need to do anything, and permalinks will still work.

tagged with: #Encryption, #Https, #Tls

Advanced ARIA Tip #2: Accessible modal dialogs

One question that came up more and more in recent months is how to create an accessible modal dialog with WAI-ARIA. So without further ado, here’s my take on the subject!

tagged with: #Dialog, #Waiaria

Social networks and accessibility: A not so sad picture

This post originally was written in December 2011 and had a slightly different title. Fortunately, the landscape has changed dramatically since then, so it is finally time to update it with more up to date information.

tagged with: #Facebook, #Googleplus, #Identica, #Inclusivedesign, #Socialnetworks, #Twitter, #Yammer

An update on office solutions in the browser and on mobile

Regular readers of my blog may remember my January 2014 shout out to Microsoft for implementing great accessibility in their Office Online offering. Later in the year, I also gave an overview over the accessibility in Google apps. Now, in late April 2015, it is time for an update, since both have made progress. We will also take a look at what has changed in Apple’s iCloud on the web suite, and I’ll introduce an open-source alternative that is ramping up to becoming more accessible.

tagged with: #Googleapps, #Googledocs, #Googledrive, #Iwork, #Microsoft, #Officeonline, #Onedrive, #Openxchange

Accessibility features in Firefox for iOS

After ten months in development, Mozilla today released Firefox for iOS worldwide. Firefox for iOS is bringing your synchronized bookmarks, history and other information associated with your Firefox account to the iOS platform. Moreover, it is also going to record pages you visit in your history and sync these back to your Firefox on Windows, Linux, Mac, and even Android devices.

tagged with: #Ios

Looking at the accessibility of the IRCCloud service

In recent months, I’ve started using the IRCCloud service for all my communication via Internet Relay Chat (IRC). We use IRC at Mozilla, and many other open source projects as well as the W3C use IRC for their instant communication needs.

tagged with: #Gitter, #Irc, #Irccloud, #Slack

Status Of The Accessibility Of Slack

After my report on the accessibility of the IRCCloud IRC client, but also in general, the question of how accessible the Slack team communication service is, has come up time and again. Here’s my observation after trying it out. This article was last updated in May 2019.

tagged with: #Slack

Making the Firefox developer tools accessible

In the first quarter of 2016, Yura, who is part of the accessibility team at Mozilla, and I are starting on a journey to make the firefox developer tools accessible. The majority of the tools are currently a very mouse-driven environment, and our goal is to make them equally accessible for keyboard users and those using assistive technologies such as screen readers. This blog post marks the beginning of that journey.

tagged with: #Developertools

Microsoft are stepping up their accessibility efforts considerably

Have you also noticed an increased buzz around Microsoft’s accessibility efforts lately? You probably have if you, like me, are on Twitter and other social media channels and are following the MSFTEnable Twitter account. But in case you haven’t, here are some exciting pointers for you to keep an eye on.

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How to: Add image descriptions to pictures you tweet

On March 29, 2016, Twitter announced that description of images is now available when tweeting photos. This helps first and foremost the blind and visually impaired who cannot see images, but may also help people with certain cognitive disabilities who cannot interpret photos, but can make use of descriptions. Here’s how describing your tweeted images works!

tagged with: #Alttext, #Imagedescription, #Twitter

The Firefox developer tools Inspector Panel is becoming accessible

A few months ago, I wrote about the efforts to make the built-in Firefox developer tools more accessible. That work started in January and is now carrying first far-reaching fruits. Here’s an update!

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Firefox 49 supports the HTML5 and elements

As you may or may not have heard, Firefox 49 supports the HTML5 <details> and <summary> elements. Both full keyboard support and support for assistive technologies is also available right from the start.

tagged with: #Details, #Html5, #Summary

JavaScript is not an enemy of accessibility!

When I started making my social media rounds this morning, I came across Jeffrey Zeldman’s call to action for this year’s Blue Beany Day on November 30th. But I respectfully disagree with a number of points he is making in his post about JavaScript frameworks and their accessibility implications.

tagged with: #Javascript

Rethinking Web Accessibility On Windows

For the past 18 years, screen readers on Windows have had a particular way of presenting web content to their users. This model no longer scopes well in light of modern web applications and dynamically changing web sites. The model, therefore, needs to be reimagined and modernized.<!— more —>

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Introducing the Accessibility Inspector in the Firefox Developer Tools

The built-in Firefox Developer Tools just received a new family member. The Accessibility Inspector allows you to inspect your website’s exposure to assistive technologies.

tagged with: #Developertools, #Devtools

Rediscovering blindness products

In recent months, I have discovered a tendency within myself that longs for more focused, hassle-free environments or niches, where distractions are reduced to a minimum, and I can immerse myself in one thing, and one thing only. And that has lead to rediscovering the merits of some blindness-specific products.

tagged with: #Assistivetechnology, #Blindness, #Braille, #Daisy

Easy ARIA tip #8: Use aria-roledescription to selectively enhance the user experience

In WAI-ARIA 1.1, the aria-roledescription attribute has been added to give web authors the ability to further describe the function of a widget. Here are a few tips for usage.

tagged with: #Ariaroledescription

Sara Soueidan on designing a switch control

Sara Soueidan just published an article on her path to designing a theme switch. Among the many great points she is making in this post, I would like to highlight one particular quote:

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WAI-ARIA menus, and why you should handle them with great care

The WAI-ARIA standard defines a number of related menu roles. However, before using them, please give great consideration to the implications.

tagged with: #Dontuse, #Menu, #Menubar, #Menuitem, #Menus

Nolan Lawson shares what he has learned about accessibility

Over the past year and a half, I have ventured time and again into the federated Mastodon social network. In those ventures, I have contributed bug reports to both the Mastodon client as well as some alternative clients on the web, iOS, and Android.

tagged with: #Mastodon, #Pinafore, #Pwa, #Spa

My third Android experiment

In November of 2018, I started a third attempt at switching to Android as my primary mobile operating system. This time, the experiment lasted 9 months. But I switched back to iOS nevertheless.

tagged with: #Accessibility, #Android, #Talkback

My extended advent calendar

This year, I have a special treat for my readers. On Monday, November 25, at 12 PM UTC, I will start a 30 day series about everything and anything. Could be an accessibility tip, an how-to about using a feature in an app I use frequently, some personal opinion on something, a link to something great I came across on the web… I am totally not certain yet. I have ideas about some things I want to blog about, but by far not 30 of them yet.

tagged with: #30daysof, #Adventcalendar

How I made the Firefox Protection report screen reader accessible

Firefox 70, released in October, contains a new feature called the Protection Report. It contains a graph of all the things Firefox protected you from in the last seven days. Here’s how I made that screen reader accessible.

tagged with: #Graph, #Protectionreport, #Table, #Waiaria

A few tips on Mastodon

In recent months, you may have come across the name Mastodon here and there. Especially two weeks ago, when Twitter again made headlines with some, possibly politically motivated, account suspensions that resulted in an influx of users from India to the federated network. Time to look at it a bit, also with regards to accessibility.

tagged with: #Federation, #Mastodon, #Peertube, #Pixelfed, #Socialnetworking

My thoughts on Gutenberg Accessibility

I have, for the most part, remained silent about the whole WordPress Gutenberg accessibility topic. Others who are closer to the project have been very vocal about it, and continue to do so. However, after a period of sickness, and now returning to more regular blogging, I feel the time has come to break that silence.

tagged with: #Gutenberg

Navigating in the Firefox toolbars using the keyboard

Firefox toolbars got a significant improvement to keyboard navigability in version 67. It was once again enhanced in Firefox 70. Here’s how.

tagged with: #Keyboard

Auditing For Accessibility Problems With Firefox Developer Tools

Since its debut in Firefox 61, the Accessibility Inspector in the Firefox Developer Tools has evolved from a low-level tool showing the accessibility structure of a page. In Firefox 70, the Inspector has become an auditing facility to help identify and fix many common mistakes and practices that reduce site accessibility. In this post, I will offer an overview of what is available in this latest release.

tagged with: #Accessibilityinspector, #Colorblindness, #Colorcontrast, #Developertools, #Devtools

A curious web standards celebration

Have you heard of Blue Beanie Day before? Well, I have, but only because I have been involved with web standards and accessibility for so long. The Cute Calendar has all information.

tagged with: #Bluebeanieday, #Webstandards

Sentimental Me

This year, I am noticing an increased number of sentimental waves, as well as an unusually strong afinity towards the Christmas holiday season.

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Why AI will never replace human picture descriptions

Yes, a bold statement, I know, but this piece by Dr. Elizabeth Fernandez made my conviction even stronger.

tagged with: #Ai

12 years at Mozilla

Today marks my 12th anniversary working for Mozilla. I started on December 3, 2007, as a contractor, and moved to a full employment 13 months later, in January 2009. So in January this year, I was employed there 10 years.

tagged with: #Disability, #Work

A good read: How to make ads responsive

A friend of mine published his very first blog post on Monday. Congratulations, Schepp, and welcome to the world of blogging! His post is not related to web accessibility, but I found it a fascinating read, so am sharing it with you. He describes how he wrangled ads into the responsive (and accessible) relaunch of the media company’s web site he is working on. But be warned, it’s not for the faint of heart, and very technical. And fascinating. 🙂

tagged with: #Webdev

Quickly bringing up context menus in VoiceOver in iOS 13.2

Since the release of iOS 13, Apple and app developers have put more emphasis on context menus in apps such as Files, Mail, or on home screen icons. in iOS 13, Apple made it a lot easier for VoiceOver users to get to these.

tagged with: #Contextmenus, #Ios, #Voiceover

Do's and don'ts on Hamburger menus

Today, just a quick reading tip for you. Michael Scharnagl posted a great article on Wednesday about when to use Hamburger menus, when not to use them, and what to consider for each decision. And that includes accessibility. Thank you, Michael!

tagged with: #Bestpractices, #Hamburgermenus

The myth of getting rich through ads

Some of you may have noticed that since May, my blog is displaying ads here and there. It was kind of an experiment, and here are my conclusions after six months.

tagged with: #Ads, #Adsense, #Grantfortheweb, #Wordads

How to use the extended clipboard in Windows 10

Since the update from October 2018, (Version 1809), Windows 10 has had an extended clipboard feature. Here’s how you turn it on and use it.

tagged with: #Clipboard, #Clipboardhistory, #Windows10

NVDA 2019.3 Beta 1 is available

NVDA 2019.3 beta 1 has been released today. It is a huge milestone in the history of this free and open-source screen reader.

tagged with: #Nvdasr

mailbox.org is giving new customers €6 until Jan 10, 2020

My personal favorite e-mail provider mailbox.org is giving away Christmas vouchers until January 10, 2020, for each new customer registration. Details if you read on.

tagged with: #Mailboxorg, #Openxchange, #Privacy

Happy birthday, Mom!

Yes, my Mom has her birthday today. She’s 70 now. And I’ll go see her and the whole extended family on Sunday to celebrate. But don’t you worry, the Sunday blog post is already planned. 🙂

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If you ARIA label something, give it a role

TL;DR: As a rule of thumb, if you label something via aria-label or aria-labelledby, make sure it has a proper widget or landmark role.

tagged with: #Landmarks, #Widgets

A quick introduction to using Gutenberg

Late in November, I published a personal opinion on the state of Gutenberg accessibility. Today, I’d like to give an introduction to Gutenberg from a screen reader user perspective.

tagged with: #Gutenberg

Some fixes in Accessibility Inspector in Firefox 72

Firefox 72, currently in beta, received some fixes to the Accessibility Inspector this week. Here they are.

tagged with: #Accessibilityinspector, #Webdev

The Number 15

Today, we passed the two thirds mark of this crazy project. It is Sunday, December 15, the third advent. Time to reflect a bit on the number 15, which takes a bit of a special place in my life.

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Call to action: HTML needs more native rich widgets

Over the weekend, this post by Dave Rupert made the rounds, and I totally agree with what he is saying.

tagged with: #A11y, #Accordion, #Html, #Webdev, #Widgets

My review of Apple AirPods Pro

Last week, I got my set of AirPods Pro. And after using them for a few days in various situations, can say: Best active noise cancelling headphones I’ve ever used!

tagged with: #Airpods, #Airpodspro

A few quick tips on Gutenberg on mobile devices

The new WordPress block editor is also available in the WordPress app for iOS and Android. It uses the same basis as the editor on a self-hosted or hosted WordPress site, but is a bit simplified. And it is accessible. Here are a few quick tips to get around it.

tagged with: #Blockeditor, #Gutenberg, #Gutenbergmobile

On sale until December 31st: Threema seriously secure messaging

Threema is an alternative to WhatsApp & friends, with a focus on privacy. It’s made in Switzerland, and it is on sale until December 31 for half the price.

tagged with: #Threema

Recap: The web accessibility basics

Today, I am just quickly going to recommend you an old, but all-time reader favorite post of mine I published 4 years ago. And it is as current today as it was then, and most of it already was in the year 2000. Yes, I’m talking about the basics of web accessibility.

tagged with: #A11y, #Css, #Html, #Webdev

WordPress accessibility team member, Gutenberg contributor

My recentfrequentblogging about Gutenberg has led to some really productive changes.

tagged with: #A11y, #Gutenberg

Happy Chanukka

Wishing all of my readers who celebrate it, a very happy Chanukka!

tagged with: #Happychanukka

Merry Christmas, everyone!

To everyone who celebrates it, a very merry Christmas!

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What's new for accessibility in Gutenberg 7.2

Gutenberg 7.2 has just been released as a plugin. The development cycle was longer than usual. As a result, this version contains a lot of changes. Several of them improve Gutenberg’s accessibility.

tagged with: #Gutenberg

The focus of this blog is changing

Recently, Mozilla introduced an official blog about all things accessibility. This blog is transitioning to a pure personal journal.

tagged with: #General

Welcome to Marco's Accessibility Blog 2.0!

This blog has launched on a new platform. Find out a bit about the background and motivation in this post.

tagged with: #Blogging, #Ghost, #Jamstack, #Eleventy, #Hugo, #Gatsbyjs, #Netlify, #Opensource

My Journey To Ghost

In this post, I discuss some aspects of my migration of this blog from WordPress to Ghost, and what pitfalls I encountered.

tagged with: #Wordpress, #Ghost

How to use Element and Matrix with a screen reader

In this blog post, I give an introduction to the Matrix communication network and the most popular client named Element. I will show you the main elements of the web and desktop user interface and how you can quickly navigate around it using a screen reader.

tagged with: #Chat, #Elementio, #Matrixorg

25 years of Help Tech and Me

In this blog post, I highlight my special relationship to Braille displays of the Handy Tech brand. The occasion is an anniversary.

tagged with: #Braille