Transcription: Web Axe Episode 91 (Game Plan, CSS, Lawsuits & Events)

[Introduction, woman's voice over music] Welcome to Web Axe, practical web accessibility tips. Web Axe dot blogspot dot com. Web Axe. Web site accessibility. Web standards. Web Axe dot blogspot dot com.

Dennis: Hello, and welcome to Web Axe Podcast number 91 - Game Plan, Lawsuits & Events. This is your host, Dennis once again. I have Ross on the line.

Ross: Hey Dennis. How is sunny California?

Dennis: It's getting pretty sunny today. Yeah. Yesterday was really strange. It actually rained in San Francisco. In late June it rained, which it never does.

Ross: Oh, really?

Dennis: Yeah. But, besides that, it's been really nice. Somewhat cool so far. So I've been liking it.

Ross: Yeah, this tends to be a great time of year in the Bay Area I think.

Dennis: Oh yeah. June is great. I'm sorry I missed you in Michigan, man.

Ross: Oh yeah. Me too. Yeah. I got your email late. I have a backlog of email every day now, because of my email app. So yeah, I wish we would have been able to meet up. But another time, I'm sure.

Dennis: Yeah. Yeah. My schedule is booked with all kinds of stuff. If you saw my Flickr updates lately, I put a few photo sets up there that are kind of nice.

Ross: Oh, I'll have to check those out.

Dennis: From my trip to Michigan. Anyway, so what else is new? How is the book coming along?

Ross: Pretty well actually. It's strange, because I feel like I just started. But I'm nearing the end, which is bizarre. The book is probably going to have about 15 chapters and I'm on chapter 13.

Dennis: Oh, great.

Ross: So I'm nearing the end. I'm supposed to finish my first draft or writing in a couple of weeks, three weeks I think.

Dennis: To reiterate from the last podcast, this is a Web design book, right?

Ross: Yes. It's about how design happens on the Web or visual design on the Web, more from a holistic viewpoint. Usually when people talk about design on the Web they are either talking about how it looks.

Maybe they might be talking about how easy it is for a site to be used. Then, in some cases, some people refer to Web design as the actual practice of even building the site, like a front end sort of thing. So the book looks at a holistic view of design and what the six needs that a design must address are, to be really successful.

Dennis: Cool. Have you thought about a title?

Ross: Yes. It's called The Six Layers of Design.

Dennis: Cool. Well we are looking forward to that.

Ross: Yeah. Yeah. Actually I just got the book cover concepts last week and I'm working with the artist on those. So it's starting to feel real.

Dennis: Yeah. That's exciting. Congratulations.

Ross: Why thank you. I noticed last week all of a sudden I was getting tweets from Easy Chirp.

Dennis: [laughs] Yeah. A few weeks ago, actually not even a week before I left for Michigan, changed its name. So it's now called Easy Chirp. If you go to it will forward you there. Or just go to But yeah.

So that was big. I finally got around to writing a post about it on Web Axe. But when I first announced it a few weeks ago, I got a lot of re-tweets and good feedback and stuff on that, which was great. Then I got more feedback when put the post. I got more re-tweets when I posted it on Web Axe. So it was good to get exposure from the name change.

Ross: Definitely. I read the post. So it was for copyright reasons. Is this just something you noticed and decided you should change, or did somebody approach you about it?

Dennis: Yeah. A lot of people ask me that. But Twitter never really approached me and asked me to change the name I think for two reasons. The site maybe wasn't quite big enough or more popular as some other third-party apps out there. But also, because obviously the service that it's providing is important and it's something that Twitter isn't doing. So I think they respected that.

But yeah, there were other reasons for the name change. One recent is just that it's shorter.

Ross: Right.

Dennis: It's just, plain shorter. Another reason is that it's more generic for the everyday user, rather than just concentrating on the word accessible, which we will talk about more in a few minutes. But some people might not know what that is or it might be a turnoff to some people. So Easy Chirp is just an easier name.

Ross: Yeah. Yeah, I like it. It's fun. Easy Chirp - it makes me want to use it.

Dennis: Yeah. But, you know, there were two updates I needed to do in the application settings on Twitter. I wasn't able to update them, because Twitter wasn't the name of the application and they wouldn't allow it anymore.

Ross: Oh.

Dennis: So even though I had the name, I couldn't do an app update. So that is another related reason. But anyhow, it's all good. Thank God that mess is all over. It was a little more work than I anticipated. But I was preparing for it over the span of a few months. So it went pretty smoothly.

Ross: Yeah.

Dennis: Yeah. I'm still not happy with the server that it's on though. The new server is pretty good. But the PHP sessions are timing out. So I'll have an eye out for a new server. So if anyone out there wants to dedicate something or donate something in exchange for advertising, please contact me.

Ross: I think that's a good opportunity. Somebody should take you up on that.

Dennis: I hope so. It will be a ton of exposure.

Ross: Definitely. Maybe our friends at DQ Apps? It seems like that would be a good synergy.

Dennis: Maybe. OK, let's move on. I want to talk about the accessibility game plan for a few minutes. Let's see. First of all, I can't remember who originally brought this up, but Jared Smith had a session about it at the CSUN Conference this year.

Actually, if you go to hash tag game plan on Twitter, you could probably still find some of the old tweets I'm talking about. But basically this is about the accessibility community rethinking what we are doing and trying to get accessibility exposed in a wider and more positive way. I think everybody is realizing that, for a variety of reasons, the word accessibility kind of scares people.

Ross: Yeah.

Dennis: So to try to get away from that and different ideas to do that, and at the same time just help accessibility along and evolve. So somewhat recently there has been a couple of articles around this. One of them was by Karl Groves, who actually does work for DQ. What was that? [laughs]

Ross: Sorry, I'm moving.

Dennis: OK. Then there is another one, called Accessibility - Let's Put Away the Wrecking Ball. So those are both really good articles. I highly recommend reading those. That's by Neil Milliken. So they are great articles talking about some of the issues and what we can do to resolve these issues.

Ross: Yeah. I didn't follow those - the hash tag. These two articles were my first awareness of these new plans, this new game plan. I really like them. I guess it kind of reminded me of some things of which I am guilty.

I think it gives some really clear barriers as to why people don't understand why accessibility is important. I think the other is that there is a semantic thing, where accessibility sounds maybe a little intimidating.

Then, people within the accessibility community have maybe behavioral things where there is a lot of shunning but there is not a lot of, "Well, let me help you." That something of which I am guilty too. I'm like, "Look at this website. It's horribly inaccessible." Then I'll just leave. [laughs]

Dennis: [laughs]

Ross: I don't do anything to help. But I'm more than happy to criticize.

Dennis: Yeah, I think that's one of the points of the article, to share some of your solutions. Instead of accessibility folks shunning other sites or practices, do not do that so much, but say, "Hey, here is a better way."

Ross: Right.

Dennis: Then yeah, I don't know. I guess using a different term sometimes would help. Like universal design or inclusive design - I think maybe just using those terms for certain folks would fly better.

Ross: Yeah. Yeah. One of the things that I talk about in the book oddly enough is this idea that design needs to be reliable. That's when I bring up accessibility. Especially applied to the Web, the idea of reliable design, meaning that the design can function regardless if you are on the most recent browser on the nicest computer or if you're on a text browser or if you're using screen reader, the design should still serve its purpose. So that's a term that I've started trying to adopt for other than accessibility.

Dennis: Hmm. That's good. So you do talk about accessibility in your design book?

Ross: Yeah. Absolutely. It's an important design thing.

Dennis: Awesome. Yeah. So, other takeaways from this discussion and articles are to educate others if you go to a Web camp or unconference, about which we will talk more in a minute or a Refresh chapter meeting or a UPA meeting to share the knowledge and awareness of inclusive design.

Another point would be practice what you preach. If you're making a website, make it accessible. Advocate accessibility groups and websites that are accessible. One thing about which I am a little disappointed with the Easy Chirp is that more accessibility advocates aren't actually using it. I think that's important. If you advocate accessibility, I think you should practice what you preach and use accessible technologies just as a model.

Ross: Right, as a way to support.

Dennis: Yeah, support.

Ross: Inclusive design.

Dennis: Yeah. But, all in all, I think everybody is on the same side. We agree we need to maybe just some of the things that we are doing.

Ross: Yeah. I think my key takeaway from reading them was this interesting thing that's happening in that promoting accessibility is such a positive thing. It has such a potential to impact the way people can use the Web and access information and access these services.

But, maybe we could do more to use that positive energy in informing people too, which is something of which I think you do a lot better job than I do. Easy Chirp and the podcast certainly are, but it reminded me that I should be more proactive about really trying to show people why accessibility is great.

Dennis: Well, I appreciate you coming on the Podcast. It's been a couple of months actually.

Ross: Yeah. I was just thinking that.

Dennis: So yeah. It's been a really busy spring. So I'm glad we were able to get together today on this fine Wednesday.

Ross: [laughs]

Dennis: Hump day.

Ross: Right, and halfway through it too. Friday is getting closer and closer.

Dennis: Well, for you it is. I'm barely getting started over here.

Ross: [laughs] Oh, that's right. Sorry.

Dennis: I did get up early though and was able to watch some tennis, some Wimbledon.

Ross: Ooh. That sounds fun.

Dennis: I think Federer just lost.

Ross: Yeah, I don't follow tennis, so I'm not sure who Federer is. But that sounds like a travesty.


Dennis: Well, he's seeded like number three, I think. He used to be number one. I'm not too depressed that he lost.

Ross: Oh, so you're not a big Federer fan.

Dennis: No, I like Nadal. He's cool.

Ross: OK. Well, I will root for him as well.

Dennis: [laughs] Yeah. There's one American left, I think. So we'll see.

["Web Axe" sound effect]

Dennis: Couple good articles about CSS and accessibility lately. So, yeah, be careful with your CSS.

Ross: Yeah. I read through these, and the first one that you found, "Testing the Accessibility of the CSS-Generated Content," I love this article because it's such a good reminder that now that we have some of these cool things, like CSS3 and pseudo-selectors, we still have to be careful how we use them.

Dennis: Yeah, and the article's good, and it takes you through all the different stages of the CSS development. And it explains how screen readers, I guess, are the main case, and how it won't recognize some of that content.

Ross: Right, right. So what ends up happening is, if you use a pseudo-selector before or after, you could conceivably put content in through CSS, like a little help message, but that won't be read by all screen readers.

Dennis: Right.

Ross: Which I don't necessarily know why you'd do that. Maybe just because it's quicker? I'm sure people have done it. I just don't know why. [laughs]

Dennis: Yeah, I don't know why either. The only time I've ever used them would be for like a pipe character or something like that. You know what I mean?

Ross: Yeah. Right.

Dennis: Or maybe the float-fix kind of thing.

Ross: Yeah, I've done them for Clearfix. I've done them for, yeah, like a pipe.

Dennis: Clearfix, yeah.

Ross: Yeah, Clearfix. And then stylistic stuff, where I'm adding a shadow after a box. It's better to put it in through CSS than have an image in the page.

Dennis: Yeah. And none of those things we just said are content. So be careful with that.

Ross: Right.

Dennis: And the other article is his one about backgrounds, "CSS Background Images and Accessibility."

Ross: So yeah, it just kind of talked about how there's these CSS techniques that people use that end up putting text in a background image. And then there's a lot of reasons that background images get turned off, such as high-contrast mode and that sort of thing. And I think this is particular with image-replacement techniques, where if you use a background and you switch to high-contrast mode through Windows, it turns off the background but the text doesn't end up showing up.

Dennis: Oh...

Ross: So they said use font rendering, if possible. If not, you can use something like Cufon.

Dennis: Interesting. That's a good tidbit right there. So look out for that.

Ross: Yeah. Be careful.

["Web Axe" sound effect]

Dennis: OK. We have three lawsuits to talk about.

Ross: All related to captioning.

Dennis: Actually, I think I messed that up. The first two are captioning, but the third one's not.

Ross: Oh, right. And that's the most offensive.


Dennis: So, by now you've all most likely heard about the CNN case. So, a nonprofit group in Berkeley, California, sued for not captioning its online videos. That was pretty big news a short while back. And, on a related note, Netflix was sued for the same reason. What does this say, the National Association of the Deaf?

Ross: Yeah.

Dennis: Filed a disability-civil-rights lawsuit against Netflix. Netflix has captioned or subtitled their movies--well, some of their movies. I think it's around 20 percent. But the deaf groups have contacted Netflix, apparently repeatedly, about doing more, and they haven't. So that's what the lawsuit is about.

Ross: Yeah, 20 percent's not very much.

Dennis: Yeah. If four-fifths of my movie selection [laughs] got removed off Netflix, I wouldn't be too happy.

Ross: Right. Yeah, definitely.

Dennis: So we'll see what happens with that. And the last one is just a recent article from Lainey Feingold on the JetBlue case. So that's still going on, where there's a lawsuit about the inaccessibility of JetBlue's website and kiosks. So I guess the next hearing is July 22nd. And I quote the article: "JetBlue has asked the judge to throw the asked the judge to throw the case out of court, arguing that California's disability-civil-rights laws do not apply to JetBlue's website or kiosks." [laughs]

Ross: Yeah, I thought that was pretty rude. [laughs]

Dennis: Yeah. So, yeah. I don't know how much more you can say.

Ross: Right, right. That, to me, says, "We don't care about you." Which is too bad, because I used to really like JetBlue, but not anymore.

Dennis: Yeah. And it's funny, because I know other airlines have been sued, and I'm not sure if those lawsuits have been resolved. If anyone out there knows, please leave a comment. It'd be good to know the resolution of these things, because that would change the course of action for JetBlue.

["Web Axe" sound effect]

Dennis: All right. Let's talk about a few conferences and events and unconferences.

Ross: Yeah, those are always fun.

Dennis: Yeah. So just a quick note about AccessU. What was that, like a month and a half ago? So I went to Texas for the first time. And yeah, Austin was really cool.

Ross: That's what I hear. I've never been there, but everybody tells me Austin is awesome.

Dennis: Yeah. [laughs] I beat you there, man.

Ross: [laughs]

Dennis: So yeah. Yeah, it's a cool town. And the conference went really well, and I gave my keynote, and that went fine.

Ross: Yeah. Is there any video online?

Dennis: No. I don't it got recorded, but I do have slides.

Ross: Oh, no!

Dennis: I'll post a link to the slides.

Ross: Yeah, I really wanted to hear. But it went well?

Dennis: Yeah. It went pretty well. I was so nervous the night before. I could barely sleep.

Ross: Oh, I bet.

Dennis: But when I actually gave the keynote, I was all relaxed and stuff. It was funny.

Ross: That's how it goes. I've never done a keynote so maybe it's different, but the times I have done speaking, presentations and that sort of thing, I'm nervous up until the point I start talking and then everything is OK.

Dennis: It was nice to have a lot of familiar faces in the audience so that was cool too.

Ross: Yeah, definitely. You're a celebrity.

Dennis: It was fun. At the end, I had like four or five giveaways. I asked questions about my speech and you had to answer the questions. It was great.


Ross: That's a good idea.

Dennis: Yeah, it was all good.

Ross: A little pop quiz.

Dennis: Yeah, it sort of was. But at the beginning, I warned the listeners. I said, "You better pay attention because I'm going to ask some questions at the end."

Ross: [laughs] Very clever. I like it.

Dennis: Yeah, it was good. I also hit the Google IO so through Web Axe, I was actually invited. I got a press pas.

Ross: Oh, nice.

Dennis: So, I was able to go. I went the first day. I wrote a Web Axe blog about it. So, if you missed it, go check it out. It talks a little bit about the conference and the accessibility goings on. There's links to the five or six sessions about accessibility. They had a little accessibility area on the floor which was cool. They had Chrome book with the Chrome screen reader called "Chrome Box." So, I tried that out. They had three other little displays with an Android phone and different stuff. So, it was pretty cool.

Ross: The Android stuff, when I looked at a post that seemed the most interesting, the thing that caught my attention was the idea of mobile accessibility. That's really cool, kind of exploring that.

Dennis: They were pushing the accessibility thing which was nice. I really appreciate Google for doing that kind of stuff, but I don't know. Google seems like it's so siloed. It has accessibility issues in other areas.

In a lot of other stuff, accessibly, fixes or resolutions are not really built in. They're rather like bolted on like adding their own screen reader on top of their operating system rather than playing nice with the ones that exist already.

Ross: [laughs] What do they call that? Like a multi-patch. You get some duct tape out and duct tape on a fix versus...

Dennis: So, I don't know. I guess you've got to take the bad with the good.

Ross: Being how influential they are, the fact that they are showing interest and they care, I think that's good leadership, but they should practice what they preach as we discussed earlier.

Dennis: So, coming up events. I just posted a blog on Web Axe about, and it's a great list so check it out, July through December accessibility events, conferences and stuff all over the place. So, there's a lot of ON conferences which is cool because we had a guest post by Jenison talking about the Web Camp or ON Conference. So, there's a lot of good events this summer and fall.

There's a neat ARIA and jQuery hack-a-thon in Toronto. That's worth a shout out. There's a lot in Canada, man.

Ross: Yeah, they've got a lot going on.

Dennis: The website for the Accessibility Camp Montreal should be updated very soon. There's nothing on there now, but I talked to Deanne Boudreau and it's still going on August 26th in Montreal. The Boston ON Conference is on September 17th. You've got Toronto, September 24th. London, September 21st. Excuse me, the 21st of September. That's backwards. [laughs]

And then DC, October 22nd. Accessing Higher Ground is Colorado in November again. Another Canadian one in Ottawa, an ON Conference December 2nd. So, try to make it to at least on of those.

Ross: Definitely. They all look good.

Dennis: OK. I know we're running out of time so I just want to do a quick mention for a few jobs that at the time of recording, I checked them this morning, are still listed and open. There's a project leader accessibility and inclusion position at Scotiabank in Toronto. And an accessibility engineer position for Mozilla which has been open for a little while, I believe.

Ross: That'd be a fun one.

Dennis: Yeah. You don't have to be in any one place. I think there's a few different cities that you can live in, maybe even remote. I don't know.

Ross: That wouldn't surprise me. There's somebody who lives near Lemonia in Michigan who works for Mozilla so I think they do a lot of remote workers.

Dennis: That's cool. That's a pretty techie engineering position. There's another one that's pretty techie, really senior, but looks like an excellent opportunity; senior accessibility analyst in Washington DC. This one requires a secret clearance for this job.

Ross: You could be a spy.

Dennis: It's listed by New Editions Consulting. I heard it's for DHS, the Department of Homeland Security, but I'm not sure. But anyway, the position looks pretty heavy. It looks pretty important. So, if you or if you know anyone, send these job listings to them.

That was another good podcast, Ross.

Ross: Definitely. We'll have to try and not miss a month this time around.

Dennis: All right. Catch you next time.

Ross: Talk to you later. Bye.

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