11.12.10 // GOLD

Goldrausch in Berlin für die Finalisten der BIENE 2010. Insgesamt sechs Mal vergab die Jury diese Auszeichnung in Gold für die besten barrierefreien Webseiten. Unter den vielen Gewinnern ragten vor allem die Angebote von Deutschlandradio Wissen, SOS-Kinderdorf und der Stiftung Lebenshilfe Duisburg heraus. Weitere goldene BIENEN gingen an den Labbé Onlineshop, das Webportal »einfach teilhaben« des Bundesministeriums für Arbeit und Soziales sowie an die Jobbörse der Bundesagentur für Arbeit.

Quelle: Einfach für Alle

Danke an die Jury und die Mitwirkenden des BPSE.

06.12.10 // Essener Bienenstock fährt nach Berlin

Seit meinem Umzug nach Essen engagiere ich mich im Rahmen des BPSE (Best Practices Stammtisch Essen) für eine Community, die Wert auf Best Practices wie Webstandards, Barrierefreiheit, Design und Usability legt. Zusammen fahren wir nun zur BIENE-Preisverleihung. Die Biene ist ein Preis für barrierefreie Internetseiten, der von der Aktion Mensch vergeben wird.

Mit dem Stammtisch haben wir es geschafft in wenigen Wochen ein Projekt für die BIENE reif zu machen, uns auszutauschen über Barrierefreiheit im Frontend, im Backend, die Richtlinien für Barrierefreie Webinhalte 2.0 (WCAG 2.0) durchzugehen und zu diskutieren. Wir haben alle viel bei diesem Projekt, der Webseite für die Stiftung Lebenshilfe Duisburg, gelernt und es ist wunderbar zu sehen, dass dieser Einsatz belohnt wird:
Wir sind in der Kategorie „Organisationen“ nominiert.

Wir danken dem fachlichen Beirat der BIENE und allen Testern, denen unsere Arbeit gefallen hat. Nun liegt das Schicksal in den Händen der Jury. Wir hoffen auf ihre Gnade :-)

10.11.10 // Thank you Amsterdam, Danke Wien

In den letzten vier Wochen durfte ich gleich 2 Vorträge auf internationalem Parkett halten. Zuerst hielt ich beim Fronteers Jam am Vorabend der exzellenten Fronteers 2010-Konfernz hielt ich (auf englisch) den Vortrag „Principles of Accessible Web Design“:

Fronteers Jam Session: Principles of Accessible Web Design

Am vergangenen Freitag habe ich zudem einen Vortrag beim A-Tag in Wien gehalten. Es war schön mal wieder in diese Stadt zurück zu kommen in der ich so lange gelebt habe. Sandra hat Fotos unserer Reise bei Flickr hochgeladen. In meinem Vortrag ging es um den praktischen Einsatz von HTML5 und CSS3 und – an dem Feedback gemessen, das ich enthalten habe – das Thema kam gut an.

Neue aufregende Web Technologien, HTML5 + CSS3 anhand von Praxisbeispielen lernen

Die Beispiele gibt es alle gesammelt in meinem Labor.

Nicht verpassen sollte man auch den Vortrag von Tomas Caspers: „Der mit der Kuh tanzt… (oder: ‚Was wir von Cowboys über Webentwicklung lernen können.‘)“ – zumindest sobald der Podcast veröffentlicht wird ohne den die Slides wenig sinnvoll sind.

Alle Infos – und die anderen hervorragenden Vorträge – vom A-Tag gibt es auf der offiziellen Seite oder noch aktueller auf dem neuen Schweizer Offiziersmesser für Konferenzen, Lanyrd.

02.03.10 // Ignited

Yesterday I was speaking at my first Ignite event at Frankfurt/Main. It was a special edition of the Webmontag which happens at the Brotfabrik every two months.

Eric Eggert, at the beginning of his talk, the beamer in the background says (Almost.) Everyone here is disabled. (Or will be at some time.) – Photo by patricklenz.

“Fast-paced, fun, thought-provoking, social, local, global—Ignite is all of these and more. It’s a high-energy evening of 5-minute talks by people who have an idea—and the guts to get onstage and share it with their hometown crowd. Run by local volunteers who are connected through the global Ignite network, Ignite is a force for raising the collective IQ and building connections in each city. And, via streaming and archived videos of local talks, local Ignites share all that knowledge and passion with the world.”

Eric Eggert, presenting the difference between add-on accessibility and integrated accessibility. Photo by  ScreenOrigami.

I had a lot of fun with my talk and the other talks I’ve seen. I had to leave the event early, to get back to Essen, during the break, but I’m sure the other talks were great, too.

My talk was about web accessibility basics, here are the slides:

The video and transcript will follow, when released by the Ignite Frankfurt team.

Images by ScreenOrigami and patricklenz on flickr.

28.10.09 // Yes, we need accessibility laws.

What annoys me the most about the Discussion about Chris Heilmann’s talk at A-Tag in Vienna is not only that Chris doesn’t want to speak at German accessibility events at all anymore, but the claim that Chris is solid against any laws. That is not what he said.

His point was that accessibility in the real world can only be so good or average as the developer and designer knowledge is. If a designer/developer is suddenly in charge to provide an accessible website he will look for a way to archive that goal with as little effort as possible. This will lead to accessible websites but badly designed ones. Additionally there may be problems with jump links which are hidden with display: none and other oddities (like text-only versions etc.).

Of course we all think: Such a person should never be in charge to make a website (as, to my understanding, we aim that all websites are accessible, right?) – but then 90% of web developers needed to change jobs, and we’d get only two websites a year online as those few agencies who do accessible websites can’t cope with the demand.

The other problem is that law hinders progress. German law, which is a (not compatible) reformulation of WCAG 1.0 prohibits the use of any scripting and other non-standard techniques. That means no youtube, even embedded on a website even if the video is completely subtitled and accessible. The accessible youtube player is nice but not allowed. WAI-ARIA techniques: not allowed.

The problem: German law is very old (2002), but it was also amongst the first to even implement a law about web accessibility. The now so often cited PAS78, the British accessibility law, is from 2006. And it is not undisputed either. We have to see how fast that really gets updated, the German law is about to update as well.

And then there was the claim about “eleven years of education and nothing changed, we need thumbscrews”: This is not true. Layout tables are in general gone, federal websites are accessible and even websites that are not required by law are generally better accessible. I wish that all websites are required to be accessible, but that isn’t possible as it seems. Even disability associations don’t bother to fight for it, which is the real scandal here.

There are a few tasks that a good accessibility law should do:

  • Create awareness. Only if there is awareness in companies, they will give developers time to be educated and do great stuff.
  • Do not create a climate of fear. If you have to fear that you are sued, because you made a mistake you’ll get conservative and lethargic. This shouldn’t happen as the web and accessibility technology is getting better and better every day.
  • Create mediations. If there is a problem with a website people should come together and talk (first), not sue. That works quite well in Austria. Mediations are often a lot cheaper than trials, too.
  • Reference international standard. WCAG, whatever version is current. Austria does that as well, so immediately after WCAG2 were out, web developers were required to use that. This creates again a climate of education. Germany copied WCAG1 and made that a regulation which is now outdated for over a year.
  • Be inclusive. There is no reason why public and private websites should be treated differently, so don’t.

We need laws, but we need good laws, not outdated ones. The myth of the flexible law is exactly that, a myth.

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