GLAD vs CNN closed-captions lawsuit: finding a win-win for broadcasters and deaf people

On Saturday a Californian court refused to dismiss a suit by deaf Californians against CNN for its refusal to add closed captioning to news video clips on its website. In this blog, Jonathan Hassell, who managed the introduction of captions to BBC iPlayer, looks at what news sites would need to do to introduce captions, identifies the key issues affecting users and broadcasters’ costs and USPs, and suggests a way for both sides of the suit to win…

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RNIB and BMI-baby accessibility lawsuit: how BS 8878 can help prevent you getting sued

RNIB have just brought legal action against BMI-baby for its slowness to improve the accessibility of its website. In this article, Jonathan Hassell gives his views on whether a new ‘naming and shaming’ culture is emerging, what’s likely to happen next in the RNIB-BMI-baby case, what BMI-baby should do right now, and how fixing website accessibility without having a longer-term strategy may store up problems for the future…

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Web Accessibility Myths 2011 part 2

Part Two of my popular accessibility myths blog clears out more false assumptions for the start of 2012.
Being demolished this time: Accessibility and inclusive design are anti-creative; Accessibility and inclusive design help everyone; Disabled people use assistive technologies; Accessibility’s just about blind people – now for platforms; Text is more accessible than other media; The most important accessibility requirement for images is alt-text; The most important people in accessibility are developers; It doesn’t matter if your mobile site/app isn’t accessible, just as long as the desktop version is; Websites have to be accessible from the start; and BS8878 is just for huge companies…

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Web accessibility myths 2011 – a call for accessibility advocates to be more business-minded

It’s the time of year when web accessibility advocates tend to produce accessibility myths blogs. As nothing stays still on the web, and many of these blogs are rather old, it’s important that our understanding of accessibility myths moves on to.
So, here’s Part One of some accessibility myths I’d like to expose to clear out the cobwebs before 2012. My aim is to challenge some of the accepted assumptions many accessibility advocates hold which I believe are really not serving us, or the disabled and elderly people we are trying to help, well at all.
Being demolished this time: What disabled and elderly people need is accessibility; What website creators need is WCAG 2.0; The best business case for accessibility is the Law; Accessibility is cheap… no, it’s expensive… no, it’s cheap…; We won’t get enough Return on Investment; and If you build it (to be accessible) then they’ll come…

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BS8878’s one year anniversary – the UK web community assess its achievements

To really know if a website is accessible you need to user-test it with its disabled and elderly audiences. That’s one of the key recommendations of British Standard BS8878 which aims to increase understanding of the importance of accessibility and best practice ways of how to ensure it across digital web production for an audience of non-technical website and app creators. To really know if BS8878 is being effective in communicating those messages you need to user-test it with website creators and others in the web production community. So, to mark BS8878’s one year anniversary, its lead-author, Jonathan Hassell of Hassell Inclusion, has done just that, as well as asking major voices from the UK accessibility scene to give their thoughts. And the results are in…

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Implementing BS 8878 step 3: user research to find the size and needs of your web product’s audiences

What do you know about your website’s target audiences? How they use the web. What they might want from your site. What do you really know? Are they like you or very different? And isn’t it a good idea to spend some time and effort working that out before you start creating something for them? Because if you don’t understand the users you are creating the site for, even if you create a usable site, it may not be one they actually want…

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For World Usability Day: The state of accessibility

Today is World Usability Day. To celebrate I’m spending my day with User Vision in Edinburgh presenting on accessibility and BS8878 to audiences I don’t normally get the chance to talk with. Here’s a (subtitled) video of a discussion between User Vision’s CEO, Chris Rourke, and I on the current state of accessibility. And, in […]

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Beyond Inclusion and Reverse Inclusion: how fully engaging with the needs of disabled and elderly people can turbo-charge innovation and profitability

Two weeks ago BBC Something Special launched a great set of ‘Out and About’ web games for children with learning difficulties. This is the latest in a ‘Beyond Inclusion’ category of websites which are aimed at the particular needs and capabilities of specific disabled audiences. Going deeper into really listening and designing for the wide range of needs of disabled and elderly people can be very challenging. But innovation often follows a challenge. And innovation is the lifeblood of most successful companies. The world regularly becomes a better place for everyone when we concentrate on taking the needs of disabled and older people more seriously. Over history, there are many examples of these ‘Beyond Inclusion’ products becoming mainstream successes. And, yes, there is money to be made…

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Implementing BS 8878 step 2: Accessible to whom? Audiences, trade-offs and Inclusive design

Your audience are the people who will make your site successful or not. They are your most important stakeholders, and your only way of managing them is to try to understand their needs and desires and find some way of meeting them through your site. Ensuring that as many people in your primary and secondary audiences can use your website, whatever their abilities or disabilities, is a great way of maximising your customer base. But it’s not possible to create a website that includes absolutely everybody. So how do you balance that ideal with what’s practical…

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Ready to launch? How BS 8878 helped this SME’s website get off the ground

If you have no money and need a website for your business right now, does BS8878 help at all, or is it just another ‘nice to have, if I had the time’? Here’s my answer as a series of blogs on the decisions I’ve taken in creating the Hassell Inclusion website. Part one deals with how BS8878 can help you work out how complete your site needs to be before you can put it out there and get yourself a web presence, without making that presence so half-hearted as to score an own goal before you’ve even started…

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