[My notes. Day 2 breakfast included mushroom bread; I need to find out from James where this came from.]

James’s intro:

Pivotal’s slogan is “be kind”, and unlike Google’s “don’t be evil” they’re actually living up to it.

We should all have a captioning sponsorship because it makes things better for everyone. (Totally agree – not just those who are hard of hearing, but if you’re distracted, taking notes or sitting at the back the captioning screen certainly helps.)

Code Your Future is a nonprofit training refugees with the dream of becoming software developers. James is animated about refugees being under-represented.

James talks about the venue (Plexal) – his team checked out other venues in Shoreditch and Wapping. The pavement was uneven. Or cobblestones. Which would be tiring for someone who has difficulty walking.


Bruce Lawson @brucel

Bruce was diagnosed with MS. The closer you are to the equator, the more the incidence of MS is reduced. So it’s very difficult to get it diagnosed in Thailand.

Bruce: “I have a career in the sense of careering downhill.”

Once upon a time there was Altavista, “like Google but powered by steam and in black and white”.

Bruce: we’ve forgotten the principles of simplicity of the web, and so are shutting people out.

The original IMG tag developed by Marc Andreessen didn’t have an alt attribute.

“It’s not a bloody alt tag”. (It’s an alt attribute.)

We broke the web in various ways.

Semantics are your flux capacitor.

Using labels gives you a larger click area.

It’s simple. choose the right semantics … but because we’re obsessing with JavaScript and HTML we’re neglecting this.

Semantics have loads of utility for people with disabilities. So a screen reader will take you to the main content.

Semantic HTML is invaluable in screen readers if you use them. And invisible if you don’t.

(Examples in slides of using article tag and itemprop attributes.)

Accessibility isn’t just about hugging a cripple. It’s also good usability.

We pride ourselves on building a web that is a house of cards.

13 million requests for JavaScript will time out (slide).

Everyone has JavaScript, right?.

If you are a web developer and you don’t understand what you can do without JavaScript, you’re not a web developer, you’re a JavaScript developer who just happens to be shitting things out.

In order to make wealthy web developer lives easier we are actually making the web more difficult to use.

25% of new Android shipments are with 512MB or less.

To pay for a month’s entry-level mobile broadband workers have to work: German - 1 hour American - 6 hours

So order to make things easier for your stack, you are making people work harder.

Your React application will never load faster than about 1.1 seconds on an average phone in India, no matter how much you optimize it.

IN 2100 51% of the world will live in these 10 developed countries.

Developing countries are home to 95% of the global offline population.

This matters because there are many countries where it may be miles to walk for medical care. But if you have a feature phone, this is first line medical care.

There are people for whom school text books are simply unaffordable. If you have Internet access you can read books for free on Worldreader.

“In India, only 96k of the 736k cell towers are 3G enabled, but more critically, only 35k of those towers have a fibre optic connection to the backbone, which results in inconsistent connection”. slide

“If you want to liberate a country, give them the internet.” (said Wael Ghonim – TED talk).

Read The net’s sweeping impact on growth, jobs and prosperity (McKinsey Global Institute.)

Just remember to “Keep It Simple Stupid”.

Don’t throw away the languages of HTML and CSS because it doesn’t feel like “computer science”.

The web is not computers, not clouds, it’s African women, a blind guy in Toronto, bros at a football match, …

The web is people, and it’s for everybody.

Bruce’s slides.


Lorna-Jane Mitchell @lornajane

Tales of a Keyboard-Only User

Lorna had an RSI injury 10 years ago. She can still function as a developer and is economically active.

10 years ago it was easier to use a keyboard.

To make links visible and clickable, Lorna used to turn off JavaScript with a plugin called disable-HTML.

Opera used to have keyboard spatial navigation. Then they rebased their codebase and it doesn’t work ay more.

If you’re navigating with a TV remote being able to navigate with up/down/left/right is really useful.

W3C have a spatial navigation demo.

Lorna is using screenkey during her talk to show what keys are being pressed.

Vimium is not an accessibility tool. It’s the Hacker’s Browser. F is the magic button, which causes labels to pop up. and then you can select the relevant element.

You can type / and then start typing to select content on the page.

GDS are a brilliant example of forms done well. It’s always clear what you have focused, and what happens next.

Radio buttons are easier to work with than sliders.

Date pickers: If you can type the date and the format is obvious – yes please!

Typeform surveys are not accessible; so Lorna can’t tell them about accessibility issues.

Lorna raised this with them and received the following reply:

“As the product and company continues to mature, I am sure we will get to tackling accessibility as soon as we can.” — TypeForm support

The fundamental basics of forms need to be observed.

Keep calm and embrace standards.

Embrace standard components.

HTML5 is changing the world.

WCAG guidelines

Use the standard components.

Lorna’s keyboard challenge:

Stick a post-it over your trackpad while you drink your coffee at your desk. See what you can still get done.

[James: “there’s so much wisdom in Bruce and Lorna’s talks”].


Paul Kennedy (Twitter) talks about organizing DevOps Days.

Key takeaways:

  • allow attendees to pick their own pronoun stickers
  • one of the organises stood up on stage and asked if anyone in the room needed the sign language interpreter (not good)

Samantha Burke is really good at bringing in people from diverse backgrounds.


Suki Fuller (Twitter)

Accessing Capital.

Suki says to VC’s – you don’t have unicorns because you’re funding companies that don’t represent society.

VC’s are aware that there are black women who need funding.

2% of women get funded.

In the UK 51% of the population are female.

The people who are in power don’t want to give up their power.

Suki says Google Glass should have gone for medtech, not cool glasses for bro’s. People with sight difficulties are the best test subjects – Google Glass would have been accepted.

There are a lot of things in the tech industry where they start with the mass. If you had someone on your team with a sight issue developing that, they would have dealt with that. They don’t think about the one or two people who might make their product better. They’re only thinking about what makes them keep their power.

A lot of banks don’t even have accessibility for people that have issues. There used to be a person (a bank manager, which went with more provision) but now we have ATMs instead.

Once you’re aware of the issue, now you need to advocate. When you advocate, you take responsibility for your actions.

Suki says to herself morning or evening “positive thoughts, positive words, positive actions”.

Because anyone who has a disadvantage … you have to think like that.

She always thinks about the actions you take to make the world a better place.

Who defines normal? The people in power.

Everybody needs accessibility to finance (“no shit!”).

Suki says “variety” instead of “diversity”. Inclusivity is what we really need to talk about. Because anyone in the world can be blind. Anyone in the world can be deaf.


Swarna Podila

Senior director of the Cloudfoundry foundation.

Swarna has chronic migraines. White presentation backgrounds trigger migraines.

“It takes a village to raise a child.”

Starting a community is easy. Scaling and growing is a problem. How can we be sure that we are still solving the problem? Being more empathetic. Are we taking feedback from everyone, and incorporating it? Are we being kind to each other?

In an open source community, a big issue is governance. Who gets to decide what goes in, and what doesn’t? It’s not easy to scale, but it is possible. It’s empathy that makes the difference.

Venue accessibility = the venue will be accessible for any disability. Cloud Foundry also provide free on-site childcare.

Re gender Cloud Foundry team ask attendees to select a pronoun that they are comfortable sharing.

Nice is about having something uncomfortable to say but not saying it. Kind is saying it in a constructive way.

Make sure that no-one feels there is an “in group” or an “out group”.


Kevin McLaughlin and a colleague gave an excellent talk on designing for users with a visual impairment.

Sight loss affects 20% of people aged 75 and over; 50% of people aged 90 and over. The number of people with sight loss is estimated to rise to over 2.7 million by 2030.

Magnification tools for the desktop:

  • Zoomtext (Windows only)
  • Accessibility zoom function (Apple)
  • Magnifier (Windows 10)
  • Chromebook zoom (CTL+ALT+BR+-)
  • Browser zooming

Magnificatin on mobile device:

  • iPhone (iOS) doubel tap with 3 fingers
  • Android trip tap magnifications
  • browser zooming

If your site has pop-ups, make sure they are usable when magnified.

Consider data, diagrams and PDFS

  • What do they look like when you enlarge them?
  • How much does the user need to see at ones?
  • Does the user have to keep scrolling?

Having red and green elements in a table or diagram is not helpful for those with colour blindness.

Pie charts are also bad for those with colour blindness.

Giving your page links all the same text (e.g. “more info”) makes them indistinguishable to a screen reader.

Following a linear, logical layout helps screen reader users navigate using a list of links.

Do not skip heading levels; users could keep searching for a thing that doesn’t exist if they think they’ve missed a heading.

A good test to determine if alternative text is useful is to imagine reading the document aloud over the telephone. What would you say upon encountering this image to make the page comprehensible to the listener?(From the Web Accessibility Initiative.)

Do:

  • provide audio description, transcripts and captions for video
  • follow a linear, logical layout
  • structure content using HTML5
  • build for keyboard-only use
  • write descriptive links and headings
  • avoid referring to locations on a page

My takeaways from Day 2:

  • Ubrew is a co-working space for home brewers. Five seventy-litre kits and one two hundred-litre kit
  • If you’re an experienced web developer, you should consider volunteering at Code Your Future
  • I need to spend more time learning about semantic HTML and exploring the tips in Lorna’s talk
  • Suki’s habit of saying “positive thoughts, positive words, positive actions” is a good way to start the day
  • Study the GDS form guidelines
  • Just IT facilitate software apprenticeships (which I believe are a good thing … I use very little of my computer science degree now)
  • The UK Association for Accessible Formats set standards and promote best practice for accessible documents in the UK.