Wendy Chisholm

Stairs make the building inaccessible, not the wheelchair. Co-author of Universal Design for Web Applications. Strategist for Microsoft. @wendyabc at twitter.

Archive for January, 2008

Super Silence

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Pepsi ad to give Super Bowl viewers a moment of silence

The pregame advertisement features a joke that originates from the deaf community and will play out on screen over 60 seconds of total silence, a veritable eternity when it comes to the noisiness of Super Bowl ads.

The joke goes like this: Two guys are driving to their friend Bob’s house to watch the Super Bowl. Once they get to Bob’s street, neither knows which house is his. They sit in the car, arguing, until one of them has an idea. He starts laying on the horn, and one by one, the houses light up and dogs start barking.

One house stays dark: It’s Bob’s.

Pepsi worked with National Association of the Deaf on this commercial and will sponsor captioning of the Super Bowl. The commercial came about because of an employee’s interest that stemmed from attending a church where the services are held in ASL – he is not deaf. Many people volunteered their services to make the commercial happen and it includes two Pepsi employees who are deaf.

It’s super exciting to see awareness raised in a humorous way in such a large venue! I really hope it makes people stop, listen, and think.

You can watch the commercial online (but don’t press the “play” button, select the commercial – to the right). While I applaud their effort to raise awareness about accessibility and am very excited about their work, their web site is not accessible. Too bad.

Hey, Pepsi! Please add labels to each of the buttons in the Flash app. Thanks!

Written by wendy

January 25th, 2008 at 8:40 pm

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Haptic Tattoo

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I love tattoos. I love inclusion. I love futuristic ideas.

The haptic tattoo is all three.

Written by wendy

January 11th, 2008 at 6:24 pm

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Inspired by BBC’s Technologies on the rise in 2008

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Each time I see predictions for new technologies, I wonder how long it will be until they are accessible. Perhaps 2008 will be better than previous years – let’s take a look at the technologies listed in the BBC’s Technologies on the rise in 2008 and make some accessibility predictions for the upcoming year.

THE WEB TO GO

“Google announced its Gears application whilst Adobe launched Air and Microsoft released Silverlight.” I haven’t looked at Gears and Air, but there is hope that they will be accessible (good folks work at both companies) but SilverLight is an accessibility disappointment. Let’s hope version 2 straightens things out.

Accessibility prediction: Accessibility will be incorporated into each technology but the majority of developers won’t use accessibility features. Development tools won’t check for accessibility issues so developers won’t know or think to address them.

What can you do? Put ATAG and WCAG into developers’ hands.

ULTRA MOBILE PCs

“…towards the end of 2007 a series of new products started to hit shelves. The most talked about was the Asus EEE, a sub-£200 laptop about the size of a hardback book.”

The EEE runs Linux – while I’ve not played with LSR or GNOME accessibility, at least there is an open source movement.

“Apple is even rumoured to be launching ultra-thin Macbooks using flash in 2008.” – assuming that the universal access features of leopard are all that apple claims they are, the future of the ultra mobile pc looks bright.

Accessibility prediction: Ultra mobile pcs will be an inexpensive platform for the replacement to mobile assistive technologies and augmentative communication devices that currently cost hundreds (sometimes thousands) of dollars.

IPTV

More homes have broadband connections and speeds are increasing, “As a result, more and more internet protocol television services are being launched.” I hope currently captioned programs will continue to be, but one look at YouTube -with its thousands of hours of uncaptioned video – and I shake in my boots. Although, there is hope: CNET is captioning all of its programs.

Accessibility prediction: Thousands more hours of uncaptioned video and few described videos.

What can you do? Learn about captioning services and tools and incorporate captioning into your workflow. Refer to WCAG 2.0 Related Resources for Captions and WCAG 2.0 Related Resources for Audio Description.

WIMAX

No issues that I’m aware of.

Accessibility prediction: None that I can think of. Any ideas? Matt says, “location-based services” and pointed me to Andrew WiMAX Location Information Server. Sweet! Wonder what the Geeze has to say about that.

MOBILE VOIP

Accessibility prediction: As long as the interface is accessible, should be awesome. I assume people with hearing loss or who are deaf will continue to chat and text. Any issues here that I’m not aware of?

What are your predictions for 2008?

Written by wendy

January 4th, 2008 at 7:18 pm

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