Accessible Pulse: 2021 Recap

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Welcome to the Accessibility Hub 2021 Recap: Tips, Compliance and the Roadmap from WCAG 2 to 3.

Here’s what made the news in accessibility and eLearning in 2021:

The case against Userway? Why accessibility practitioners dislike overlays

Are accessibility overlays, the likes of Userway, ultimately detrimental in a context of diverse access needs? Over 600 teacher and education professionals seem to think so.

From a purely technical standpoint, overlays add accessibility tools on top of a website, most likely one that was built without any accessibility compliance in mind. It appears, however, that in practice overlays commonly fail to accomplish this. Instead, they add a technical layer of maintenance that offers no value to any kind of user, but probably exists due to misleading marketing and the need for a “quick fix” that deems a site compliant.

What are the arguments against overlays?

  • Overlay widgets are seen as unnecessary and poorly placed in the technology stack. What widgets allow you to do, are the changes that can be made to the page such as page contrast, text size and improvement for the user experience. But many consider that these widgets can be very practical and beneficial. The widget is, at best, duplicative functionality with what the user already has.
  • What about automated repair. It is relevant to make users aware that it is not convenient to use an overlay as a long-term solution.
  • Using an overlay may improve the user experience to some extent, but it is not guaranteed to be fully functional and compliant.
  • Like age, ethnicity or preferred gender, disability is sensitive personal information. If you use an overlay, your privacy may not be in place.
  • Many people with disabilities have shown dissatisfaction with the overlays, to the point where users block them.
  • Note that so far no type overlay has made a website fully compliant with any existing accessibility standard.

According to the WebAIM survey of Web accessibility professionals, presented in January, the common agreement is that overlays are ineffective.

The debate is far from settled. But regardless of whether you make use of an overlay or not, the deeper question is: Is technology truly adaptable for everyone?

Check Out The Authoritative, Free and Open Framework On Accessibility Education By W3C

Have you ever considered how people with disabilities view the world and live their lives? How about the way the access your content or applications?

With the introduction of Curricula on Web Accessibility by the World Wide Consortium, elearning professionals, authors, designers and developers have a tool to educate themselves and enhance their conversations.

Why a Curricular Framework? Considering that W3C is a standards and advocacy group, they can focus on what they excel and provide guidelines for actual educators to turn them into engaging learning experiences.

The complete “Curricula on Web Accessibility: A Framework to Build Your Own Courses” is available at the site and is made of 3 modules:

  • Foundation Modules. Designed for a general audience, they introduces the topics but it also offers a look at the complexities of understanding and dealing with differences in access abilities in our society.
  • Developer Modules. They offer a comprehensive guide to the elements of a digital interface. Aimed, as its name implies, to a technically skilled audience, it can be a source of reference for educators and instructional designers.
  • Designer Modules. When tech meets the human, they focus on leveraging digital tools to build appealing experiences. They discuss design principles under the accessibility lens.
  • Author Modules. Last but not least, these modules touch on the elements content creators need to keep in mind when designing accessible content.

Accessibility Summit 2021 Opens Call For Proposals

Teach new skills, share stories, and lessons learned about virtual accessibility.

On July 20, 2021, HighEdWeb will hold an online event called Accessibility Summit 2021 that focuses on digital accessibility in higher education.

HighEdWeb is looking for innovative proposals that are full of knowledge and that these can be applied for the development of the event.

HighEdWeb is a non-profit organization that aims to educate digital professionals who are working in colleges and universities.

It also seeks to eliminate digital harassment without the exception of any person, taking into account gender, identity, sexual orientation.

Send your proposal before April 5 of this year, the committee will answer you before April 19 if your proposal was accepted or not, moreover if your proposal is accepted, you will have a free ticket to the event.

The topics to be discussed at the digital accessibility summit are, universal design for learning, user experience, inclusive content and language, accessibility to social networks, read here more topics to be discussed

W3C Releases First Public Draft Of WCAG 3.0 Accessibility Guidelines

WCAG is the most widely known and widespread accessibility standard for websites and applications. When sites and applications meet the standard it means that people who take advantage of assistive devices will find an easier experience.

Currently WCAG 2 is the generally adopted standard. According to the blog posted on its official website, the benefits of WCAG 3 will be:

  • A more flexible and easily adaptable structure
  • A simplified language and better references for implementation.
  • A more appropriate reflection of the way in which people with disabilities can implement the standards.
  • Includes a better system for evaluating compliance with the standards than WCAG 2.

The first draft of WCAG 3 has just been published and there is no clear date as to when it will come into effect. There is usually a testing period, then one where WCAG 2 and 3 coexist, and eventually WCAG 2 becomes obsolete. The process can take years.

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