2018 06 Accessibility

Location:  First United Church, 16 William St W, Waterloo, ON N2L 1J3 (enter from church back parking lot door, follow the signs to the “Chapel” —  https://osm.org/go/ZXna93PBA)

Date: Monday, June 11, 2018
Time: 7:00-9:00PM

Is your Non-Profit organization accessible? Can your website contents be read by a text-to-speech synthesizer? By a Braille reader? With a screen magnifier? Without Javascript? In a text-only browser? Does it pass the WAVE Web Accessibility Tool validator? Does your podcast have a text transcription? Is your video described? What other accessibility tools does a SysAdmin need to manage? What legal requirements for accessibility are there?

Join other Kitchener-Waterloo Non-Profit System Administrators for examples, demonstrations and our usual round-table discussion, and perhaps a guest presentation! Everyone is welcome, you don’t have to be a Non-Profit System Administrator to attend.

–Bob Jonkman & Marc Paré


Meeting Notes

  • Everyone introduced themselves
    • Marc Paré says LibreOffice group is happening; there is money to hold a hackfest
    • Also planning a campaign for LibreOffice, not much awareness in North America
    • LO has maybe 160 million users
  • Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act
  • 2/3 way into the mandate
    • But not even 1/3 of the way there
    • McGuinty govt in 1999 claimed that we would be fully accessible by 2025
    • But not enough attention or funding supplied
    • Only recourse is Human Rights claims
  • Applies to
    • Customer service (people providing cust serv must have dignity, independence, integration, &c.)
    • Information and Communications (eg. web sites)
    • Transportation (eg. transit)
      • TTC is under fire for transgressions
  • Many accessibility features are put in place that don’t provide accessibility (eg. new door requires automatic opener, but still has a step up and no ramp)
  • These are “minimum” standards,
    • eg. Elections Ontario required polling stations to exceed minimum standards, recognizing that the standards aren’t adequate
    • Will these standards improve by 2025, or will these inadequacies continue to exist.
  • The initial AODA standards were applied to government regulated organizations
    • eg. banks were amongst the first employers to apply accessibility standards
    • But the problem is that disabilities were self-declared, and so
    • Some disabilities do not require accommodation, so some people may have been hired in preference to some people that did require accommodation (cheaper to provide minimal accommodation). But the stats show that an equal number of people with disabilities were accommodated, no matter how slight or severe.
  • “People aren’t against being accessible, they’re against the cost of being accessible.”
  • eg. accessible restaurant with accessible washroom, but no way to get from restaurant to washroom.
    • Some buildings cannot be modified to have elevators
    • Buildings with historical or heritage designation are exempt
  • Some standards apply to the customers of the establishment, not the employees or employers (might be individual accommodation for employee)
    • this is why internal websites don’t have to be accessible
  • Government should be giving us tools to test websites
    • There are 109 tools listed on https://www.w3.org/WAI/ER/tools/
    • It should be easier to make an accessible website without Javascript
      • But it is possible to make an entirely inaccessible website without Javascript
  • Javascript reduces the load on the server, by performing data validation on entry, rather than on submission
    • Javascript is an opensource library
      • But there are many proprietary libraries that aren’t accessible, and many opensource libraries that are modified making them inaccessible
    • How many coders can be hired to write accessible code? Cheaper to use a Javascript library than hire coders or buy servers
  • A website has four layers of functionality, the first needs to be present before the second, &c.
    • Content, semantics, layout & presentation, behaviour
    • Javascript implements website behaviour, but sometimes is used to generate content (making the page inaccessible)
  • Javascript makes response faster, but sometimes inaccessible
    • People don’t want to wait for form completion (eg. loan approvals), or error responses
    • Complex websites can have many different parts,
    • The counterpart, many websites load so many libraries that it takes too long to load.
      • “Lazy loading” makes content available only when the page scrolls there
        • eg. the new CBC website (unusable on older browsers or slower computers)
  • LibreOffice has very few accessibility programmers, nobody wants to work on accessiblity issues
    • So can LO be used in an environment where accessibility is required?
  • The Assistive Devices Program only allows refresh of assistive devices once every five years
    • 5 year old technology doesn’t work with slick, dynamic websites
    • Only covers 75% of the cost for the minimum device, anything fancier than minimum needs to be fully paid for
  • Is there funding to become compliant with AODA? Needs to be done within 7 years (2025)
    • Some funding for private homes (but only the front door, even if the side door is more practical)
    • Don’t know if funding is available for technology
  • People who need accommodation tend to be lower income, and the good jobs are not available to those who need more accommodation than others.
  • Worried about the new provincial government; will the dream of a fully accessible Ontario be realized by 2025? Probably not.
  • Are there fines? Only through human rights complaints. There is no “accessibility police” to quickly levy a fine.
    • Human Rights can require compliance, but there may not be much adherence.
    • At the start (2000?) there were ethical organizations that made themselves compliant; now, not so much.
    • Some organizations/businesses rent their facilities, so who is responsible for accessibility? Owner or renter?
  • Wheelchair users and Self-serve gas stations: AODA compliance says you can call 24hrs in advance to have someone pump your gas.
    • That may be compliant, but it’s not practical
  • For tech sites, will it be like GDPR? (General Data Protection Regulation (European Union))
    • Will sites go out of business rather than become compliant with AODA?
    • Will all sites have a popup disclaimer saying they’re compliant?
    • How about other international sites? Maybe having international laws will force Ontario to be accessible faster than the AODA
    • There needs to be some international framework to standardize
      • AODA may have come from a UN standard
    • British Columbia is far more accessible (through advocacy from Rick Hansen)
  • As people age into disability, there will be more pressure to achieve accessibility
  • The pressure right now is to make services cheap;
    • Pressure to get products out before the competition means that accessibility corners are cut, possibly in violation of standards and laws
  • Universal design principles
    • Visitability for physical access isn’t enough, but it’s a step in the right direction.
    • There is a market for accessible homes, higher resale value for accessible homes
    • But there is no resale market for digital properties
      • But there is value in EPUB books, because the standards allow portability and derivative works; more likely to be useful in future version of the text
      • Sometimes there is just convenience in adding some accessibility, but accessibility is not an end goal
Sample sites
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