Monthly Archives: November 2011

CHALLENGE: Accessibility know-how needs to go mainstream with developers. NOW.

This is the internationally recognized symbol ...

Image via Wikipedia

Relatively, there isn’t a lot of great information about accessibility out there. You really have to seek it out. How many of you know what JAWS is? After popping up IE6/IE7/IE8 et. al. to ensure website compatibility, do you also check your content in a screen reader?

I would argue that it’s more important to make a site accessible than pretty for older browsers. For some people, an accessible Internet literally makes a world of difference. Although I’m a backend programmer, I’m still ashamed at how little I know. How about you?

Much effort is going into the semantics of HTML5 for the purpose of accessibility. I’ve been toying with this idea for a couple years, but now the time has come to ask for your help. Let’s work together and fix this oversight in our knowledge. As a community, we can work together to change the world.

First, let’s agree on a Global Accessibility Awareness Day. This will be a day of the year where web developers across the globe try to raise awareness and know-how on making sites accessible.

On this day, every web developer will be urged to test at least one page on their site in an accessibility tool. After fixing up the page, they are urged to blog about what they changed and inspire others to follow suit.

To plan for this day, meetup organizers, like myself, will be urged to plan an accessibility talk. If you can get someone who uses JAWS or a screen reader to attend and educate, this will be a nice bonus. Perhaps a hackathon is appropriate.

If you speak about web development, you are urged to prepare talks on this topic. You are among the most influential people in our industry.

If anyone reading this knows of organizations that would like to be involved in this effort, please help hook it together.

Let’s pick a day, tentatively, May 9th. Global Accessibility Awareness Day.

So what can you do today?

Spread the word. Provide suggestions; e.g. what would be a good hashtag for this effort? If you’re in the meetup scene, start planning. If you’re not in the meetup scene, then join.




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Update on proposed header for public computers

I’ve proposed a new header recently for the HTTP spec, with the suggestion of X-Public-Computer as the name. It turns out “X-” is deprecated. So I guess it should be “Public-Computer”.

Why Groupon sounded better than it was

I sell widgets for $10.
For Groupon I must sell at $5.
I must give Groupon $2.50.
I’m left with $2.50 to cover costs.

Do I need Groupon to get customers with a 75% off sale?

Ensuring jQuery plays nicely with Facebook’s API loaded asynchronously via LAB.js

Facebook logo

Image via Wikipedia

I’m beginning to play with jQuery and Facebook registration and stumbled upon a potential problem I wanted to nip in the bud. Jeff Dean @PivotalLabs wrote it up here, along with his solution.

In essence, if both js libraries are loaded asynchronously, do you wait for jQuery’s document ready? Or Facebook’s init? If it loads in the wrong order, you’re screwed.

Well, with LAB.js, why not load everything asynchronously and force one to go first? That was my solution, which has the benefit of using a loader for all your js, speeding everything up. Just for fun, I’m adding jQueryUI to the mix. You can’t use the UI with the parent library.

Here is the code in a gist. Keep in mind, I’m more of a backend programmer so don’t be shy about commenting with improvements or corrections.

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Proposal for new HTTP Header: X-Public-Computer

Google Logo officially released on May 2010

Google turned up nothing for this idea, so as far as I know, it is original.

If you go to banking websites, you’ll frequently find a checkmark upon logging in to the effect of “Remember username”. If you go to Quora, you’ll see they have an interesting pattern, where you click on “Log in without a password”. See screenshot here:

Let me log in without a password

Image by joedevon via Flickr

What happens if you log out? You get a picture of yourself with the chance to log back in with one click. See screenshot:

User RegistrationI think this is great. But if you’re on a public computer, it would be better if this not be the default.

In addition to these use-cases, there’s a design pattern getting popular called “Lazy Registration“. You might recognize it from Essentially, as soon as you visit a site with a browser, a cookie is generated and the server will track things like your shopping history. Once you’re ready to buy, this history can be saved into a permanent account if you register.

Wouldn’t it be nice if at Kinkos, hair salons, hotels and restaurants providing computers for public internet browsing, they could set up their browser to send a custom HTTP X-Public-Computer header? Then sites like Quora and Amazon could look for that header and change the default behavior.

Is this a good idea?

If the post gets positive feedback perhaps I’ll write a browser plugin to add the header so we can all play with it on our websites.

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