Web Accessibility Suits & Settlements in 2018

Maxability is bringing together the web accessibility suits and settlements since 2014. 5th year in a row, this article highlights some web accessibility suits and settlements in 2018.

Plaintiffs filed 4965 federal ADA Title III lawsuits in first 6 months of 2018. Among this large numbers are web accessibility suits and settlements. If the trend continues, it is expected to reach 10,000 cases with an approximate increase of 30% from 2017 according to  ADAtitleIII.com

The major web accessibility suits are reported on

  • clothing and apparel stores
  • telecommunications companies
  • restaurants
  • consumer goods
  • e-commerce stores

Web Accessibility suits and settlements in 2018

All the links below navigate to external websites.

Related links

Below are the links from past year on web Accessibility suits.

Webinar January 2019 -Web Accessibility Testing With screen Readers

We are excited to have our first webinar in 2019. The webinar is on “Web accessibility Testing With screen reader” scheduled on 22nd January, 2019. Thank you for supporting us and taking part in our last 2 webinars.

For this webinar we have Alan Smith, Web Accessibility Expert from Humana. Know more about Alan in the about the speaker section below and when you join the webinar.

Webinar Topic

Web accessibility testing with NVDA screen reader
Alan's picture in orange shirt

About the speaker Alan Smith

  • Over 25 years of software testing and management experience and 5 years in the field of accessibility.
  • Work full-time for Humana and part-time for Criterion 508 as an Accessibility Lead
  • World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Invited Expert Taskforce member for Mobile, Low- Vision and Conformance Testing of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) Working Group
  • Contributor to WCAG’s Mobile Accessibility: How WCAG 2.0 and Other W3C/WAI Guidelines Apply to Mobile located at: http://w3c.github.io/Mobile-A11y-TF-Note/
  • Recently hired by the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC) as an adjunct professor to do formal curriculum development and teaching on accessibility and help build their accessibility program
  • My relationship with UNCC started by my personally initiated outreach to the community through guest lecturing web and mobile accessibility sessions at the university for graduate and under-graduate classes
  • Created several online training courses covering WCAG 2.0 Testing and Repair Techniques, Accessibility for Designers and Using JAWS for Testing.

Connect with alan on linkedin.

Key take-aways from the webinar

  1. Learn how simple it is to use the screen reader
  2. Learn the few commands that you need to know
  3. Learn some simple settings for better usage
  4. Learn how to share what the screen reader announces

 

Webinar date and time

On January 22nd 2019. Between

  • 9: 00 PM and 10 : 00 PM IST
  • 10 : 30 Am and 11 : 30 aM ET
  • 7 : 30 AM and 8 : 30aM PT

Web Accessibility and autism

 

 

Autism is mainly a spectrum of neurodevelopmental disorders. So, autism is also referred as autism spectrum disorder  (ASD). The conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication are commonly observed in people with autism.

 

Some Statistics of autism

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 59 or 1.7% children has autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This is a 2014 data collected in some parts of United States. The data was much higher than the earlier statistics. The data also reveals that male children are reported much higher than female children. The male to female ratio who have ASD is 4: 1. This is definitely an alarming concern for the world.

 

ASD is found regardless of raise, culture or economic background and of course everywhere in the world.

Symptoms of autism

Though the symptoms of ASD typically found between 12 to 24 months, they may be even earlier or later.

The two main categories of symptoms defined by DSM-5 are

  1. problems with communication and social interaction,
  2. restricted or repetitive patterns of behavior or activities.

 

Problems with communication and social interaction include:

  • issues with communication, including difficulties sharing emotions, sharing interests, or maintaining a back-and-forth conversation
  • issues with nonverbal communication, such as trouble maintaining eye contact or reading body language
  • difficulties developing and maintaining relationships

 

Restricted or repetitive patterns of behavior or activities include:

  • repetitive movements, motions, or speech patterns
  • rigid adherence to specific routines or behaviors
  • an increase or decrease in sensitivity to specific sensory information from their surroundings, such as a negative reaction to a specific sound
  • fixated interests or preoccupations

 

Web Accessibility for Autism Spectrum

 

Web is for all, people experiencing autism are part of this user base. How can you make sure that your digital content can be made comfortable for these set of users? The digital content here refers to websites, software and mobile apps.

The world Wide Web Consortium’s, WCAG Guidelines are the superset rules that try to ensure the web content is accessible to everyone regardless of their disabilities. Below are some guidelines from this  WCAG checklist  that meets the needs of people with autism.

 

  • Provide content that is not prone to have seizures.
  • Screens or pages should be consistently identified and have a consistent navigation mechanism.
  • Content should be substituted with pictures for easy understanding.
  • Do not use ambiguous terms or words that have more than one meanings.
  • Use simple and easily understandable sentences.
  • Screens should not be cluttered and busy. The busy and cluttered designs will be over whelming to users with autism.
  • Clearly differentiate the links and the text on the page. Users should not be guessing for the links.
  • Be careful with moving, blinking, scrolling and auto-updating content. There should be a mechanism to control them.
  • Provide clear labels and instructions while filling the forms.
  • Having features such as autofill , auto complete etc. helps while filling forms.

Related Links

aria-rowspan property

aria-rowspan property defines the number of rows a cell spanned within a table, grid or a treegrid. Use host attribute equivalent if available. If both the host language equivalent and aria-rowspan property are defined user agents have to pick the value expressed through the host language attribute and expose it to assistive technologies.

Content authors must set the value of aria-rowspan greater than or equal to 1 and less than or equal to total number of rows of the table. The exact value should be the number of rows the cell is spanned.

Aria-rowspan property used in roles

Values of aria-rowspan property

The value of aria-rowspan property should be an integer greater than or equal to 1 and less than or equal to total number of rows in the table, grid or treegrid. In other words the value should be equal to the total number of cells the author want to span.

Related Links

 

1.4.10 Reflow

Content can be presented without loss of information or functionality, and without requiring scrolling in two dimensions for:

  • Vertical scrolling content at a width equivalent to 320 CSS pixels;
  • Horizontal scrolling content at a height equivalent to 256 CSS pixels.

Except for parts of the content which require two-dimensional layout for usage or meaning.

Description

People with low vision typically enlarge the text to read the content on the screen. With a 100% scaled width to the content is usually displayed in 2 or 3 columns. When the user uses the browser zoom functionality to enlarge the text, the content reflows and is displayed in a single column. When the content reflows, users  will have difficulty to scroll both horizontally and vertically.

Allowing to scroll the page only in one direction even when browser zoom is set to 400%  will be helpful for low vision users. This success criteria 1.4.10 reflow exactly recommends it. Enlarging the text will allow the low vision users to clearly look at each character and reflow is useful to track the content they are reading. It will be often difficult for low vision users to get to the exact next line after reading through the end of previous line. With reflow enabled tracking becomes easy.

Responsive web design is similar to supporting reflow. The idea is to fit the content within the boundaries even when the user zoom to 400%. Allow the user to read the content scrolling only in one direction. The spacing and the placement of the elements  may be changed but the content or functionality must not be lost.

This is similar to a responsive design. When an URL is viewed on a desktop it may display all the navigation items but the same URL when viewed on a tab it may show the navigation items as accordion and on a mobile it may display as a hamburger menu.

 

Exceptions to 1.4.10 reflow

Few content elements loose the meaning when viewed only in one direction. Such situations and elements are exempted from this success criteria. Examples of content which require two-dimensional layout are images, maps, diagrams, video, games, presentations, data tables, and interfaces where it is necessary to keep toolbars in view while manipulating content

 

Who benefits with 1.4.10 Reflow

Users with low vision benefit with content reflow.

Points to remember

  1. One direction scrolling does not always mean vertical scrolling. The content with language written vertically on the screen requires horizontal scrolling when the content reflows.
  2. The maximum zoom level to check for reflow in this success criteria is 400%.
  3. When user zooms up to 400% content should demand user to scroll only in one direction. The content should not be hidden or overlapped, functionality and elements on the page should not be missed.

More Information

320 CSS pixels is equivalent to a starting viewport width of 1280 CSS pixels wide at 400% zoom. For web content which are designed to scroll horizontally (e.g. with vertical text), the 256 CSS pixels is equivalent to a starting viewport height of 1024px at 400% zoom.

Related links

How To Make Live Chat Accessible

Live Chat is the buzz word in the modern communication system. It may be a  retail business that want to reach their customers or government department that want to solve its citizens problems. Any business or an organization that reaches the customers through phone and email goes a step further. The live chat is an instant and more convenient way to answer the customer queries.

The modern live chat services are not only the instant chatting systems but can also be majorly automated using predetermining the content + machine learning + artificial Intelligence. The human intervention can be largely minimized.

The wide platforms these live chats can be deployed is another opportunity to reach as many customers as possible. Apart from websites and mobile apps, the live chat data can also deployed on applications such as Google assistant, facebook messenger etc  . While the businesses consider reaching wider customers, it is also important to meet the customer’s requirements in using the live chat.

In this article we want to highlight the needs of commonly ignored customer base i.e. customers with disabilities. In other words, this article will highlight the best practices to make a live chat accessible to keyboard only, screen reader, low vision and various other users with disabilities.

Best practices to make a live chat accessible

Though not exhaustive list but here are few best practices to make a live chat accessible.

Choosing the platform

The high-level objective is to allow the content authors to customize the UI. Not all platforms allow to make customizing the UI of the chat widget. In case the platform supplied UI is not accessible, content authors should be able to tweak the code. May it be adding a proper heading structure or labeling the buttons. So, ensure that the platform you choose for the live chat allows the content developers to make relevant accessibility changes in the user-interphase.

Keyboard access

All the user interphase elements must be keyboard accessible. Users who depend only with a keyboard must be able to move between all actionable elements. These include the UI elements on the widget as well as the buttons or links that are part of the conversation. An automated chat bot may ask the user

“Bot says The next flight to LA from SFO is in an hour, do you want to know the details?


In the above message Yes and No are buttons and user should be able to move focus to those buttons with the keyboard and access them.

The other UI elements on the live chat widget may include “Send button”, email transcript, upload/ share, emojis etc.  Of course   the message text box also need to be operable with keyboard alone.

Proper labels

Users with assistive technologies such as screen readers need proper labels for all user-interface elements. If the platform does not provide accessible labels or labels themselves, content authors should provide them. The labels for the buttons convey the action associated with them. Having visible labels are useful for everyone, however if the usage of the element is conveyed in any other visual means to a sighted user, aria-label can be served as a substitute.

Proper labels or alternate text is required for other  features such as emoticons. The images shared by the bots also need proper alternate text. Providing a provision to add captions to the documents, images or videos uploaded by the user will be an added advantage.

Navigation

Majorly the user interacts in the chat history pane and the message text box. A screen reader user should be given an opportunity to switch between these two panes easily and quickly. It can be a simple tab and shift+  tab or by using access keys. Few chat bot developers also provide access keys to read recent messages for a screen reader user. Providing such access keys may not be harm or may not add much value as user should remember few more commands but can read the recent messages as many times as he need without navigating away from the message text box.

Screen reader users must be able to navigate as they need in the history pane. The text navigation commands such as left arrow, right arrow, control left arrow, control right arrow, up arrow, down arrow etc should work as usual in the history pane.

Reading the alerts and recent messages

Many dynamic changes happen from the time user initiates the live chat until the conversations is end. If the human agent is responding from the other side, user may have to wait in the queue for the agent. The  status of the queue will be dynamic, the agent may be typing or may stop typing, user would have received a message from the agent or automated bot. All these are the dynamic messages that are displayed on the screen. No matter where the screen reader users current focus is these dynamic changes and updates need to be informed to the user. Some of these changes may also be only visual changes but convey important information to the user.

Aria-live property can be added to the dynamic updates for the user to understand the changes in the live chat. The specific aria-live properties such as aria-live=”assertive” or aria-live=”polite” can specifically address many of these problems. The aria-label property can address labeling the visual changes that happen on the screen and convey the message to the user at the right time with aria-live.

Other considerations

  • Usually the agent name or the word bot will be appended before the message from the agent side and user name will be appended for the message from the user side separating with a : (Collen). It can be made more conversational with the words Agent name says, user name says (replace agent name and user name with the actual names).
  • Allow the user to switch off the time stamp. Many times the time stamp is not much important in the conversation but it adds lot of verbiage disturbance when the screen reader reads each message. If the user be able to switch off the time stamp , users who are not comfortable with that verbiage can benefit.
  • Visually differentiating the normal text and buttons  or links in the chat history. In modern chat bots agents or users can share links or the bot can do a conversation with simple questions such as yes , no. These actionable elements should be easily differentiated with its surrounding text in addition to the keyboard access to them.
  • Adhere all other applicable W3C WCAG  guidelines and chat bot best practices.

JAWS 2019 Download and What’s New

JAWS, Job Access With Speech is the popular and commercial screen reading software for Windows Operating System. JAWS being the old and reliable screen reader, it is preferred choice for many end users and also used for accessibility testing by many organizations. JAWS is a Freedom Scientific product.

JAWS 2019

JAWS 2019 is released in October 2018. Here are few new features in this release.

  • JAWS 2019 now collect anonymous usage information. Users can accept or deny the collection of such information used by Freedom scientific to enhance the user experience. Users can switch this on or off anytime from Setting center> Default settings > Miscellaneous> Submit Anonymous Usage Data.
  • The multiline edit field can now be announced in JAWS 2019. Enable it from Miscellaneous group under Setting Center.
  • Audio ducking is now available for Windows 10 spring 2018 creators update. This is not enabled by default. Enable it from  Speech settings page under Setting center.
  • JAWS 2019 now have improved support in Office 365 applications.
  • Here is the complete list of updates.

JAWS 2019 Download

From JAWS download page, you can download the latest version. The free version runs for 40 minutes and the computer need to be restarted to use it again. If you have purchased JAWS after September 2018, you will be eligible to receive JAWS 2019. Please contact Freedom Scientific to know how to upgrade your license.

What is FS Cast

Freedom scientific publishes a pod cast called the FS Caste every month. Download and listen. FS Cast 158 to know more information on JAWS 2019.

Remember all the JAWS licenses are for accessibility testing or commercial use. Look at the licenses page to find the right one for you.

 

Related Links

International Day of Persons with Disabilities, December 3rd 2018 (IDPD-2018)

Empowering persons with disabilities and ensuring inclusiveness and equality

Is the theme for IDPD-2018.

 

The annual observance of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly resolution 47/3 in 1992. It aims to promote the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities in all spheres of society and development, and to increase awareness of on the situation of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life. Further, India signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and subsequently ratified the same on 1st October, 2007. The Convention came into effect on 3rd May 2008.  Being a signatory to the Convention, India has an international obligation to comply with the provisions of the Convention.

Read more about IDPD-2017, IDPD-2014 and IDPD-2013 on Maxability.

What can we do?

Organizations such as United Nations and various countries in the world are putting lot of efforts in safeguarding the rights and respect of persons with disabilities. These efforts are not sufficient to see an inclusive society. Each one of us have shared responsibility in ensuring that we treat every person equally no matter what their abilities or disabilities are. We tried to contribute in the little way we could.

On this International Day Of Persons With Disabilities IDPD-2018, let us

  • Understand problems of persons with disabilities and how can we help overcome them.
  • Pledge to add captions for the pictures we share on Facebook, Twitter  and Whatsapp.
  • Quickly check the accessibility problems on websites and inform the developers.
  • Spend an hour with your computer without using a mouse doing the daily tasks.

On behalf of Maxability we are committed to increase the awareness on digital equality and disability. Check your knowledge on disability with this quick quiz,  sensitization on disability and accessibility.

We will be releasing a sensitization training module on this International Day Of Persons With Disabilities (IDPD-2018) and will provide one year free subscription. Reach-out to us if you wish to get this free subscription from the contact page. Select “Training needs” from the enquiry type.

Let us all together make this world a better place to live. Share your experiences in the comments section below, they help many others to get inspired.

Resources

For International Day Of Persons With Disabilities IDPD-2018,

Rakesh Paladugula

Maxability – Towards an Inclusive Web.

aria-rowindex Property

aria-rowindex property is used on a table, grid or a treegrid where all the rows are currently not present. aria-rowindex property notifies the index or position of the row in a table or grid or a treegrid with respect to the number of rows available. User agents can calculate the index of the row if all the rows of the table or grid are available, so aria-rowindex property is not required in those cases.

The value of aria-rowindex property must be greater than or equal to one, greater than the value of previous rowindex in the same row and less than or equal to total number of rows in the table. For a cell or gridcell that spans more than one row set aria-rowindex property at the beginning of the cell. If the set of rows which is present in the DOM is contiguous, and if there are no cells which span more than one row or row in that set, then authors may place aria-rowindex on each row, setting the value to the index of the first row of the set.

aria-rowindex property used in roles

Values of aria-rowindex property

The value of aria-rowindex property must be greater than or equal to one, greater than the value of previous rowindex in the same row and less than or equal to total number of rows in the table.

 

Related Links

1.3.5 Identify Input Purpose

The purpose of each input field collecting information about the user can be programmatically determined when:

  • The input field serves a purpose identified in the Input Purposes for User Interface Components section; and
  • The content is implemented using technologies with support for identifying the expected meaning for form input data. (Level AA)

Description

 

While labels or instructions provide clear information on the data that is expected by the user, programmatically providing a way to suggest the type of data expected in the form field may be useful for many users. The success criteria 1.3.5 identify input purpose even try to give some guidance on personalizing the data input.

For example, type=”tel” simply says that the user is expected to enter the phone number but this success criteria gives an opportunity to define if the telephone number to be entered is your telephone or some other persons.

While the type attribute defines the kind of data to be provided, attributes such as HTML5 autocomplete, autofill allows the user programmatically identify the data to be provided.

These properties also allow the assistive technologies to provide additional queues when the user have to enter a particular data. For example, a birthday cake adjacent to the date field represent a birthday field. This can be more appropriate when the HTML5 autocomplete attribute is set to birthday.

 

To ensure that this success criteria, ensure that an autocomplete attribute is specified wherever appropriate and have a value that represents the label. For example for a input text field with a label First Name can have an autocomplete value of given name. This value is independent of language of the page or label and can be understood by most users, user agents and assistive technologies.

 

Who benefits with 1.3.5 Identify input purpose

Many user groups benefits with this success criteria.

  • People with dexterity benefit with the selection of auto-filled values in the input field as it will be difficult for them to type.
  • People with language or memory difficulties benefit with the auto-filled values as they no need to remember the values such as complete address, zip code etc.
  • People with cerebral palsy, stroke, head injury, motor neuron disease or learning disability benefit if the assistive technologies or browser addons can provide icons along with the labels for the input fields.

Related Links

HTML5 Autocomplete