How to do inclusive and accessible tech

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- Formerly with Benetech: Thinks, and has worked a lot around accessibility of software and content for people with various disabilities. International projects localization of software.

- Believes that accessibility in different languages for both content and software is a part of basic accessibility.

--General interests by participants in how to make projects more accessible for audiences with not only different physical abilities, but also in different geographic locations, speaking different languages, and with varying levels of technological access, and access to other kinds of capital.

Accessibility Guidelines:

--Working with colleagues who have disabilities can give a much needed perspective on what the needs of that community are.

--Section 508--US gov guidelines on accessibility. Anyone working with US gov needs to ensure that projects follow guidelines if they want gov contracts.

--WC3 has WCAG accessibility guidelines.

--If you're blind for example, the usual ways of navigating on a device are very visual, but blind people use screen readers.

--The guidelines exist for how to design and build tools for these devices.

--Screen readers help enormously, but they aren't the only types of ways in which people with disabilities interact with devices.

--Low vision users, need designs that are in high contrast--design of content is very important.

--While guidelines exist, there can be exceptions as well. Some images don't need alt tags, especially if they're used more as graphic elements and not so much as useful content. Much of it depends on the context.

Accessibility: Other Examples

--Benetech did projects converting books into different formats--using dyslexic friendly fonts for example.

--Word level highlighting for screen readers.

--For other types of mediums: textbooks needs descriptions of visuals, like charts etc.

Translation & Localization

--Localization/ translation for sites and software tools is very important.

--Mirroring a site requires doubling amount of content entry.

--Debate exists about using human vs machine translation.

--Lots of tools exist, not just machine translation.

Organizing Translation & Localization --Managing translations is very difficult in terms of regional variations, number of languages and dialects.

--Agreement of key words, can be an issue. For example there are differences between terms used in Spanish from Spain and Mexico.

--Depends on reach of content, and audience.

--Some other issues that are of concern when dealing with translation:

--Legal review can be an issue.

--Political issues with use of language, translation.

--You need a workflow to deal with mitigating risk.

--Do we publish if something is not fully translated?

--How important, what are the risks if a translation is incomplete, or not correct?



--Audacity has a free online course on localization for software development.

--Mozilla and Google provides translator toolkits to help developers.

--A lot of tools exist that can build glossaries that will guide translators.

--Translation management tools.


--Accessibility tools do exist: --Contrast checkers. --WAVE accessibility checker. --Siteimprove paid service. Chrome bookmarklet /plugin that highlights issues with websites. --WCAG has resources

-Machine translation --The technology is now at a point where it's becoming better. Orgs have to make a decision about the trade-offs:

--You always need human review of the translation, especially from a security standpoint.

--Is there a security concern when using corporate cloud based products to translate sensitive documents?

--Prioritizing content.

--Limit of machine translation: the dictionaries may not have complete dictionaries--see Haitian Creole.

-Devices are changing, and things are getting shown on smaller screens. --Android and iOS have pretty good screen readers.

Content Resources

--Diagram Center: repo of accessible content. -- Books in different formats. --Some content in other languages.


--Localization Lab is a great resource for learning more about translation and localization, with a focus on digital security.


--Translation management tools. --Live website translation. --Uses git for managing translation process. --Manage translation of user interfaces.

--In the Bay Area there are many localization focused groups.

Organizational Issues

--Getting software projects translated and funded can be difficult since they change frequently.

--You have to prioritize what needs to be translated, into what languages.

--Do you focus on expanding your available work in current, existing languages (and audiences) or expand to new languages and perhaps reach new audiences?

--Transparency--should orgs specify if a translation was done by a human or machine?

--In some cases it matters, for example sensitive content.

--Volunteer translators:

--Initial translation can be crowdsourced to volunteers, or done by machine, but then vetted by skilled translator.

--Difficult to work on a deadlines.

--In an ideal world you would pay skilled translators. Though like everything else, machine translation has impacted the market for paid translators.

Accessibility for those with lack of access to tools/tech

--Larger issue regarding even how non-technical users can use the technology.

--Haiti case study

--Most people speak Creole, French even though most of the software is in English.

--Need to provide IT skills for people to build capacity.

--Low bandwidth also limits access.

--Cost of technology also a factor.

--All US gov websites are moving towards having a universal accessibility icon, that opens a accessibility menu.

--Many companies would actually benefit if they made their products meet accessibility standards since they would be able to apply for government contracts.

--Usability testing would be helpful with testers who have various disabilities.

--Usually this is an afterthought.

--Unless you focus on integrating accessibility, and making it part of the initial development process it won't be integrated into the product at all.

--Case Studies: Disappearances

--Guatamalen police archives project

--Security implications -- Human rights data analysis group.

--People want to find data, but usability vs. security issue.

--How to protect people from emotional impact of the content that they receive.