History of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) –from boia.org

Excerpt:

What is WCAG?
WCAG is a set of specific standards designed to make the web more accessible to people with disabilities. It is on its third version, updated over the years to account for changes in web-based digital technology, assistive technology, design and development trends, and the growth of the mobile web. It is published by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) in collaboration with individuals and organizations within the global accessibility community according to the W3C Process.

Also see:

‘My Experience Was Compliant’ Said No One Ever. Accessibility increases the joy of a web experience.

 

Improving Digital Inclusion & Accessibility for Those With Learning Disabilities — from by Meredith Kreisa
Learning disabilities must be taken into account during the digital design process to ensure digital inclusion and accessibility for the community. This comprehensive guide outlines common learning disabilities, associated difficulties, accessibility barriers and best practices, and more.

“Learning shouldn’t be something only those without disabilities get to do,” explains Seren Davies, a full stack software engineer and accessibility advocate who is dyslexic. “It should be for everyone. By thinking about digital accessibility, we are making sure that everyone who wants to learn can.”

“Learning disability” is a broad term used to describe several specific diagnoses. Dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, nonverbal learning disorder, and oral/written language disorder and specific reading comprehension deficit are among the most prevalent.

 
An image of a barrier being torn down -- revealing a human mind behind it. This signifies the need to tear down any existing barriers that might hinder someone's learning experience.

 

Moving Online Learning from Challenge to Opportunity — from campustechnology.com by Dr. Mark Lombardi
The future of higher education means breaking down classroom walls, embracing digital tools and engaging students with creativity and innovation.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Similarly, Maryville criminology professor Geri Brandt, working in concert with our learning designers and on-site production studio, used 360-degree camera technology to stage a virtual, explorable, interactive crime scene. Extending this online experience further, the criminology department created a “choose your own adventure” virtual experience, where each student response or choice in an investigation leads to a different outcome.

Creativity and innovation on this scale are only possible when faculty work with a talented team of learning design professionals who can translate a vision of interactive and immersive learning into a new student experience. Designing and delivering this active learning ecosystem integrated in online and on-ground learning takes a team of committed professionals and the courage to make it happen.

What if students could choose to learn in environments that are fully immersive, deeply enriching and profoundly meaningful to their courses of study? We encourage our students to explore the world beyond the campus, but what happens when the world is your campus?

 

Navigating website ADA compliance: ‘If you have videos that are not captioned, you’re a sitting duck’ — from abajournal.com by Matt Reynolds

Excerpts:

“If you have videos that are not captioned, you’re a sitting duck,” Goren said. “If you’re not encoding your pictures so that the blind person using a screen reader can understand what the picture is describing, that is a problem.”

Drop-down boxes on websites are “horrible for accessibility,” the attorney added, and it can be difficult for people with disabilities to navigate CAPTCHA (Completely Automated Public Turing test) technology to verify they are human.

“Trying to get people with voice dictation or even screen readers to figure out how to certify that they’re not a robot can be very complicated,” Goren said.

Also see:

Relevant Laws

Information re: Lawsuits

 

Effective and Accessible Alternatives to Website Carousels — from boia.org on February 11, 2021

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Real estate on a web page is precious. Every web designer or marketer at some point has felt that there simply isn’t enough space to show all the content they want to show. The carousel offered an apparent solution to that problem by cramming several content pieces into the same space, rotating to be individually visible either automatically or by the user’s control. The ability to show more content in less space in a way that looked cool made carousels attractive and they can now be seen all over the web. They’d be a great idea if it weren’t for two big problems: they don’t work and they aren’t accessible.

About 1% of people click on carousels.

Carousels are now associated with ads or junk content.

 

Exciting new tools for designers, January 2021 — from by Carrie Cousins

Excerpt:

The new year is often packed with resolutions. Make the most of those goals and resolve to design better, faster, and more efficiently with some of these new tools and resources.

Here’s what new for designers this month.

 

The top content management systems — from w3techs.com

Excerpt:

38% of the websites use none of the content management systems that we monitor.
WordPress is used by 39.7% of all the websites, that is a content management system market share of 64.1%.

From DSC:
Though I love WordPress and it continues to do well market share-wise…for people who want to get into blogging and/or who want to get their voice out there, I’m disappointed that WordPress has gone the way of web design and production (i.e., into major complexities). WordPress needs a WordPress-Lite version or an easier-to-use interface/theme/template section for beginners (or something along those lines).

 

 

U.S. Businesses Potentially Spent Billions on Legal Fees for Inaccessible Websites in 2020 — from boia.org

Excerpt:

In a bombshell report published by Accessibility.com, the organization estimated that 265,000 website accessibility demand letters were sent to businesses last year. Astounding on its own, if the figure is correct or close to correct, U.S. companies could have spent billions of dollars in legal costs as a direct result of inaccessible websites in 2020 alone. Businesses looking for a wake-up call to make website accessibility a priority in 2021 and beyond might have just found it.

The above article linked to:

2020 Website Accessibility Lawsuit Recap -- from Accessibility.com

Also see:

 

 

Building your own website is cool again, and it’s changing the whole internet — from protocol.com by David Pierce
Writers, creators and businesses of all kinds are looking to set up their own space online again. To do that, companies are trying to figure out how to deal with two very different internets.

Excerpt:

Websites are back. After years of being sucked into the vortexes of Facebook and Yelp pages, devoting their time to amassing Twitter followers and Instagram likes, creators and businesses alike have seen the benefits of hanging up their own shingle again. Legions of writers are setting up Substack newsletters. Millions of people and businesses are setting up shop for the first time online using Squarespace or WordPress. Wix reported 7.8 million new users in the last quarter alone, and more than 29% revenue growth.

Substack doesn’t see itself as a newsletter platform, or an email-based product. The company is fundamentally interested in fostering direct relationships between readers and writers, rather than let them be mediated by companies whose interests are not always aligned with either side.

The driving force behind all that growth? Thanks to a pandemic closing stores, keeping people at home and leaving a lot of people without jobs, the only way to move forward is to figure out the internet. 

From DSC:
Though I really like WordPress — and this blog uses it — look at the stock performance in 2020 for Wix!

Stock price of Wix is way up in 2020

Our youngest daughter and I are going to set up a blog for her, as she loves to write. The idea was from her and my wife, but I love it! I think it’s highly motivating to her and she can have a voice…that she can share her writings with others. She’s got quite an imagination — so look out all!  🙂 

 

From DSC:
I’ve heard many people mention that what we did throughout K-16 in the spring of 2020 was remote teaching — an emergency response to the Coronavirus. And I would agree with that assessment and verbiage — that was/is very true. It wasn’t online-based learning as many of us have come to know it over the last 20+ years. It didn’t offer a lot of the things that organizations like the Online Learning Consortium (OLC) and Quality Matters have been trying to promote and get us to achieve for years.

But then I hear the expectation that everything has been vastly improved over the summer and suddenly, almost overnight, all teachers, professors, trainers, adjunct faculty members, etc. have become highly proficient in matters involving online-based teaching and learning. In other words, the expectations say that:

  • Students should expect a top-notch experience now that summer is over.
  • Suddenly, Rome was built in a day!

But it wasn’t, and it isn’t.

It takes time and practice to become proficient in how to teach online. That’s the truth. It also takes a great deal of time and investments in hardware, software, tools, training/education/professional development, networking and telecommunications infrastructure, and more. It takes numerous skillsets to do it well. (By the way, that’s why I like to think in terms of team-based content creation and delivery.)

Also, often times, it takes MORE time to teach online than it does to teach in a face-to-face classroom. That is certainly the case for the first time that you will be teaching online. You need to know that going into it. You have to put your course together PLUS learn how to deliver it effectively in an online-based format. You need to learn a variety of tools and related ecosystems. Not a simple, overnight kind of task, I can assure you.

So students, don’t expect your faculty members to become professional online-based teachers overnight Again, it takes time and practice…just like anything we set out to do.

And for you student teachers and Education Departments/Programs out there, keep at it. Don’t dismiss this time as a brief period/phenomenon that will simply go away and we’ll get back to “normal.” Make the necessary adjustments to your curriculum, toolsets, “teacher placements,” and more. Let’s get prepared for the future, come what may.

For higher ed, if you want to continue to use adjunct faculty members to handle a significant amount of the teaching load out there, you will need to better address the training and the $$/reimbursements that you provide to them.

And for all of the teachers, trainers, faculty members — and now even parents and/or guardians — out there, cut yourself some slack, give yourself some grace, and keep trying. One step at a time. Don’t get discouraged.

Also relevant/see:

Build and accelerate beyond the pandemic: Consciously deliver a great online experience for lifelong learners — from evoLLLution.com by Philip Regier

Excerpt:

Today’s learners have high expectations as expert consumers in all aspects of their lives. Higher education needs to create an infrastructure that meets the needs of this tech-savvy demographic. Institutions need to recognize that the online environment is here to stay and is in need of a rebuild in order to deliver the best student experience possible, even post-pandemic. In this interview, Phil Regier discusses the today’s learners’ expectations, scaling a high-quality online environment, and how to build the right infrastructure to support learners in this new and digitized normal.

 

Information re: virtual labs from the Online Learning Consortium


 7 Things You Should Know About Virtual Labs — from library.educause.edu

Excerpt:

Virtual labs are interactive, digital simulations of activities that typically take place in physical laboratory settings. Virtual labs simulate the tools, equipment, tests, and procedures used in chemistry, biochemistry, physics, biology, and other disciplines. Virtual labs allow students to participate in lab-based learning exercises without the costs and limitations of a physical lab. Virtual labs can be an important element in institutional efforts to expand access to lab-based courses to more and different groups of students, as well as efforts to establish contingency plans for natural disasters or other interruptions of campus activities.

 


Addendum on 8/27/20:

 

From edsurge.com today:

THOROUGHLY MODERN MEDIA: This spring, a college theater course about women’s voting rights aimed to produce a new play about the suffrage struggle. When the pandemic scuttled those plans, professors devised a new way to share suffragist stories by creating an interactive, online performance set in a virtual Victorian mansion. And their students were not the only ones exploring women’s voting rights as the country marks the 100th anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment.

…which linked to:

The Pandemic Made Their Women’s Suffrage Play Impossible. But the Show Went on— Virtually — from edsurge.com by Rebecca Koenig

Excerpts:

Then the pandemic hit. Students left Radford and Virginia Tech. Live theater was canceled.

But the class wasn’t.

“Neither of us ever said, ‘Forget it,’” Hood says. “Our students, they all wanted to know, ‘What are we doing?’ We came to them with this insane idea.”

They would create an interactive, online production staged in a virtual Victorian mansion.

“Stage performance is different than film or audio. If you just have audio, you only have your voice. Clarity, landing sentences, really paying attention to the structure of a sentence, becomes important,” Nelson says. “Students got a broader sense of the skills and approaches to different mediums—a crash course.”

 

From DSC:
Talk about opportunities for interdisciplinary learning/projects!!!  Playwrights, directors, actors/actresses, set designers, graphic designers, fine artists, web designers and developers, interactivity/interface designers, audio designers, video editors, 3D animators, and more!!!

 

The performance website, “Women and the Vote,” premiered on May 18, 2020

 
 

This magical interface will let you copy and paste the real world into your computer — from fastcompany.com by Mark Wilson
Wowza.

Excerpt:

But a new smartphone and desktop app coming from Cyril Diagne, an artist-in-residence at Google, greatly simplifies the process. Called AR Copy Paste, it can literally take a photo of a plant, mug, person, newspaper—whatever—on your phone, then, through a magical bit of UX, drop that object right onto your canvas in Photoshop on your main computer.

“It’s not so hard to open the scope of its potential applications. First of all, it’s not limited to objects, and it works equally well with printed materials like books, old photo albums, and brochures,” says Diagne. “Likewise, the principle is not limited to Photoshop but can be applied to any image, document, or video-editing software.”

 

 

https://arcopypaste.app/

 
 
© 2021 | Daniel Christian