E-mail List Archives

Re: Accessibility vs. Google and Microsoft Exchange


From: Tech
Date: Jul 14, 2008 12:20PM

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN">
<meta content="text/html;charset=us-ascii" http-equiv="Content-Type">
<body bgcolor="#ffffff" text="#000000">
&lt;&lt;Kara Zirkle wrote: <br>
...Has anyone looked at either of these applications as an entire
<blockquote cite="mid:008101c8e5d4$a7b5b4f0$f7211ed0$@edu" type="cite"></blockquote>
I don't have a solution for Gmail, GDocs or Exchange problems, in the
here and now, but i really think the problem is much greater than those
few applications.&nbsp; It's a systemic problem across the web.&nbsp; Google has
been working for years to integrate its various products with one
another.&nbsp; That in itself is a huge job. Many of these applications were
never meant to be inter operable, and they have to often bolt
accessibility patches onto their products retroactively, with brute
force, while competitors are breathing down their necks.&nbsp;&nbsp; On a scale
of 1-10, accessibility issues are usually about a -5.&nbsp; Unless they see
a compelling legal or commercial reason to focus on them, they become
just one more todo item on an ever expanding road map. <br>
Naturally, just like browser makers who swear they are dedicated to
supporting standards (but aren't really), the big players will never
admit this, and swear they would like to help out.&nbsp; But even when their
intentions are pure, just as they start focusing on such issues, some
new web2.0+ toy comes down the pike, and they rush into a new interface
or application, and the code and javascript all has to be readjusted
for the accessibility issues.&nbsp; And some things are just not possible to
do easily, no matter their willingness to do them.&nbsp;&nbsp; <br>
Right now, there is no <u><i>comprehensive</i></u> Javascript
framework for supporting common menu
navigation, toolbar actions, and other typical things that need
keyboard, mouse, and assistive device support. Each developer does it
anew, and often incompletely (or not cross platform).&nbsp;&nbsp; I have seen
some developers of well-known frameworks openly admit that such support
was a low priority, or just not interesting to them. To my
knowledge, only Bindows ever applied themselves aggressively to
accessibility issues, but their product is proprietary, and not that
used, and I've never really researched how much their reality matched
their claims.<br>
I am sure that most developers would really like to provide the
support.&nbsp; It's
just too hard to do, with present level toolkits.&nbsp; Solve that, and many
issues go away.&nbsp;&nbsp; I think that next generation programming tools like <a
href="http://ui.jquery.com">JQuery</a><a href="http://ui.jquery.com"> </a>could
help a lot.&nbsp; If someone isn't already doing it, I believe it would make
a lot of sense for the accessibility community, perhaps led by WebAIM,
to work with John Resig, and/or others in the Jquery community, to find
JQuery programmers who can solve some of these issues generically, and
make the tools available as a basic library which all sites, large and
small, can easily deploy in their applications.&nbsp;&nbsp; It's such a huge
area, that sponsors could probably be found for such initiatives. <br>
Perhaps there are some already doing this, but I have not heard of it.&nbsp;
I have no notable standing in the Accessibility or Jquery communities
to do more than make the suggestion.&nbsp; But there are many who do have
such standing, and I am sure they can be engaged to discuss it. I would
be happy to try and organize a deeper discussion of it, if someone set
up a list of forum to do it.<br>
Kara Zirkle wrote:
<blockquote cite="mid:008101c8e5d4$a7b5b4f0$f7211ed0$@edu" type="cite">
<pre wrap="">Both Programs do offer IMAP and POP, however it is not just email that I'm
looking at. Each offer a series of their own applications such as online
"storage", real time portal access such as live meeting and web creation.
However these are not being looked at from an accessibility view. I can
understand real time not having the ability to be accessible since it is
students making real time changes to documents, however the simplicity of
making the website accessible for the online storage or having built in
capabilities of tagging things on the website if you have a web creation
tool is more of my concern. Has anyone looked at either of these
applications as an entire product?


Kara Zirkle
IT Accessibility Coordinator
Assistive Technology Initiative
Thompson Hall RM 114 MS: 6A11
Fairfax Campus
4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
Phone: 703-993-9815
Fax: 703-993-4743
<a class="moz-txt-link-freetext" href="http://www.gmu.edu/accessibility/ati/home.html">http://www.gmu.edu/accessibility/ati/home.html<;/a>

-----Original Message-----
From: <a class="moz-txt-link-abbreviated" href="mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> "> <EMAIL REMOVED> </a>
[<a class="moz-txt-link-freetext" href="mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> ">mailto: <EMAIL REMOVED> </a>] On Behalf Of Patrick Lauke
Sent: Monday, July 14, 2008 11:31 AM
To: WebAIM Discussion List
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] Accessibility vs. Google and Microsoft Exchange

<blockquote type="cite">
<pre wrap="">Kara Zirkle
<pre wrap=""><!---->
<blockquote type="cite">
<pre wrap="">I am finding that the free email rush of Google and Microsoft
Exchange is
hitting the higher education environment quickly. Both emails provide
productive functionality for a college student, I'm more
concerned about the
accessibility view of things.
<pre wrap=""><!---->

my pragmatic view on this would be: as long as you also provide POP3 (or
even better IMAP) access to the email accounts, students may choose to use
their own desktop-based email reader, which stands a chance of being more
accessible (with regards to things like screen reader access, support for
the OS' colour schemes - e.g. high-contrast themes - etc).

Note that this is not my department/remit, so I'm just speaking as
myself...this may not be the official position of our university.