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Making Chaos Accessible

Par Aaron Leventhal

Conférence (50 mn) :
Langue :

Le sujet

The Web can be nearly anything. Emerging techniques show that chaos finally erupted out of the confinement of standards. From the primordial web soup, new forms are emerging that perhaps the eye can understand, but are devoid of reasonable semantic structure to help the other senses .

Can chaos be made accessible? Are the new interactions only for the benefit of mainstream users? Or is this another case of a crisis becoming an opportunity?

The powerful new WAI-ARIA draft standard can annotate markup with structure. The structure helps assistive technologies such as screen readers, screen magnifiers or alternative input software make sense of the previous chaos. WAI-ARIA has great potential for accessibility, such that users with disabilities can not only survive in the chaos, but thrive as well.

What about adoption? Will authors even use WAI-ARIA? The answer is a good one for the future of accessibility. Adding WAI-ARIA to markup does not change how a web page behaves for mainstream users, even in user agents with no WAI-ARIA support. Thus, we are seeing very steady growth of support. Collaboration among vendors is at a new high, as Microsoft, Mozilla, Opera, Apple and Google work together to harmonize browser implementations. JavaScript widget toolkits such as Dojo, YUI, GWT and jQuery are gaining support. Screen readers and screen magnifiers are also gaining support. Killer examples of WAI-ARIA in web applications are Gmail, Google Docs and Yahoo! mail.

Is the future complex? Yes. But we can also enjoy new possibilies. Finally, compelling interaction and enhanced accessibility will not be strangers.

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