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Annette is at #winwithoutpitching today with @Bristol_Media and @blairenns, will be an interesting afternoon, posted 2 months ago

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Accessibility and the Olympics

Accessibility and the Olympics

World Usability Day 2013 at the M Shed this year had a host of great talks from usability professionals and enthusiasts from around the world. One talk really caught my attention and that was "BBC Olympics: An Accessibility Study" by Alistair Duggin the lead front-end developer at Money Advice Service. The talk looked back on the BBC Olympics website and the huge task taken on by the BBC to cover the Olympics in the digital age They wanted to make 24 HD live streams, over 2500 hours worth of video coverage as well as huge amounts of stats and data available world wide to a massive audience across mobile, tablet, PC and connected TV.

By the end of the project there had been 37 million UK browses, 66% of the adult population had visited the website as well as having 57 million global browses with 111 million video requests across all available platforms. These numbers were not the only difficulties of the project, the team at the BBC had an immovable deadline of a huge profile event and were working with teams of mixed knowledge in terms of accessibility. On top of this for added pressure the Australian olympics had been sued for being inaccessible.

So the team had one page for each of the 10,000 athletes, 205 countries, 36 sports, 304 medal winning events and 30 venues that they had to make usable and accessible for people with a range of visual, auditory, motor and cognitive abilities. This is where I was really surprised by the talk, I was expecting a full range of teams running huge usability studies and endless testing to make sure everything was perfect deploying more resources than is possible in a normal sized project. In reality the methodology and practices followed by Alistair and his team were reusable on any scale and in fact should be used on all web projects. It is not spending a lot of time changing designs and code to make it accessible, if you have accessibility in the back of your head when creating websites then you should only have to do it one time.

They had a library of common html widgets and reusable components that could be dropped into any page promoting the reusability and consistency of their code. Then for content, html, css and javascript they had a few simple rules to help create usable websites. For content having alt text for images, captions for tables and full text for abbreviations as well as having content in a logical order. Using appropriate html elements, not duplicating links as well as coding forms and tables to the correct standards helped create markup that was accessible for users using screen readers or navigating with a keyboard. For css having a non javascript layout, setting style on focus as well as hover, not using !important and checking for colour contrast were all very important. Feature detection in javascript as well as making sure the javascript generated valid html and there were no keyboard traps that stopped a user being able to navigate past certain points with a keyboard were all employed throughout the pages.

These are all the kind of coding practices that we can all follow on our websites but not necessarily something we check as often as how a page looks in IE7 or displays on a mobile device. I learned a lot from Alistair's talk, especially coming from the view point of a front end developer it showed me how important accessibility is for users, we should not be thinking about making it better for a minority of users but instead creating universal accessibility. He also talked about having a website that is one hundred percent accessible as not being realistic and that we need to prioritise in real world projects but that accessibility does not have to compromise design or ingenuity in websites.

Steve Fenn
Steve

Created on Monday December 09 2013 10:00 AM


Tags: accessibility conference userexperience ux usability


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Future Of Web Apps London 2010

Future Of Web Apps London 2010

If you follow us on Twitter you may have seen our tweet stream go a little crazy last week. I was at Future of Web Apps - a 2 day conference for web developers (that’s me) featuring talks from the people behind some of the biggest companies on the web (Google, Opera, Mozilla, Flickr & TweetMeMe to name a few).

As the title implies, it’s all about web apps - web sites that deliver a product or service online and where the technologies behind them are going.

Here are a few highlights of the day.

The Future of HTML5, SVG and CSS3 (Brad Neuberg)

This talk was all about of future technologies of the web. I’ll try not to go all techie on this one, but basically the core technologies used to build websites are evolving. These progressions are allowing developers to build sites than run faster, look better and are more accessible. More features can be handled be your web browser without having to relay on third-party plugins (like flash). These features can include watching online video, easier to understand web pages for people using assistive technologies and amazing interactive animations in your web pages.

The 37signals way: A look into the design process of 37signals (Ryan Singer)

My favourite talk of the day, Ryan Singer is a product manager at 37 signals (the people behind Basecamp). This talk challenged the traditional wireframe, photoshop, code approach to the design process by almost turning whole thing on it’s head! The key points to take away were to focus on the business logic at the center first and get something running in the browser. Team members spend less time waiting on each other and your end design fits the content (rather than the other way round).

Location, Location, Location (Joe Stump)

There’s no doubt the future of web is mobile. The iPhone started the smart-phone revolution in 2007 and in the next couple of years mobile web browsing is expected to surpass browsing from the desktop. Whereas with the desktop web content was king, with the mobile web context is the new king. This is because the amount of data we’re producing is growing exponentially (side note: Joe claimed that every two days 2.6 million terabytes of data - which is the same amount we produced up until 2003). Without providing context to all the data we’re producing it’s useless.

Future of JavaScript and jQuery (John Resig)

The title is a little cryptic, but this talk introduced a very powerful tool for developing the latest generation of mobile web apps. The jQueryMobile project aims to provide a set of tools for creating great looking user interfaces across a plethora of mobile devices. The idea being developers can spend more time focused on implementing great features and less time debugging different devices. The ‘alpha’ release is due next week with the finished ‘1.0’ release in January.

Created on Monday October 18 2010 10:00 AM


Tags: technology web-development networking browser conference training fowa 2010


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eCommerce Expo

I went along to the eCommerce Expo at London's Earls Court, to have a little sneaky peak at what's going on in the industry. I found the seminars interesting but always find it a little uncomfortable walking around and being 'pitched' at from every angle!

I went to the Google University Analytics Master Class where they took it back to basics and highlighted the main principles of getting the most out of your analytics including:

  • Set clear goals - understand what your website is for
  • Use the reports from your Google Analytics to drive the website forward - don't just use them to show your boss a nice report.
  • Ensure that many people in the organisation are aware of the analytics, what they show and what the objectives for the site are.

But over all make sure that you have a great web development team who can work with you, using the results from the analytics to put in changes for driving the site and retaining customers!

If you're interested you can view the seminars from the expo online at Seminar Stream

 

Created on Thursday October 22 2009 10:23 AM


Tags: google web-development e-commerce conference


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Future of Web Design Tour 2009

We're back from the Future of Web Design (FOWD) 1 day conference in Bristol

Paul & Simon had an inspiring day learning about the latest web design trends and topics as well as meeting lots of other designers and developers in the Bristol area.

The conference covered topics including: the new features of HTML5 - the next generation of web design technology, how to improve the design process with your clients, how to create the perfect portfolio and 5 ways to introduce more fun into the work place.

The hosts even provided free beer after the event as well!

Created on Thursday September 10 2009 10:13 AM


Tags: networking bristol browser communication fowd conference


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