Open Source World #1 : The Accessibility Project

in utopian-io •  8 months ago

The Future Design without the Barrier of Accessibility

Our world is in a technological rush, where every minute some new innovative project comes up that attracts the attention of people. If a single creative mind can come up with revolutionary projects, the results of collective genius minds will transform the world in a better way.

The Accessibility Project aims to bring the out-of-the-box thinkers under a single web, so that they can come up with open source software that will have an edge. The programmers, who are passionate about using their expertise to contribute to initiatives that can change the life of people for good are encouraged to join this project. This interesting Open Source Project focuses on accessibility for the visually impaired, who are ignored by most web developers.

The Rising need for Accessibility

We many have friends, family or someone who has difficulty with computer interaction as they are impaired visually. The physical barrier should never hold a person back from attaining the knowledge he/she desires.

So, open web needs to take the requirements of vision-impaired audience into consideration. The operating systems allow accessiblity to blind people, but web pages ignore them completely.

The Accessibility Project was born from the idea of making the web accessibility easier for the visually impaired, so that the developers can implement changes in their design to accommodate the blind. Nothing should keep them away from accessing information as knowledge is divine, so every contribution will assist them to achieve it.

The accessibility project uses numeronym that make easier for the blind to access web or social media. It is similar to an acronym, but here the letters are replaced by numbers to make it easier for the visually impaired to use the webpages.

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The Working of Accessibility Project

So, let’s see how to use the numeronym !

  • Accessibility in numeronym is- A11Y
  • The first letter and last letter of the word remains unchanged- “A” and “Y”
  • The number 11 represents the total number of letters in the word

The Accessibility Project aims at changed the world of the visually impaired by building an open sourced platform for empowering them.

They use the following to realize this effectively:

  • GitHub is open platform that publishes a static post or pages. It also works as a webpage that helps realize the goal effectively.

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  • Jekyll is the framework used, which is a Ruby-gem based workhorse framework. It is a site generator that creates pages using MarkDown or Textile.
  • It has up-to-date content that is digestible, but forgiving.
    SASS and Compass is used to build the accessibility project, so any changes or modification needs SASS and Compass.

How to make Accessible Website

There are some basic steps to make a website accessible like:

  • The website needs to comply with the Accessibility Standards or Guidelines
  • Know more about the topic of accessibility from the internet, books, blogs, etc.
  • The content management system must include accessibility extensively
  • Web pages may have images to make it impressive, so add alternative text for images
  • The visually impaired can access the keyboard well, so make sure that the content is accessible with keyboard alone.

It uses various resources to make the accessibility project a success like:

  • Softwares like Chrome Accessibility Tools, Color Oracle, etc.
  • Screen Readers like JAWS
  • Courses on Accessibility
  • Blogs
  • Books

Why Join Forces for the Unique Initiative

The Accessibility Project uses the innovative technology to support the development of blind people, so they have some really good features like:

  • Any willing person can contribute to this effort
  • It has a very low cost of support
  • It requires very minimum site management
  • It is completely community driven

Each one of us is responsible for contributing towards removing barriers and provide a barrier-free environment. The history of accessibility is interesting as only in the 90s was the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) passed, which ensures civil rights for the visually impaired.

It was after this incident that the world realised the importance of accessibility for blind people.

So, the milestones occurred in the following years:

  • The creation of synthetic speech newspaper for the blind in 1994
  • Microsoft Windows 95 OS built with accessibility features in 1995
  • The pwWebSpeak, which is a browser that translated text into speech in 1996
  • In 1997 audio ATM was introduced that is accessible to blind or illiterate users.
  • The Rehabilitation Act introduced in 1998 requires the government website easily accessible to bling people.
  • The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) released Web Content Accessibility guidelines in 1999.
  • The Microsoft Windows 2000 released an on the screen keyboard option. It also designed “translate” feature that converts the text to speech for blind users.
    *Applications are available now that automatically detect accessibility like Koa11y.

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The Real-time example of Accessibility Website

Websites like Reddit have interface that can switch users named Reddit Accessible, which can toggle between the traditional interface and visually impaired.

It has content from various sites that is available to users. It gives the users the option to view several mediums like

  • Images
  • Videos
  • Embedded Tweets

It helps the visually impaired users to connect to various sources and get information from them effectively for their knowledge.

The Co-operation from Governments

Many countries address the issue of web accessibility effectively, but the main constraint that causes hindrance is the unavailability of funds. The government is unable to invest in web accessibility project as it has a tight budget.

In such cases, the people can take the intiative and take up projects that will address the accessibility issue effectively. The lack of awareness is the main issue holding the web accessibility back. So, people must try to learn it with their education to implement it in the beginning of any project.

It is a complex design that needs good expertise, so expert training is needed for an exceptional design with web accessibility.

“We need to make every single thing accessible to every person with a disability”- Stevie Wonder

The Open source software is the most powerful tool that can incorporate unique platforms and tools to make it exceptional. The accesibility project is an Open source software that uses platform like Github and tools like Jekyll to make something great that will change the life of visually impaired.

It is shared and modified to fix the problems to make people with disabilities get the most from computer.

The Open source software can assit in creating the most adaptive accesibility software that reduces the barriers to interaction considerably.

Everyone’s participation to increase public awareness regarding disabled people’s web accessibility goes a long way toward the goal till then we can contribute in an effective manner.

Thanks for reading and wait for the secong installment of the Open Source World

Reference Sources:
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