Camp Update – #w4a #accessibility #a11y

Another innovative feature of this years W4A was the W4ACamp help on the newly instigated ‘Crazy Wednesday’. I’m happy to say we lived up to the spirit of the day, meeting in a hotel bar at 09:30-12:30 and running impromptu attendee led discussions while stealing network, and being fuelled on coffee from the hotel staff!

W4A Camp As it happened the the camp split into four, with a number of people switching between groups half way through – after 1h30m. Peter Thiessen and Hironobu Takagi joined forces for a mobile applications session; David Sloan ran an Accessibility Body of Knowledge session; Silvia Mirri looked at Evaluation; while Markel Vigo ran a session on Intelligent Automation of Accessibility Testing.

These sessions were really great and seemed to entertain the 25/30 people in attendance (bigger than the first W4A in actuality). One positive aspect was the desire for the knowledge gained in the camp not to be lost – and so this information was recorder by the session leaders and will soon form an Open Access entry in the W4A12 ACM DL.

But as a taster, what did we come up with?

  • Mobile Applications – Cross platform decoupling of OS accessibility is required if we are to progress. Currently, languages and APIs are so different that they hinder accessibility – it’s just not practical for developers. Web applications maybe the answer for cross platform accessibility but mobile browsers are quite different; although this is more of a developer problem not a user one (Peter Thiessen and Hironobu Takagi).
  • Breaking  Accessibility  Automation  Barriers – Reduce  the  number  of  false  negatives  by  applying  techniques  commonly  employed  in  other computer  science  domains  –  no  need  for  rocket  science. Improve  reporting  by  disclosing  accessibility  problems  based  on  their  type  or  certainty (Markel Vigo).
  • Body of Knowledge – the quality assurance aspects of linking to external resources, and how this quality is maintained over time in a sustainable way, with a particular concern over the balance between the Body of Knowledge as an authoritative collection of work presented by accessibility specialists and a crowd-sourced collection (David Sloan).
  • Evaluation/Conformity/Certification – the group agreed that the most feasible and effective solution could be the certification of the process of creating a Web site instead of the certification of the final set of Web pages which compose the Web site. Intention of the group is to propose this topic for a deeper and wider discussion in the W3C RDWG (Silvia Mirri).

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