Tools and Technologies to Watch and Avoid

Ian is here to praise and to shame Web technologies. He begins with Ashley Highfield: definitely to be shamed, not praised. He just didn’t get the participation culture.

We need to stop talking about just providing content. Accessibility is not a one-way street. Content will get re-used and remixed. Those possibilities should be there for everyone.

Question for the audience: who considers themselves to be not disabled? Hands go up. Ian asks one of those people to read what’s written on a bottle on the stage. The person can’t read it. We all have differing levels of ability.

We can’t design for everyone—just live with it. The unpredictability of the Web is there by design.

Another show of hands: who knows Quechup? I put my hand up. They are infamous for pulling a Plaxo: spamming your address book.

Ooh, I think Ian is leading up to password anti-pattern. He’s talking about phishing. We can judge the trustworthiness of a site partly on how dodgy or professional it looks. How does a screen reader user judge whether or not they might be being phished. OpenID is great but the redirection is a problem for assistive technology and for most phones.

Back to the friends list importing issues. Ian is showing the Dopplr example. Moving on from social network portability, what about data portability? Some photo sites make it hard to get your data out, some make it very easy.

Licenses are a stumbling block. They are rarely written in plain English. How many people know that Facebook owns everything you post there? In contrast, Creative Commons provide short, long and machine-readable versions of their licenses. Also, the iconography of the symbols helps (semiotics again).

Flash video is problematic for editing. Some sites allow you to caption Flash video but the captions only exist within the Flash silo (sounds like a specific implementation rather than a fundamental problem with the technology to me).

Now Ian is showing Natalie’s geek venues site to demonstrate how Google Maps allows you to export location data.

Adobe AIR. It’s 1997 all over again. Right now there isn’t much accessibility in there. Yes, it’s in beta but accessibility should not be an afterthought.

Joost, by contrast, uses SVG, JavaScript and XUL to make something that most people assume is Flash at first glance. It works like Flash but the data is more accessible and exportable.

Ian has a lot more to show us (he has 80 slides in total!) but his time is up so he’s being kicked off stage to make way for the closing panel. But there’s time for one quick question. Christian asks what would be the open-source equivalent of AIR? XUL says Ian. Christian says that AIR is built on HTML, CSS and JavaScript so once the player gets keyboard access it will be quite accessible. Ian responds that he looked on the Adobe site for accessibility info on AIR and the fact that he found nothing scared him. Niqui says that Silverlight — Microsoft’s non-competitor to Flash that looks a lot like it’s competing with Flash — is the same: it’s at version 1.0 and accessibility is still not on the table.

Have you published a response to this? :