[edu-team] [NLedu] Researching accessibility of Silverlight-based websites

Rikard Fröberg rikard at ffkp.se
Wed Jan 4 15:48:34 CET 2012

On Wed, 2012-01-04 at 15:08 +0100, Guido Arnold wrote: 
> Hello all,
Hi all, 
> Thank you Rikard for your input!
n.p. :) 
> On Wed, Jan 04, 2012 at 01:09:24PM +0100, Rikard Fröberg wrote:

> > In hope of not preaching to the choir,
> Yes, you were :) But that's totally fine, because the info you
> provided was exactly what we where looking for.
> As part of the NLedu campaign [2], we were looking if there is an
> additional argument against the use of Silverlight. We were hoping
> that we could say: "You are not only excluding FS users, you are also
> excluding people with disabilities which you are not allowed to do." 

If they use inaccessible silverlight code, they are actually excluding
people with disabilities. My bet is that they are (based on how common
it is that _any_ platform is inaccessible).

> The disability argument would have had more weight, because as I
> understand it, there is a law in the Netherlands that mandates
> accessibility for public institutions. 
> So, if it is technically possible to make Silverlight accessible,
> there is no _legal_ argument anymore which only leaves the economical
> argument you mentioned that the development/maintenance costs are higher. 
I guess you could use the legal argument (educational websites should be
accessible) as a levarage; if they find out that you actually could make
silverlight accessible but it would cost them much more time and $ the
morale is that they should have gone with plain HTML to begin with.

Point them to the accessibility resources for silverlight and demand/ask
that they re-code their applications accordingly or move to some other
platform. Could that work?

We still need to figure out how to measure whether the silverlight pages
are indeed accessible or not, and I'm afraid I have no clue as to how to
do that other than, as you suggested, get a focus group to actually
manually test it.

One approach could have been to actually investigate the source code and
look for accessibility pitfalls, but we all know why that would be
hard ;-)

Here are some additional resources, however, that might or might not
help in determining silverlight accessibility:

1. W3C - Silverlight techniques (technical):

2. Codeplex UI Accessibility Checker
("Microsoft 'Permissive' `License`")

3. Some coding tips for accessible silverlight apps:

4. FOSS tool for UI tests (including Silverlight):

> Thanks again and greetings,

> Guido

Rikard Fröberg, Projektledare
Föreningen fri kultur & programvara (FFKP) http://ffkp.se/
+46 31 780 21 66 | +46 7 39 15 59 23 (mobil)
http://fscons.org/ | http://evenemangforalla.se

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