[Athen] Just spent three lonely days in the brown LA haze...

Wink Harner wink.harner at mcmail.maricopa.edu
Wed Mar 19 22:56:05 PDT 2008

That was a positively brilliant, inspirational & thoughtful reflection, Sean!
I applaud you. We all should go to workshops & conferences with this in mind:
to reflect on what was good, innovative, inspirational, and problem-solving
about our experiences in the workshops as well as on what could be changed
or added to improve. Even your few criticisms were really said as good suggestions
--not as criticism. We also should share with each other these reflections
just as you did. This is the follow up to learning--like clinching the deal!

I have a question for you, if you don't mind. I had an opportunity last fall
to present some research to our VPs & IT dept. about I-TUNES U. Our IT dept.
is so enamored of it and is promoting its use college-wide without any consideration
about its inherent inaccessibility. My suggestions, recommendations and research
on OCR complaints were all completely discounted. Poo-poo'ed, in fact. I,
however discouraged I was last fall, am NOT GIVING UP!! A positively brilliant
opportunity has presented itself --a real "teaching moment." Our Center for
Teaching & Learning is offering an all-day technology in the classroom workshop
mid-May, and one of the topics is I-TUNES U. How convenient!! I would like
to do an hour-long workshop presentation and show how inaccessible this is
out of the box and what it takes to MAKE it accessible. Have you or do you
know anyone who might have done a presentation on I-TUNES demonstrating how
it works (or not) and who might be willing to share some of the presentation
materials with me? It would be such a help to me to have a bit of supporting
materials to start. One of my thoughts is to video a couple of students trying
to access captioning and screen readers, do something with showing the steps
necessary to imbed captions for the Deaf & HoH + tags/descriptions for the
VI. I am not being lazy --really! I was hoping not to have to completely
reinvent the wheel.

Anything you might be able to suggest or anyone to whom you might direct
my request would be very much appreciated.

It was really nice to see you again at CSUN. I have very much appreciated
your knowledge & expertise through your posts on ATHEN & look forward to
more from you in the future. You are a good teacher.

Thanks in advance,


>-- Original Message --

>From: "Sean Keegan" <skeegan at htctu.net>

>To: "'Alternate Media'" <altmedia at htclistserv.htctu.fhda.edu>,

> "'Designing Accessible Web Pages'" <webaccess at htclistserv.htctu.fhda.edu>,


> "'Access Technologists in Higher Education Network'" <athen at athenpro.org>

>Date: Wed, 19 Mar 2008 13:21:03 -0700

>Subject: [Athen] Just spent three lonely days in the brown LA haze...

>Reply-To: skeegan at htctu.net, Access Technologists in Higher Education Network

> <athen at athenpro.org>



>Well, okay, perhaps it was not exactly *lonely* at CSUN but I wasn't sure

>how else to get a Jimmy Buffett line into this thread.


>Yes, this past week was the CSU Northridge Conference and it was busy.


>year the conference was at the Marriott and Renaissance hotels and, to me,

>it seemed a bit smaller than in the past. Presentations were good with


>few highlights. I made myself suffer through several that seemed more

>intent on the marketing angle as opposed to demonstrating new or innovative

>technologies for individuals with disabilities.


>Note to presenters - you can only use phrases like "empower users" or

>"paradigm change" so many times before we stop listening. Please - have

>mercy on us listening.


>A few presentations and technologies that were noteworthy:


>Dojo - An accessible Javascript toolkit

>This was a great presentation that focused on how to improve the

>accessibility of new Web technologies relying on javascript (I am not going

>to say "Web 2.0 technologies" no matter how much brainwashing is involved).

>Dojo is an open-source toolkit written in Javascript that allows developers

>to create rich Internet applications that emulate a desktop application,


>reside in a Web browser. One example would be something like the Yahoo!

>Mail interface that is very similar to MS Outlook (i.e., tree menu systems,

>different viewing panes, etc.) but would provide support for assistive

>technologies. Dojo is supporting access by following many of the guidelines

>developed by the Web Accessibility Initiatives - Accessible Rich Internet

>Applications (WAI-ARIA) working group (http://www.w3.org/WAI/intro/aria).

>Right now, support is limited to Firefox and the recent version of

>Window-Eyes, but more support will be coming in Firefox 3, Internet Explorer

>8, Opera, and other screen-readers. More on Dojo and accessibility is

>available at http://tinyurl.com/yvbcm4 .



>Refreshing the Section 255 and 508 Accessibility Regulations

>This session reviewed where the TEITAC group (Telecommunications, Electronic

>and Information Technology Advisory Committee) was in the refresh of the

>Section 508 Standards and Section 255 Regulations. The short version of


>session was the TEITAC group would be passing along their recommendations


>the Access Board on April 3. You can see the current working draft of the

>recommendations at http://teitac.org/wiki/EWG:Draft_Jan_7 . Basically,


>TEITAC group has worked to "harmonize" the various accessibility criteria

>with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 draft (WCAG 2.0).



>Net-Centric's PDF Accessibility Wizard (PAW) and CommonLook Plug-in to Adobe


>Net-Centric is a Canadian company that has two tools to address PDF

>accessibility. The PAW tool (http://www.net-centric.com/products/paw.aspx)

>integrates into MS Word and provides a wizard interface that checks the


>Word document for accessibility issues. Some of the features were not quite

>working yet, but for the most part it looks like a useful tool. One thing

>that was very useful was that you could create tagged-PDF documents without

>having to install Adobe Acrobat. Tagged PDF files are a necessary step


>ensuring accessible PDF versions. It was also easy to markup data tables

>for accessibility in MS Word, which has limitations as to what header types

>are supported. I will be taking a look at the beta in the next few weeks


>see what actually is being implemented in the application.


>The other tool, the CommonLook Plug-In to Adobe Acrobat

>(http://www.net-centric.com/products/cl_s508_adobe.aspx) does make it easier

>to remediate PDF documents for accessibility in some circumstances. If


>are dealing with documents that have not had accessibility addressed during

>the authoring stage (e.g., in MS Word) or are dealing with documents that

>have a lot of complex data tables and a rich visual layout, then this tool

>will make it easier to include accessibility into the PDF. The Net-Centric

>representatives did mention that they have made some changes to the

>application since I last used it, so I am going to take another look at


>application in the coming weeks. For simple PDF documents, based on what


>saw at CSUN, I think this tool is overkill and believe that improving PDF

>accessibility can be met by altering the document creation workflow - in

>other words, build accessibility into the authoring process. There is not

>much one has to do and it is far easier to address accessibility issues

>early in document creation than to try and fix a PDF later on in the

>process. For complex PDF documents, PDF documents with a rich visual

>layout, PDF documents that were created by tools that do not support

>accessibility (e.g., Quark), I think this tool could be useful and provide




>Net-Centric has a number of Webinars that are conducted on a semi-regular

>weekly basis. You can visit their Webinar site at

>http://www.net-centric.com/customers/webinar_reg.aspx to see when the next

>session is being conducted.



>Math Accessibility at the Post-Secondary Level

>This was a presentation by Steve Noble from Design Science and focused on

>some of the progress that Design Science (http://www.dessci.com) has made

>with respect to improving math accessibility. Most of the discussion was


>the support for MathML in a HTML/XHTML environment as well as some examples

>of MathML "in the wild" (e.g., ATPC's activities with MathML production,

>Rice University's Connexions - www.cnx.org - and others). A beta version


>the new MathPlayer plug-in was also demonstrated, showing how a user can

>customize the speech for different math equations. Also in development


>the ability to use MathType and MS Word to create equations and then convert

>to Nemeth through Duxbury - no intermediate steps necessary. More

>information should be coming "soon".



>Web 2.0 and Future Accessibility Development in the Opera Browser

>I have always thought of Opera as this cool Web browser that always did


>than the others (e.g., first with tabbed browsing, voice control, aural


>support, etc). I even bought a Nintendo DS Lite with the Opera browser



>could check e-mail when I was traveling in Europe (ahem,...and maybe to


>a few games). That being said, there have been serious accessibility issues

>with respect to screen-reader support. The good news is that the new Opera

>9.5 Beta has improved support for screen-reader support and has been working

>with GW Micro (Window-Eyes) and Dolphin (Supernova) to improve access.


>you are feeling a bit gutsy and are willing to get your hands dirty with


>Beta version, visit http://www.opera.com/products/desktop/next/ .

>Otherwise, stay tuned for more information about when the new version of

>Opera is released as I think it will provide some useful features.



>Those were some of the more memorable sessions at CSUN 2008. It will be

>nice to see what actually materializes in the coming weeks and months

>regarding all this new technology (e.g., where are all those flying cars?),

>but I am optimistic that there will be some new tools that will provide



>Take care,



>Sean Keegan

>Web Accessibility Instructor

>High Tech Center Training Unit of the California Community Colleges


















>Sean Keegan

>Web Accessibility Instructor

>High Tech Center Training Unit of the California Community Colleges





>Athen mailing list

>Athen at athenpro.org


Ms. Wink Harner
Disability Resources & Services
Mesa Community College
Mesa AZ


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