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ACCESSIBILITY TOOLS: Convert PDF Files to MP3 Audio with RoboBraille.org

Hispanic blind man with disability. Visually impaired man using Digital Assistant and Ease of Access functions on mobile phone, voice typing to smartphone

RoboBraille is an e-mail and web-based service capable of automatically transforming documents into a variety of alternate formats for the visually and reading impaired.

RoboBraille.org Logo

Originally created by Synscenter Refsnæs (the National Centre for Visually Impaired Children and Youth in Denmark) and Sensus ApS, RoboBraille is accessible 24/7 as a self-service solution and is available free of charge for individual, non-commercial use. Users don’t need not register in order to use the service.

Step 1: Select your file and upload it to the server (max 64 MB). Multiple files of the same type may be selected. Supported file types are .DOC, .DOCX, .PDF, .PPT, .PPTX, .TXT, .XML, .HTML, .HTM, .RTF, .EPUB, .MOBI, .TIFF, .TIF, .GIF, .JPG, .JPEG, .BMP, .PNG, .PCX, .DCX, .J2K, .JP2, .JPX, .DJV and .ASC

Step 2: Specify the target format of your document. The following formats are available: MP3 audio, Braille, E-book or Accessibility conversion.

List of RoboBraille Output Formats

Step 3: If you specify Accessibility conversion, here are your options: Microsoft Word (.doc, .docx), RTF, Tagged PDF (text over image, image over text), Microsoft Excel (xls, xlsx), Windows Text (.txt) or HTML (.htm).

Robobraille Accessibility Options

Step 4: Add your email address then submit your file conversion request.

A Test

I uploaded an 11-page PDF file and requested a conversion to MP3. Within five minutes I received an email that contained a link to the MP3 file. I also received confirmation that the original PDF file I uploaded was deleted from the RoboBraille.org server.

Visit RoboBraille.org now and test the file conversion functionality.

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WEBSITE ACCESSIBILITY TESTING & REMEDIATION SERVICES: Mary Gillen is an experienced Website Accessibility Compliance Auditor and Remediator. She can test your website to determine if it meets accessibility standards:

WCAG 2.1: 312 checkpoints covering A, AA and AAA W3 accessibility guidelines
Section 508: 15 US federal guidelines covered by 59 accessibility checkpoints

Find out more about Mary Gillen’s Accessibility Testing & Remediation Services: Websites, PDFs, Office Docs & Videos

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ACCESSIBLE FORMS: Get a Head Start with Boilerform

Cartoon Illustration of HTML Forms

Boilerform is a little HTML and CSS boilerplate to give you a head start when creating accessible HTML forms.

By providing baseline BEM structured CSS and appropriate attributes on elements, Boilerform takes some of the pain away when building forms in the best possible way with a view to being dropped into most projects.

Take Boilerform for a test drive here.

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WEBSITE ACCESSIBILITY TESTING & REMEDIATION SERVICES: Mary Gillen is an experienced Website Accessibility Compliance Auditor and Remediator. She can test your website to determine if it meets accessibility standards:

WCAG 2.1: 312 checkpoints covering A, AA and AAA W3 accessibility guidelines
Section 508: 15 US federal guidelines covered by 59 accessibility checkpoints

Find out more about Mary Gillen’s Accessibility Testing & Remediation Services: Websites, PDFs, Office Docs & Videos

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ACCESSIBILITY TESTING TOOLS: Microsoft Accessibility Insights

Microsoft Logo on Web page

Microsoft’s two Accessibility Insights applications are now available as open source code.

The two free tools, Accessibility Insights for Windows and Accessibility Insights for Web, help developers find and fix common accessibility issues early in the software development cycle. They can be used as stand-alone tools or can be integrated through their rules engines into a developer’s build process.

The applications are built on open-source axe technology from Deque Systems, which works with companies to make their websites and mobile apps accessible to people with disabilities. The Accessibility Insights applications are part of Microsoft’s larger inclusion efforts that also involve inclusive hiring and the Department of Homeland Security’s Trusted Tester program.

Read the rest of eWeek’s article Microsoft Now Offers Accessibility Insights as Open Source Code

Download Accessibility Insights for Windows and Accessibility Insights for Web now.

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WEBSITE ACCESSIBILITY TESTING & REMEDIATION SERVICES: Mary Gillen is an experienced Website Accessibility Compliance Auditor and Remediator. She can test your website to determine if it meets accessibility standards:

WCAG 2.1: 312 checkpoints covering A, AA and AAA W3 accessibility guidelines
Section 508: 15 US federal guidelines covered by 59 accessibility checkpoints

Find out more about Mary Gillen’s Accessibility Testing & Remediation Services: Websites, PDFs, Office Docs & Videos

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ACCESSIBLE VOICE: Conversational Search for All

Mobile Voice Search Illustration

We all know folks with physical, cognitive and learning disabilities who need to use voice recognition technology rather than type on a keyboard or use a mouse. Yet many more of us are conducting conversational searches via voice-activated services on our mobile phones and other devices.

Report: There are now over 50 billion voice searches every month. This number is expected to grow to over 200 billion by 2020 and account for over 50% of all searches. [SOURCE]

So how is this changing the keyword phrases we use when we use voice search?

In the article How conversational searches change your search strategy, author Sara Kleinberg reports that people are “searching with natural language in a manner reminiscent of asking for advice.”

Here are some examples:

Mobile searches for “do I need” have grown over 65%. For example, “how much do I need to retire,” “what size generator do I need,” and “how much paint do I need.”

Mobile searches for “should I” have grown over 65%. For example, “what laptop should I buy,” “should I buy a house,” “what SPF should I use,” and “what should I have for dinner.”

Mobile searches starting with “can I” have grown over 85%. For example, “can I use paypal on amazon,” “can I buy stamps at walmart,” and “can I buy a seat for my dog on an airplane.”

Sara offers this advice to website owners and marketers:

“Because consumers are growing more and more at ease with technology, consider using more natural language and creating intuitive experiences across all of your digital touch points. In search, after locking down the key words and phrases typically associated with your business, think beyond those to consider more conversational phrases that customers might be using to find you.”

Read the rest of How conversational searches change your search strategy

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WEBSITE ACCESSIBILITY TESTING & REMEDIATION SERVICES: Mary Gillen is an experienced Website Accessibility Compliance Auditor and Remediator. She can test your website to determine if it meets accessibility standards:

WCAG 2.1: 312 checkpoints covering A, AA and AAA W3 accessibility guidelines
Section 508: 15 US federal guidelines covered by 59 accessibility checkpoints

Find out more about Mary Gillen’s Accessibility Testing & Remediation Services: Websites, PDFs, Office Docs & Videos

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ACCESSIBLE E-COMMERCE: Five Online Shopping Problems Encountered by People with Disabilities

Pencil Drawing of Shopping Cart

In the article Tips For Online Shopping With Disabilities: A Website Accessibility Guide, you’ll discover some of the common online shopping problems experienced by people with disabilities.

These include:

  • Rarely can you see what clothing looks like on people sitting down. There’s the website, but what about the products themselves? For people who use wheelchairs, it can be hard to tell if clothing they see online would be comfortable or flattering in a wheelchair
  • Detailed, homogeneous descriptions can be difficult to find on some sites. According to surveys, only 49% of disabled people feel they have even some of the information needed or wanted while making purchasing decisions
  • Flash animations can be bad for both visually impaired and learning-disabled users, creating over-stimulation. Sometimes, there’s not much to be done for ads, but sites themselves can be overstimulating, too.
  • Subtitles and closed captions are a small thing to add to videos but sometimes ignored. Be sure to turn on closed captions on YouTube, as most websites use YouTube to host their videos.
  • Plain links called “links” or “click here” are not helpful to those who use screen readers. Luckily, labeling a link with the text “click here” is falling out of fashion

Read the rest of Tips For Online Shopping With Disabilities: A Website Accessibility Guide

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WEBSITE ACCESSIBILITY TESTING & REMEDIATION SERVICES: Mary Gillen is an experienced Website Accessibility Compliance Auditor and Remediator. She can test your website to determine if it meets accessibility standards:

WCAG 2.1: 312 checkpoints covering A, AA and AAA W3 accessibility guidelines
Section 508: 15 US federal guidelines covered by 59 accessibility checkpoints

Find out more about Mary Gillen’s Accessibility Testing & Remediation Services: Websites, PDFs, Office Docs & Videos

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ACCESSIBLE DESIGN: Make Your Mobile Buttons More Accessible for Color Blind Users

Cartoon of seven human hands holding mobile phones

In the article 5 Techniques to Make Mobile Call to Action Buttons Intuitive, author Anthony has a suggestion on how to make your buttons more accessible to color blind users.

“Color blind users won’t be able to tell the difference between the weight of buttons. They need something more than color to serve as a visual cue.”

Including an icon on the checkout button helps the color blind user better understand the Call to Action

“Giving the high priority action an icon adds the extra emphasis to set it apart,” he writes. ” When users scan, they often fixate on visual elements more than text. The icon ensures that all users will pay more attention to the high priority action than the other ones. If you removed the color and label, users would still be able to recognize the checkout button. The icon communicates checkout as well as the text does.”

Read more tips at 5 Techniques to Make Mobile Call to Action Buttons Intuitive.

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WEBSITE ACCESSIBILITY TESTING & REMEDIATION SERVICES: Mary Gillen is an experienced Website Accessibility Compliance Auditor and Remediator. She can test your website to determine if it meets accessibility standards:

WCAG 2.1: 312 checkpoints covering A, AA and AAA W3 accessibility guidelines
Section 508: 15 US federal guidelines covered by 59 accessibility checkpoints

Find out more about Mary Gillen’s Accessibility Testing & Remediation Services: Websites, PDFs, Office Docs & Videos

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ACCESSIBLE CODE: Create a Simple Tooltip Using ARIA & Vanilla JavaScript

Tooltip Message

Here’s a tutorial by Nicolas Hoffmann that can help you create an accessible simple tooltip system using ARIA and Vanilla JavaScript.

Based on ARIA Design pattern for Tooltips, there is no inline CSS/JavaScript injected, so your DOM stays clean.

Other features:

  • You can style it any way you want;
  • You can create namespaces for generated classes;
  • Every aspect of the script can be customized.

Read the tutorial and get the code for the accessible simple tooltip system.

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WEBSITE ACCESSIBILITY TESTING & REMEDIATION SERVICES: Mary Gillen is an experienced Website Accessibility Compliance Auditor and Remediator. She can test your website to determine if it meets accessibility standards:

WCAG 2.1: 312 checkpoints covering A, AA and AAA W3 accessibility guidelines
Section 508: 15 US federal guidelines covered by 59 accessibility checkpoints

Find out more about Mary Gillen’s Accessibility Testing & Remediation Services: Websites, PDFs, Office Docs & Videos

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ACCESSIBLE RECIPES: Happy St. Patrick’s Day

Woven Irish Flag

ST. PATRICK’S DAY CARB-LOADING RECIPES

The Gillen Coat of Arms is the knife and fork, so in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, I must share some family recipes that celebrate the day.

My grandmother Mary (known as “Nanny” and beloved by her nine grandchildren) was born in Ireland, and came to the U.S. when she was 16.

Here are two of her recipes I make in her honor every year:

Irish Soda Bread Slices in Wicker Basket

Irish Soda Bread

Ingredients:

4 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup currants or golden raisins
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine dry ingredients and raisins. Cut in butter. Beat eggs, add them to mixture, then add milk. Place in loaf-shaped pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Nanny’s Irish Apple Cake

Irish Apple Cake

Ingredients:

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter plus 1 tbsp butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
4 Granny Smith apples, cored, peeled, and diced (2 cups)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously grease an 8-inch round cake pan.

NOTE: The trick to a great apple cake or pie is to brown the apples in butter first.

Heat 1 tbsp butter in frying pan. Gently brown the apples.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg, browned apples, nuts, and vanilla and stir well. Sift in dry ingredients and mix well.

Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake until cake is lightly browned and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then un-mold and serve hot or cold with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Serves 10 to 12.

Enjoy! Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you all!

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WEBSITE ACCESSIBILITY TESTING & REMEDIATION SERVICES: Mary Gillen is an experienced Website Accessibility Compliance Auditor and Remediator. She can test your website to determine if it meets accessibility standards:

WCAG 2.1: 312 checkpoints covering A, AA and AAA W3 accessibility guidelines
Section 508: 15 US federal guidelines covered by 59 accessibility checkpoints

Find out more about Mary Gillen’s Accessibility Testing & Remediation Services: Websites, PDFs, Office Docs & Videos

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ACCESSIBILITY ANALYSIS: The WebAIM Million

detail shot of a calculator showing one million on itu00b4s display

In February 2019, WebAIM conducted an evaluation of the home pages for the top 1,000,000 web sites using the WAVE stand-alone API (with additional tools to collect site technology parameters). While this research focuses only on automatically detectable issues, the results paint a rather dismal picture of the current state of web accessibility.

Some results from the analysis:

  • 97.8% of home pages had detectable WCAG 2 failures
  • Low contrast text, below the WCAG 2 AA thresholds, was the most common accessibility issue detected.
  • 33.6% of all images (12.3 per page on average) had missing alternative text (not counting alt=””).
  • Skipped headings were present on 362,659 home pages (36.3% of all pages). 148,573 home pages (14.9%) had no headings present at all.
  • 24.4% of pages had links with ambiguous link text, such as “click here”, “more”, “continue”, etc.
  • Only 9.6% of home pages had a “skip” link present. However, 14.3% of these pages had skip links that were broken

Read the rest of The WebAIM Million Analysis

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WEBSITE ACCESSIBILITY TESTING & REMEDIATION SERVICES: Mary Gillen is an experienced Website Accessibility Compliance Auditor and Remediator. She can test your website to determine if it meets accessibility standards:

WCAG 2.1: 312 checkpoints covering A, AA and AAA W3 accessibility guidelines
Section 508: 15 US federal guidelines covered by 59 accessibility checkpoints

Find out more about Mary Gillen’s Accessibility Testing & Remediation Services: Websites, PDFs, Office Docs & Videos

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ACCESSIBLE CODE: Get the PayPal Bootstrap Accessibility Plugin

Bootstrap Logo in Purple Color

Using Bootstrap framework (version 3.x) on your website? You need to upgrade to Bootstrap 4 or use the PayPal Bootstrap Accessibility Plugin to make the default Bootstrap 3 components accessible for keyboard and screen reader users.

The plugin does not affect the performance or the visual layout of your website.

Get the PayPal Bootstrap Accessibility Plugin now.

[SOURCE]

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WEBSITE ACCESSIBILITY TESTING & REMEDIATION SERVICES: Mary Gillen is an experienced Website Accessibility Compliance Auditor and Remediator. She can test your website to determine if it meets accessibility standards:

WCAG 2.1: 312 checkpoints covering A, AA and AAA W3 accessibility guidelines
Section 508: 15 US federal guidelines covered by 59 accessibility checkpoints

Find out more about Mary Gillen’s Accessibility Testing & Remediation Services: Websites, PDFs, Office Docs & Videos

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