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Accessibility and the Web 2.0

While the importance of websites and social pushes brands in the region to invest in online, there is still a stark need for more deference to accessibility

Accessibility has always been, and continues to be, a central part of all concept and product discussions. When it comes to the web, however, it tends to be avoided completely. Although there are plenty of examples showing that an accessible site can increase a company’s ROI and highlight its position as an advocate for corporate social responsibility (CSR), many company developers don’t even consider accessibility for fear of being disconnected from evolving trends in web technologies.

In this region in particular, there has been much attempt at making products and services accessible to people with disabilities. From annual conferences to special needs programmes, the Abu Dhabi government continues to keep the issue of accessibility at the forefront of product development and sales in the region. However, unlike the US, which requires government websites to be accessible, a law has not yet been passed in the UAE with respect to the legal aspects of website and digital accessibility. What is recommended is that web developers embrace the accessibility concept from the beginning, given that with the way the region is progressing, it is high likely that a law will be passed in the near future, making it easier to comply if accessibility elements are already in place.

The Internet has been a boon for the disabled users who can really rely on the technologies to do their work. Developers ignoring the disabled users are risking not only their market share but also the hopes of millions.

What is accessibility?

Accessibility is used in the online industry to define content that is made accessible for disabled users, those suffering from physical disabilities or special needs, including visual and or physical impairment. When we talk about content available on websites, accessibility means the ability to browse through a site without using a mouse, but with the keyboard only.

Generally, accessibility refers to how a product, service or environment is available to as many people as possible and its ability to be accessed by people with disabilities, often with the use of assistive technology.

It’s important to mention that accessibility is not to be confused with usability, which refers to the extent to which a product can be used by specified users to achieve specified goals.

Key facts

  • Over a billion people, about 15% of the world’s population, have some form of disability.
  • Between 110 million and 190 million people have significant difficulties in functioning.
  • Rates of disability are increasing due to population aging and increases in chronic health conditions, among other causes.

Source: UN Reports

Other advantage of accessibility

Another important reason why making website accessible is important is that such sites can be viewed in JAWS reader, which in turn makes it easy for search engines to “crawl” the content and index it.

Most of the search robots use the same principles as accessibility devices. For example, the semantic use of HTML tags will influence the content and structure of the website, Alt tags for images make it easy for search engines to index the images for specific keywords and so on.

Implementing Accessibility

There is no quick way to implement accessibility. In fact it’s not so much a process as a practice that has to be put in place from the very beginning of web development – from choosing the colour palette for a website to the very end point of form validation. It has to be incorporated in every step of the web development process.

Accessibility Standards

The current accessibility standards have been established by the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, which has a quick reference guide that is available on [http://www.w3.org/WAI/WCAG20/quickref/], detailed methods can be found at the following link [http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/]. Although these are basic standards, they are suitable for any website.

There are other detailed accessibility guidelines available that are specifically for AJAX-based dynamically driven sites; these are called WAI-ARIA. It’s no surprise that internet giant Google is one of the pioneers using ARIA standards on their web services like Gmail , Google Docs, etc…

Quick accessibility guidelines

The W3AG 2.0 guidelines are comprised of four different benchmarks:

  1. Perceivable – Web content is made available to the senses – sight, hearing and/or touch.
  2. Operable – Interface forms, controls and navigation are operable.
  3. Understandable – Content and interface are understandable.
  4. Robust – Content can be used reliably by a wide variety of user agents, including assistive technologies.

There are tools like WAVE  that come handy when checking accessibility but they can’t be as accurate as human evaluation in some cases, since most of the accessibility guidelines address questions about the understandability of an element like alt tag for an image. Apart from the guidelines as a final resort by making an alternative version of website it is possible to meet the accessibility criteria by providing the accessible content. But Emphasize, Final Resort.

Let’s make the web accessible!

Reposted From : Flip Media’s Website

Learning Sorting algorithms through Dance

Its really amazing that how people can convey sorting algorithms by Dance. No one would not have loved to learn sorting this way. Should anyone have interest to learn or refresh the sorting method then refer the videos. It will explain the very basic of the sort methods without need to sit in classes for hours.

Created at Sapientia University, Tirgu Mures (Marosvásárhely), Romania. The interesting factor is each sort is created with different style of folk dances like romanian, hungarian. I’m loving it 🙂

Bubble Sort

Insertion Sort

Shell Sort

Selection Sort

Installing DLNA Media Server For Mac & Windows – Stream Media to PS3, Android thru Wi-Fi

I bought a Samsung Galaxy S Mobile last week. Since then i was playing around with it. When I saw my iPad friends using Air Video to stream files from Mac to iPad in Wi-Fi i thought may be have to wait until they release for Android platform. Then i remembered i saw a allShare application in Samsung which showed it can play from server..So is that it?? Googled for it and found that its wat i was looking for.. its called DLNA. the service which can stream media from the compatible DLNA devices otherwise called as uPnP Technology. Samsung Galaxy S is DLNA certifed by default.Yupee.That was superb.

So wats next.. Setting up my mac.. Thats where i told to myself i should have been using Windows 7. Yeah it comes with built-in DLNA you dont have to install any specific softwares for that, Windows Media Centre itself is more than enough. Check MSDN Blog for how to enable DLNA in Windows 7.

Good luck with it but am a mac user i have to find a solution 😛 . Again Google. Got so many softwares for mac still in infancy state and nothing had a good review. so it is our choice to select. There are some paid softwares like Nullriver MediaLink, Eyeconnect. But started using Android, why dont give a try for a Open Source.? Then i landed on something called Serviio and Fuppes.I never got Serviio to work . I needed Java 6 for serviio to work unfortunately Leopard doesnt have Java 6. So I proceeded with Fuppes. So here is how to install Fuppes on mac. Though you can run the windows version using wineBottler but its good to go with the native always. Just follow these steps to install.

  • Install Xcode, It will either be on a seperate CD or included on the Mac OS DVD.
  • Download MacPorts from http:www.macports.org and install it.
  • To install Fuppes You need to install the dependent libraries first.

    • Mandatory Packages – subversion, pkgconfig, pcre, taglib, libxml2
    • Optional Packages – ffmpeg, simage, imagemagick, lame, libvorbis, flac, mpeg4ip, faad2
  • Install each these packages with the following command.

    $ sudo port install [packagename]

  • Download Fuppes distribution from the repository.

    $ svn co https://fuppes.svn.sourceforge.net/svnroot/fuppes/trunk fuppes

    This will check out the source from SVN to the folder fuppes

  • Now navigate to the folder you checked out Fuppes.

    $ cd fuppes

  • Execute the following command

    $ CFLAGS="-I/opt/local/include -L/opt/local/lib" ./configure --enable-libavformat

    If there is an error for missing packages check the list of dependencies and make sure all of them installed. In case if you have them installed some other than dependencies location Change your PKG_CONFIG_PATH Variable accordingly. ( For me it happened for sqlite3 🙂 )

  • Make the executables

    $ make

  • Install the built files:

    $ sudo make install

  • So we are done with installation now. To start service just type

    $ fuppes

You should see this screen now.

Fuppes Success Screen

Fuppes Success Screen

In case if you see this error message “Cannot bind to the socket” ( i did 😉 ) you might be running other uPnP services same as fuppes try quitting that and run the fuppes command again it should work.

The best thing in the Fuppes is you can configure each and everything as per your need with the fuppes.cfg file.

Stop the fuppes when started first time so that it will create you config in the $HOME/.fuppes/fuppes.cfg with which you can customize everything, for more information on customizing Fuppes.
fuppes.cfg file by default should be in the home folder of your system inside a hidden folder .fuppes. To see the hidden files in your mac execute these commands

$ defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles TRUE
$ killAll Finder

To revert things back to normal change True to False and execute again.

So we have now everything configured lets get this thing to work. Open a browser and type the webinterface given while starting the service in my case it was (Check the screenshot). You will get the options to add your directories. Add them and give some time to index the directories. All set now. Fire up your allShare application in the mobile. Select Play files from server on my phone. In the following screen you will see your mac listed as a server browse through the folders you added and the enjoy the streaming :). For further reference please refer wiki for Fuppes.

If you dont want to go through all these steps check this one TVMobili i found that simple and powerful.

Naviflix – First ever Iphone App For Movie Buffs in Middle East Launched

Flip Media, largest interactive media agency in the middle east launched just today the first movie seeker’s iPhone app.
Naviflix was built to do one thing, and do it well: help movie buffs get to a movie they like as fast as possible. The app is now available on the iTunes App Store literally shows you what’s playing in theaters ‘near you’ utilizing iPhone’s location based technology to list movies in cinemas within proximity.

Naviflix Now Palying Screen

Naviflix Now Palying Screen

It comes with two tabs displaying, in alphabetical order, movies that are ‘Now Playing’, and ‘Cinemas’ allowing users to sift through their cinema of preference, or simply scroll through the long list of movies being showed (currently only in the UAE). Clicking on a listing will expand the view to display information specific to the movie including a trailer and snapshots from the movie itself.

Naviflix Showtimes Screen

Naviflix Showtimes Screen

The people from Flip Media haven’t forgotten their tweeple, Naviflix comes with built in social media support, allowing movie goers to share their experience on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter in order “to encourage users to engage in real time conversations” and “post films they are considering watching and get immediate feedback from friends.” said Imthiaz Rafique, Head of Flip’s Mobile Applications Development.

Application has an excellent web version too at Naviflix . Naviflix has its twitter updates at @naviflix as well.

The service targets the mobile phone industry in the region, at this time only supporting the iPhone and a number of smart phones even promising support for the holy iPad during the months to come.
“The UAE is the region’s second-largest film market, with over 200 cinema screens, and gross box office receipts of US$74 million.” stated Dinesh Lalvani, Managing Partner of Flip Media, ” Those figures, coupled with the fact that increasingly people are accessing information through smart phones, makes mobile apps a strategic touch point to reach consumers.”

According to its creators, the Naviflix app has been carefully designed to be able to integrate with any cinema’s mobile ticketing system giving it the future option to team up with cinemas throughout the region to let users buy tickets making it get you what you want, where you want without even having to stand in line.

Naviflix Available in the App Store

Mydubaimetro.com is live..!!! Flip Media’s Just another contribution to public

Dubai , With residents eagerly awaiting the launch of the Dubai Metro, Dubai’s biggest infrastructure project, Flip Media today unveiled Mydubaimetro.com, a non profit portal designed and developed to provide residents of Dubai with a practical and usable guide to all things related to the Metro.

The one stop shop website offers key information and helpful tools such as a journey planner and fare calculator, information about each station stop as well as downloadable pocket maps.

“We saw a gap in the market where people, including ourselves, were curious and hungry for more information about the Metro,” said Yousef Tuqan Tuqan, CEO, Flip Media.

My Dubai Metro | The unofficial Dubai Metro community resource website

Dinesh Lalvani, Managing Partner of Flip added, “We’re bringing the best of web and technology to help people discover not only the basic information about the services available, but also help connect with fellow commuters. The idea is to make the metro not just about the destination but also about the journey and experience.”

The community portal gives users to post comments, blog and share photos and useful tips about the metro. The website is scalable, allowing for the addition of new technology and tools.

Microsoft introduces Web Expression SuperPreview

Microsoft has launched “Expression Web SuperPreview”, the name is typical of Microsoft products, it’s technically self-explanatory but mind-numbingly bland and ridiculously long. Guess Microsoft needs a SEO technic seriously.

Web Expression SuperPreview

This product comes as result of Microsoft’s curiosity in the web practices. Its almost does the same as Meer Meer. But IE’s engine would be interesting part in this. Hopefully nobody can understand IE better than Microsoft.

Well, whats my part in this? Why should i be very excited writing this ? Yes , I am very interested as its gonna be a important tool for QA Analysis where the browser comparison is the challenging task to run between the browsers , virtual machines and stuffs. Here too i guess there are no options to switch between OS. But still it makes sense to use it as a important tool.

One of the best tool i love in firebug is the pixel perfect, with which we can overlay images and compare the layouts. Unexpectedly that has been a part of this Expression Web SuperPreview (Again a long name 😉 ).

Yet to have a hand-on this tool. Will update things as i get used to this.

And more or less Microsoft has taken a step to give a chance to convince developers to use its products , Who have troubled till date with developing sites for IE. 🙂

Download Expression Web SuperPreview Trial . Have fun..

India’s new national anthem – Tum Chalo..

The new national anthem of future India, ‘Tum chalo… ‘ Sung by Shankar Mahadevan , Composed by Shankar-Ehsan- Loy , part of the Times of India’s   ‘Lead India’ , An India poised initiative which is another reality show. The Video has lots of meaning you will notice it when see it, Just sit back and watch  .. Feel the heat of the Indian future ..

Lead India – India’s New National Anthem

Atlantis Hotel Launched in Dubai Amidst Global Crisis

Atlantis, luxurious project in the middle east with grand concepts and themes has been launched by throwing the region’s extravaganza party ever held.

“We built something that’s quite extraordinary. We’ve got to tell the world about it,” said Sol Kerzner, the South African billionaire hotelier and casino tycoon.

The party has been witnessed by some 2000 celebirities and other global business giants to have a glimpse of the luxurious hotel in Dubai. The Aqua theme which is flourished by the marines is the centre of attraction of the hotel. The fireworks which was the extreme end of entertainment in the party with pyrotechnics highlighting the border across palm,10 times greater than what happened in Beijing’s Olympics,said to be can illuminate the shape of the palm when pictures taken from space. And the above video which shows the fireworks proved the statement .

And this raises one question in all mind.. ‘ What happened to the economic crisis ? Dint it affected it? ‘ , ‘you have to dream big to get a big result’ this is the reply from the Casino tycoon. Keep Rocking ….!!!

My step to professional blogging

After trying out so many free blogging options I got really sick and tired of all of them. Now I got my own domain and going start blog all my heart content here. Will update soon with more information in what I do every day. Please drop by and have fun 😉