Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Make Your Google Slides More Accessible

I've gotten interested in Google Slides recently.  Slides are always a bit tricky when trying to ensure they are accessible.   There's an add-on for Google Slides, Grackle Slides.

Grackle Slides shows the content items of slides and checks text attributes to help find accessibility issues.

One concern though, it has a warning that it has permission to do a lot (delete files, edit them, etc) with files in Drive.  If there's sensitive information in Drive, this add-on may not be for you.

Watch for more information about Google Slides.

Monday, October 29, 2018

USDLA Webinar Nov 8: Issues in Access and Accessibility for All in Digital Learning

Trish Trifio  (Wayland Baptist U, and TxDLA) and I will be doing this session as part of USDLA's recognition of National Distance Learning Week.  Thursday, November 8 3:30-4:30 Eastern
Accessibility by individuals with disabilities to digital materials is one of the major technology issues of our time. The growth of online learning, and the increased use of digital materials in blended and flipped classrooms in K-12 and higher education has created more accessibility issues. The U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights and the U.S. Department of Justice enforcement of accessibility issues has made explicit the actions academic institutions should be engaged in to ensure that all students have full access to learning.
This session will provide a brief overview of the topics presented in TxDLA’s Digital Accessibility Certification Program which positions participants to be on the leading edge of these concerns by providing them with an understanding of current legal enforcement actions, resolution agreements, consent decrees and Universal Design for Learning, while equipping them with practical skills in making digital content accessible.
The webinar is free.  Register here.

We intend this to be a very interactive session and will start by asking participants why they are in the session and what they want to take from it.

The full schedule can be found here.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Hearing Accessibility.

I have mentioned, in the past, that I follow a list which is predominantly game designers who care about accessibility issue.  There is frequently one post over the course of a week, but some are technical and others relate to specific events of the Game Accessibility SIG for the International Game Developers Association. 

Accessibility for online gamers can be challenging if the designers don't think about accessibility issues at all.  This video by Mark Brown is interesting because he illustrates the good and the problems, and has suggestions.  This video focuses on hearing accessibility, and he promises to produce more on other disability issues.

I found it helpful to get a better understanding of some of the issues people with hearing disabilities face.   It runs a bit over 12 minutes. 

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

What's been going on?

Yes, it has been a while since my last post.  Here in South Texas, we went through a hurricane and I had a visit to the hospital for some emergency back surgery. There were conferences ( ITEST PI & Evaluator Summit,, TxDLA) along the way.  I've just returned from a 5-week visit with the New Zealand grandkids.  So, now back to blogging.  This will be an attempt to catch up.


There' a requirement for all Texas state agencies and institutions of higher education to appoint an EIRAC  (Electronic Information Resources Accessibility Coordinator).  The state does not specify the position requirements but does require the Department of Information Resources be notified when the position is vacant or filed.  The Department of Information Resources does post examples of roles and responsibilities for EIRACs.

Dudley v Miami

I know I've talked about this before; the ruling and the Consent Decree University of Miami (Ohio) signed with the Department of Justice in settling this compliant.  There's some 40+ pages of what DoJ expected to be done at the institution level.  I mention it here because it's a nice guide for what might be expected from an EIRAC.


In case you've missed this case; Southern grocery chain Winn-Dixie's website was the subject of a complaint from a blind man.  Rather than settling out of court, they opted for a trial.  They lost.  
Experts believe it to be the first trial regarding a website’s accessibility under the ADA. Such lawsuits have become popular in recent years as the Department of Justice has delayed formal regulations.
Of course, there's an appeal, and we'll need to wait on that for a final decision, but this is truly the first case-law on the issue of website accessibility.  All the other organizations opted not to fight and entered consent decrees (like U of Miami).

How much does it cost to make a website accessible?  In the Winn-Dixie case:

The company has set aside $250,000 to update the site, though testimony during the trial indicated it will not cost nearly that much.
I love this because of an earlier post Will It Take Thousands of Dollars to Make Your Website Accessible?


I came across this resolution of a complaint on the OCR website.  

Specifically, the complaint alleged that certain of the District’s web pages are not accessible to students and adults with disabilities, including vision impairments. 

Since the district is my local district I was of course, interested.  I had not seen coverage of this by the local media, and checking with them, indicated they did not know.  I also checked with the principal of one of the district schools who was also unaware of the complaint.  

Unfortunately, the website only held the one document, and so I had to go to OCR with a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request.  It took about a month but did result in 15 pages of information.

I was not impressed with the OCR letter of finding or the school district response.  And at the time I put in the FOIA request the WAVE Accessibility Tool still reported more than a handful of errors on the district's main webpage.  There has been some action since.  Now there's only a single Empty Link reported.

The Complainant used website accessibility checkers Page 3 – Resolution Letter to Recipient, OCR Ref. 06-17-1280 (PowerMapper and WAVE) and reported to OCR that the District’s web pages identified above have accessibility issues for individuals with disabilities. She then provided OCR with a list of errors copied and pasted from the website accessibility checker that she used. 
I use WAVE.  It would appear to be that OCR accepts that as a valid evaluation tool.  The Resolution Agreement required the school district to hire an auditor to review the district website and help bring it into compliance.  The district selected SiteImporve out of Minneapolis. Their website main page has no errors. (of course, I had to check.) But the video about services had open captioning for some, but not all of the audio track.  

OCR Case Processing Manual Revised

Though the CCISD complaint happened before the revised OCR Case Processing Manual was released this March, it appears that the Dallas OCR office might have followed the new guidance.  They stuck close to the complainant's issues, and didn't look beyond that.  The district does not appear to clearly identify a Section 504 or ADA Coordinator, nor do they do the annual notification or have a compliant grievance process.