Sunday, July 12, 2009

It's me, James J. D.!

Work has picked up a little. I'm helping find information relevant to programmers who want to develop accessible applications  (which should include anyone wanting to sell to the federal government).  Specifically, I'm looking at methods to make web applications (Facebook, Youtube etc) which use Ajax accessible.  Ajax is the buzzword used to refer to the moderately advanced computer magic involved in popping up that menu of search suggestions on youtube, or sliding search results into view on Facebook.  Since only parts of the screen are being refreshed, a screen-reader (which renders pages in a flat static view -- think of a MS Word document) don't know what to do. Fortunately the W3C has been working on a specification they call ARIA (Accessible rich internet applications?) which gives screen-readers the info they want. A chunk of text can be tagged as an alert so a screen-reader knows to read it as soon as it pops up on the screen. There's more but I'm not going to spoil it for you.

I passed up an AAPD-lead voyage to the National Portrait Gallery to take care of daily business and jaunt over to the Pentagon City mall with co-intern-turned-friend David McKee.  As we're both blind (I'm a total while he can see some shapes and lines) it was fun navigating around such a vast space occupied mostly by other shoppers and intriguing smells and sounds.  We had to catch ourselves when we asked each other which store we were looking at or what we were near; both of us usually travel with sighted companions.

Some other stuff also happened. It may or may not have been fun and/or educational.

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