Web Accessibility

Web accessibility refers to the inclusive practice of making websites usable by people of all abilities and disabilities. When sites are correctly designed, developed and edited, all users can have equal access to information and functionality.

It is an important aspect of a company’s web presence, and can have a profound impact on their user-base and how their users interact with their company.

TheWAI (Web Accessibility Initiative) was set up by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) organisation, the governing body of standards and technologies used throughout the web (Founded by the creator of the WWW Tim Berners-Lee).

Moral Dimension

Ensuring your website is accessible means that people with various disabilities can perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with the Web, and that they can also contribute to the Web.

Legal Dimension

In the UK, US and other places, it is law that all websites be accessible. Within Australia, the Disability Discrimination Act, makes it illegal for companies to provide an inferior service to, or discriminate against, a disabled person. This legislation extend to websites.

Despite all this, recent studies by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (UK) and the United Nations have shown that compliance has been very slow.

Business Dimension

Aside from the legal and moral obligations, there are compelling arguments to ensure WAI compatibility from a business perspective. There is a consensus that any site that conforms to the WAI guidelines benefits all users, irrespective of their abilities, due to the general improvements in site navigation and usability, download speed, content clarity and quality of mark-up that compliance provides.

Failing to make a website accessible could mean a very real loss in potential business. The competitive nature of business is born out of the advantages a company can rely on.

When you consider that people with disabilities, have a disposable income of £80 billion per year, in the UK alone and people aged over sixty years old have a large spending power, it would seem that ignoring these demographics could result in considerable financial losses.

The needs that Web accessibility aims to address include:

  • Visual: Visual impairments including blindness, various common types of low vision and poor eyesight, various types of color blindness;
  • Motor/Mobility: e.g. difficulty or inability to use the hands, including tremors, muscle slowness, loss of fine muscle control, etc., due to conditions such as Parkinson’s Disease, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, stroke;
  • Auditory: Deafness or hearing impairments, including individuals who are hard of hearing;Seizures: Photoepileptic seizures caused by visual strobe or flashing effects.
  • Cognitive/Intellectual: Developmental disabilities, learning disabilities (dyslexia, dyscalculia, etc.), and cognitive disabilities of various origins, affecting memory, attention, developmental “maturity,” problem-solving and logic skills, etc.;

References

Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) 2003, World Wide Web Access: Disability Discrimination Act Advisory Notes

W3C, Evaluating Web Sites for Accessibility

W3C 2008, Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0

W3C, Evaluation, Repair, and Transformation Tools for Web Content Accessibility

WebAIM 2003, The WAVE

HiSoftware 2003, Cynthia Says

Lynx for WindowsLynx for Mac

Ruderman J 2003, Validation Bookmarklets

Cast 2003, Bobby

Amputee Association of NSW ‘Lost’ website

A few years ago, we started working with the Amputee Association of NSW as a pro-bono technology partner. At that stage, we offered the association our assistance in building a website.

After some investigations, we realised that the association already had a website, but that the domain name registration had lapsed and so the site was no longer available on the internet. we then used “the wayback machine” to retrieve the old site information, and go about retrieving the information from it that was still relevant.

Further investigations led us to the fact that the site was previously hosted by Monash University Rehab Technology Research Unit, a quick phone call to them established that they had lost contact with the old maintainer of the website (a former member of AANSW), and the domain name had lapsed without notice (in-fact, they could still see the site locally, as the internal Monash DNS servers where still resolving the name within Monash).

We asked if they could give us a copy of the original site, and received a zip via email within minutes …

They then offered to host the site again for the association, which we where grateful for (as at that time we did not host clients websites).

This was how the Amputee Association of NSW committee found out that they had an old website, which had laid dormant for several years.

After much discussion, it was decided that a website built around a Content Management System would suit their needs best, as it would allow editing of content by authorised members without technical intervention.

Wireless Broadband & Dialup Control Application

About:

STG_AutoDialer will establish a dialup (RAS) connection, and maintain it … if connection is dropped, the application automatically redials to selected connection.

RAS connections are used by wireless broadband USB dongles such as Huwaei.

The STG_AutoDialer application creates a log file, recording the connection times, when a connection is lost (and thus redialed). The log file is automatically deleted upon each launch of the application (ie on reboot).

The STG_AutoDialer only checks for connection status each second, this reduces needless CPU power being consumed.

The application displays as a tray icon only (after setup), and is designed to only display minimal information (except when re/dialing). The Tray Icon looks like a traffic light, and is made up of three different icon files which can be replaced with other icons as needed.

Installing:

This application was originally designed to be used with huwaei wirerless broadband modem software.

As such, we expected the application to be run the the installation directory of your huwaei modem connectivity software.

When run for the first time, it will prompt for the following:

  1. The filename of the huwaei modem software (this is usually customised by your ISP);
  2. The name of the Connection Prompt (when above is started and connect button pressed), while dialing and establishing connection;
  3. The name of the dialup connection to use (application will use this name to dial the internet, so if its wrong, manual editing of the INI may be required;

These settings will be saved to the INI for future use.

Running:

A shortcut can be added to this startup folder, to make the application automatically start on Logon.

See customising section for available commandline arguements.

Customising:

Icons

If the following Icons exist in the same directory, application will use them by defualt, else use its internal ones:
  icon.ico (replaces the icon taken from Huwaei connection app (used in tray on startup only)
   green.ico (used when successful connection is made and all is good)
   orange.ico (used while connection is being established)
   red.ico (used when disconnection is detected)

Command Line Arguements

Only one commandline arguement exists at present:
   Startup (puts application to sleep for 60 seconds … this helps with old slower computers, makes sure they have time to start esentual apps).

License:

Secure Technology Group is proud to provide above program as a free open source application.

It is provided under the GPL license (version 3 or later).

This application is provided in the hope that it may be useful.
It is provided without warranty, implied or otherwise.

Testing and background:

I have several relatives that are not so good with computers, but like the internet.
I managed to get them to agree to automatically dialing the internet on computer startup.
This means that remote PC support is fairly painless.
After this application was setup for family, i had a need to maintain a RAS connection on a remote system (that took 2 hours drive for the nearest tech to get to). so this application was redeveloped to create a RAS connection, rather then relying on Huwaei modem software (and pressing buttons within it)

Testing has been done on windows 2000 & XP machines, although Vista & 7 should work fine also.

UltraVNC Website Redevelopment

The UltraVNC Website was developed by the core developer of UltraVNC over several years. It served its purpose at the time, and is a credit to its creator. The problem is, that the website is outdated, and is rather confusing. It needed a way of being updated quickly, easily and remotely. A CMS (Content Management System) was decided as the best option.

The successful CMS required the following:

  • Currently under Development
  • Large Community with many plugins & Support
  • User Friendly & Search Engine Friendly URL’s
  • Caching system to save high CPU, memory & mysql usage

Myself and other members of the forum have used Joomla CMS several times before, and it definetly ticks all the above boxes. We setup a Joomla! test site that we can use to start copying content from the old site, and eventually, this will allow several people to maintain the website, update as required, and submit new articles for approval as required.

The Main requirements for the project are:

  • The Design of the website should remain similar to the current one.
  • The Design shall maintain the current locations for the advertisments, as they earn money to help pay for hosting fees & continued project developement.
  • The final product shall not require too much system resources from the dedicated server, allowing for peak usage periods.

We Created a Design that deviated somewhat from the origianl website design, but that we felt created a more professional feel.

AANSW Website Updates

Work on the Amputee Association of NSW website is finally underway, and content additions should be finished by the AGM 2009.

www.amputeesnsw.org.au

The Website has taken quite some time to get sorted (mainly due to the learning curve needed by association members, for such a large site), but now, with the help of a dedicated volunteer, things are getting steered in the right direction.

Plans for the future:

  • Adjust the Template with several alterations (make Association name larger and centered in header, Phone number on all pages, Footer Menu)
  • Add relevant content articles
  • Add a gallery for future event images.
  • Add CRM functionality
  • Implement SEO functionality

AANSW Website Launch

Amputee Association of NSW website is officially launching today.

www.amputeesnsw.org.au

Today we have been invited to the AGM for the amputee association of NSW, to give a speech on the progress of their website and to introduce members (and member organisations) to the website, and explain how to join, and how they can use its features for the benefit of all.

SCPrompt – Open Source Remote Destop Support Tool

SCPrompt is a versatile Open Source Remote Support Application by SecureTech. SCPrompt allows a person to create a customised Remote Support Tool for their company.

The Roll Your Own (RYO) download, allows you to create your own EXE to send to clients (or upload to your website) which when executed, creates a “reverse” VNC connection (Server tries to connect to listening Viewer).

For those that just want to test it before going through the hassle of learning it, try the “Ready To Roll” version, which allows manual entry of address and port details for easy connection.

Ready-To-Roll (Manual)

DOWNLOAD SCPrompt Remote Support RTR (Manual) Version NOW.

Picture of ‘Manual’ SCPrompt application with ID selected (enabling ID input box).
Picture of ‘Manual’ SCPrompt application without ID selected (disabling ID input box).

Roll-Your-Own … (with Builder and Settings Manager)

Download RYO version

This application (and the associated builder) allows you to create a package to support XP, vista, windows 7,8 &10 without limitations (see below).

Connection names and settings are read from INI settings (Manual is last in list, unless disabled), so no editing of source code is needed… just setup the INI (using included settings manager), run the builder and send to your clients.

Further customisation could include changing the Logo.ico, changing Logo(x).jpg (for each predefined connection) or manually editing the INI to get more advanced features.

Choose Your own GUI …

The Settings Manager allows you to choose your own

Combo

Radio

Button

Automatic

Manual Connections are still available (option to disable), but are last in the list … 

A nice count-down timer (for automatic connection to predefined connections) that has a transparent look, and is done with just two simple images, so it should be easy to customise … 

Different Logo’s can be used for each of the predefined connections or a default can be used if that’s all you want … just like above (examples in the RYO package). 

Each predefined connection can have its own image if wanted (maybe a photo for that personal touch) … i just modified the original sc image, keeping the same image size … so you can use your logo from the old SC if you want (after converting to jpg). 

Manually altering the “scprompt.INI” settings is fairly simple (if the settings manager doesn’t suit your needs), the “scprompt_example.ini” file has some explainations on the settings … 

Setup

See the following post, or the included readme.txt for basic setup instructrions. 

Customising 

Translation instructions are (nearly) the same as for other vnc2me products, and are fairly easy to follow (i think). Languages will be automatically selected depending on the clients OSLang settings (windows default language) if no translation is found for the OSLang of windows, then Lang_English is selected as the default. 

Translations can be shared in reply posts of this forum, or on the vnc2me website (you choice). As new translations are required (due to new features), i will “Private Message” the user who originally translated. 

SCPrompt disables Vistas UAC & AERO while running (even while using old SCII version), but issues still surround vista with the OLD SC version, so it is advisable to use the newest server or SC when building. 

To use the old SC application (or an updated server version), simply move the “uvnc.exe” from the scprompt directory, and place the SC version into its place. (you can leave it named “winvnc.exe” or rename it to “uvnc.exe”) 

Improvements

  • Ability to build your own module using Server 1.0.8.0 (and above) or SCII, SCIII or SC 1.1.0.0 (if size is an issue) 
  • Choose the type of GUI you want to use (ComboBox, Radio Buttons, Push Buttons & automatic countdown timer) 
  • Has native UAC & AERO support on vista & Win7. 
  • Unlimited Predefined Connections (reads from INI) 
  • Desktop wallpaper is restored after application exit. (even if winvnc application closes incrrectly) 
  • MouseSonar is turned on (While scprompt is running), allowing a visual prompt when VNC connection successfully established. 
  • Background color and text color is settable from “scprompt.INI” 
  • customisable Logo?.jpg for each connection (or one for all … you choose) 
  • GUI Text and all Text Prompts are read from “v2m_lang.INI” & “scprompt.ini”, allowing for complete cutomisation 
  • Multiple languages are automatically supported using “OSLang” of client, and above modification (allows you to use one application / download to support multiple languages)

Limitations

  • UVNC Server 1.0.8.0 (and above) needs settings to be created prior to use (defaults are given, but it is advisable to customise these) 
  • Two or more “SCNames” in the INI cannot be the same (as the first name would be selected from the INI when using certain GUI types) 
  • ‘Radio’ & ‘Button’ GUI types only support 10 predefined connections

Source Code 

All Current & future “Alpha” Releases contain the source code as an application resource, you can use res-hacker to view this.