Sometimes I s-start to stutter

A week ago today I stood up and talked about my personal experiences as a person who stammers, and the valuable work of The British Stammering Association. The occasion was the weekly Monday evening meal of the Rotary Club of Leighton-Linslade, to which I had been invited as guest speaker. The Club made me very welcome, and proved to be a good audience for my talk, laughing in the right places and asking some pertinent questions ("What's the difference between a stammer and a stutter?" Answer: none, woops I meant to mention that in the talk!)

Accessibility pattern 1: use buttons for Javascript actions, not images

The is the first in a series of what I'm terming accessibility patterns and anti-patterns - one per post (feel free to argue that it's an idiom!) Here is an example:

Bad

  <img onclick="displayURL()" title="Display URL" ../>

Good

  <input type="image" alt="Display page URL - popup window"
        onclick="displayURL()" src=".." title=".." />

5 steps to being an oEmbed provider

In the words of the specification,

“oEmbed is a format for allowing an embedded representation of a URL on third party sites. The simple API allows a website to display embedded content (such as photos or videos) when a user posts a link to that resource, without having to parse the resource directly.”

MALT Wiki player with personalization mockup

Wendy Porch and I presented an evaluation version of the new MALT Wiki player at Techshare, in September. Since then I've been busy with other projects, but I've now had time to produce a mockup demonstrating personalization options and how I hope to get people to contribute. This is based on my own thoughts and some interesting points raised by people including Jonathan Hassell during our presentation.

The screenshot below shows the player with a panel below starting "About Learn about Moodle". The player works, while the meta-data and personalization panel is mostly just a mockup. This panel would be hidden initially, with a "show/hide" button. And the thinking is that the panel would always be available, including when a video is embedded in a third-party site like a blog, a virtual learning environment or video sites like YouTube.

MALT Wiki player, with mockup meta-data and personalization panel

MALT Wiki player with personalization and meta-data mockup, on Flickr

oEmbed tests

Consumer tests

(YouTube below - it has to be last - BUG my side?!)

Slideshare (Techshare):
http://www.slideshare.net/nfreear/malt-wiki-techshare2009

Flickr:
http://flickr.com/photos/garyjordan/1801425661/

Provider test:
http://freear.org.uk/oembed/endpoint?url=
http://freear.org.uk/node/22

http://github.com/voxpelli/drupal-oembed
http://drupal.org/project/oembed
http://oohembed.com/

YouTube test - using this service, http://iet-access.open.ac.uk/malt/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fj1CQaPsZ74

Flash wmode considered harmful

Despite the emergence of the <video> element in HTML 5, Shockwave Flash is still the defacto standard for publish multimedia on the Web. Macromedia, and now Adobe have improved the support for assistive technologies and software interfaces like Microsoft Active Accessibility (MSAA) within the Flash browser plug-ins and it is now possible to create a video player in which all the controls and status information are perceivable by screen reader users. So all the challenges to do with Flash have been overcome, no problems? Wrong.

I and others have uncovered what appears to be a little publicised or little known flaw that renders some of the "embed codes" displayed at sites like YouTube, Vimeo et al completely inaccessible.

Screen shot, wmode = window - default, OK

Twitter accessibility user styles

Last year I started experimenting with user style sheets - text files you can install on your computer to re-format or change the appearance of a web-site or sites. You may want to do this, if for instance some adverts or animations on your favourite site annoy you, or to increase colour contrast or font-size. A while ago, I created a style sheet for Twitter, and today I uploaded it to Userstyles.org - you can install it through Stylish for Firefox (or IE7Pro for Internet Explorer - not tested!)

Screen shot: Twitter accessibility style sheet in action