Wednesday, December 10, 2014

New Department of Justice Settlement Increases Scope of Web Accessibility Compliance

A recent United States Department of Justice (DOJ) settlement with Ahold USA., Inc. and Peapod, LLC (Peapod) expands the scope of compliance with Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which includes providing standards for accessible public accommodations.

Originally, public accommodations were defined as those the public could physically access, however, the DOJ has expanded the definition since 1990. Increasingly, the DOJ has concluded that this includes commercial facilities and websites.

However, this most recent settlement agreement with Peapod is opening the doors of accessibility compliance to include websites that don't have a physical, or "brick and mortar," location for the customer to visit as well as mobile applications that customers can download and/or purchase.

This means that if you build a cool game for a mobile device or even a better functioning email app than the one installed by the device's manufacturer, despite not having a physical location to serve the customers downloading/purchasing your app, you may be sued for discrimination against individuals with disabilities.

This comes on the heels of a Section 508 Refresh for the US which is expected to occur in 2015. Section 508, an amendment of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, had its last standards written in 2000. These standards are based on a larger encompassing Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0, or WCAG 1.0, authored by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

It was a bold move to attempt to define standards that would give all individuals with disabilities access to electronic and information resources given the technology of that time. It has, in fact, been determined to include many holes to access, barely serving individuals with disabilities beyond visual and hearing impairments and missing other ability issues, including cognitive and motor function impairments.

As the standards were implemented, the W3C reconvened to resolve these disparities as they were discovered and technology improved. WCAG 2.0 was recommended in 2008, and numerous countries jumped on board to accept WCAG 2.0 as their standards for accessibility compliance. While the US books still claim we follow the WCAG 1.0, the DOJ has made many rulings in favor of WCAG 2.0 in order to provide access to the entire disabled community, including this most recent settlement agreement with Peapod.

As an institution of higher education that receives both federal and state funding for the programs we provide our community, we must acknowledge these changes to the standards and be ready to comply to the upcoming standards in a reasonable amount of time. That time is growing shorter as these legal proceedings show we've been receiving a fair warning of the future of accessibility compliance. I have and always will provide any accessibility solutions based on WCAG 2.0 recommendations in order for us to move forward as quickly as possible with the conversion of our electronic and information resources and ensure we are providing access to all individuals no matter their abilities.


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Happy Holidays from Web Services!

We hope everyone has a joyful month, and let's hope for a little snow while we are on holiday break!

Happy Holidays from Web Services!

"Meet the Staff" Series - Morgan Hammond, Content Specialist

Name: Morgan Hammond
Morgan Hammond
Titles: Content Specialist
Length of time in Web Services at Tarleton: 3.5 years
Length of time in web occupations: 7 years
Top three areas of expertise: Content Strategy, User Engagement, and Copyright (particularly the TEACH Act)
Topic interests: Same as above with added interest in web usability, cultural diversity, photography, and animal production
Favorite thing about my job: Learning and the practical application of things you never thought you would use.  This field requires you to think on your toes. Just because something has worked in the past does not mean it still applies.  New and emerging technologies pose challenges to the way our students learn, engage, and transition into the real world and I am always intrigued by the way students relate to and use new technology.  My job never gets old!
Hobbies: Decorating! I love to redesign, reimagine, and repurpose everything from farm implements to things in our "junk drawer".  The launch and success of Pinterest only fuels this obsession with redoing!

A "Day in the Life":

  1. Email.  I wish I didn't feel the need to check it first thing because it sucks you in.  You know what I’m talking about.  If I'm not careful, I will "waste" away precious time analyzing new solutions to the world’s problems that arrive at my doorstep via email, even if the initial question is simple.  I strive to provide useful feedback concerning web content that may or may not have been the focus of the initial email.
  2. Check in with the web interns to see if there have been any new developments in project status, development requests, training needs and conversations within their colleges.  Sometimes I am able to help fill in a few details from ongoing projects or past work done with individuals to help in the completion of a project.
  3. Answer a few calls about Cascade questions or training.
  4. Lead an "official" Cascade training.  We typically provide a group training session once a week in which new maintainers learn the basics of Cascade.
  5. Review and/or comment on some of the interns’ work.  We can all use an extra set of eyes when publishing content to the web.  This way our interns learn as they go, can ask questions if they need to, and I learn more about their strengths and weaknesses.
  6. Make updates to a site upon request, while also looking for things like overall usability, accessibility and copyright compliance.
  7. Generate analytic reports upon request.
  8. Consult with a client or a teammate about my findings working on a new or existing site as it relates to a client’s expectations and audience or how it will affect my team from a programming or design standpoint. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Homepage 2.0 Goes Live Today

Web Services has been working on solving a number of bugs found on the homepage and making some improvements to the page interface for better functionality on all devices. After all the device testing, we are rolling out Homepage 2.0 today.

Homepage 2.0 Bug and Change List

  • Bug fixes for iPhones, Androids, and Windows Phones.
  • Fixed hanging on scrolling up and down the page on mobile versions.
  • Fixed expanding/contracting menus on mobile navigation.
  • Improved mobile navigation.
  • Fixed background page appearing underneath mobile menus and search fields.
  • New and smoother header reveal on scroll up and disappear on scroll down to provide more real estate for page content.
  • Mobile navigation appears and disappears smoother.
  • Improved tabbing through items and navigation on the page.
  • Improved form field validation checking.
  • Improved load time.
Should you discover any problems or have compliments on the changes (we love hearing when we've done something right), please Submit Feedback on the Changes for the Homepage.

Technical Bug and Change List

Mobile-Specific Bugs

  • iOS8
    • scroll unresponsive
    • mobile main Menu jitter
    • quick double tap closes menus
  • Windows Phone
    • search clicks register to other elements
    • scrolling in mobile windows phone during search scrolls down to main page

Sticky Header

  • added 3 states to the mobile and desktop header
  • transitions between hide, show, and -200px off-screen
  • major  CSS changes supporting elements to allow position relative as a default position when resting at the top

Lazy Load Bugs

  • $("[data-original]”) looped to itemize each element after the dynamic elements are loaded
  • fixed footer images not loading properly

Form Inputs and Validity in Webkit

  • HTML5 enforced validity for HTML5 compatible browsers
  • JS added code to enforce validation in Webkit.  
  • Webkit requires special CSS in iOS to display properly

Collapsify (for expanding/contracting menus, etc.)

  • modularized plugin for collapsing elements
  • optional and default closed and open elements
  • list item as a link not working

Sliderific (for sliding images, news, etc.)

  • now accepts position and button size

Top Nav Hide/Show Delay

  • same as banner code
  • code is in stacked template

Dynamic Menus

  • basic ul li elements
  • datetimestamp to pull fresh data every time minimize cached elements
  • Collapsify after instance load

Unified Mobile and Desktop Search

  • made search a separate div for flow and accessibility
  • moved search default position farther off-screen in CSS as default position in mobile
  • float width bug
  • float over login hides search
  • search font sizes
    • mobile
    • desktop

All Animations are 3D CSS

  • to top
  • audience and main mobile menus
  • search
  • sticky header


  • strange block appearing after search results elements removed
  • appears modal with a grey background on desktop
  • improved More button and flow functionality


  • only hide tags 
  • indent all code appropriate to width
  • removed deprecated code

Changes in Cascade Server

  • moved around elements in template and created new instances
  • added document.ready to Tarleton F.O.C.U.S. block in all stacked template modules
-Karole and Ernesto

Monday, December 1, 2014

[Video] Lessons @ Lunch: Accessible Emails

Despite saying I wasn't going to post this online, I decided (with the nudging of Daphne) to go ahead and post my very first Lessons @ Lunch, sponsored by the wonderful and patient folk at the Dick Smith Library. I thank Kim Schow, Cathy Wilterding, and Yvonne Mulhern for putting up with all my fidgeting and Chris Grantham for helping resolve all the technical difficulties that made this presentation start a bit late.

If you are looking for something in particular from the presentation, we do have most of the course materials available for your review (excluding the questions at the end of the session) on the Accessibility Website:
The session included demonstrations of assistive technology, or AT, that assists users with disabilities view emails and utilize them as well as potential uses by sighted users:
If you would like to use the Tarleton email template, contact Web Services for a copy.

As always, please feel free to contact me about any questions or concerns you may have about accessibility compliance.