AbilityNet host Accessibility 2.0. Keynote by Christian Heilmann.

In my opinion the *Really* cool thing about this conference is the Deaf awareness talks. The Deaf community seem to miss out in all the talk about web accessibility. Good on AbilityNet

The UK’s only Web 2.0 accessibility conference

Join us and some of the world’s leading experts in a day packed with inspiration and practical insights.

This is a conference for all web professionals who want to create web applications and sites that work for everyone.

Since our last conference in 2008 it’s been an exciting year for web accessibility and Web 2.0. Following on from our event Christian Heilmann developed the excellent (and of course very accessible) EasyYouTube player and also organised Scripting Enabled, an ‘un-conference’ that brings developers together to create hacks for inaccessible websites. That’s why we’ve invited Christian to be our keynote speaker this year.

Conference highlights include:

  • Keynote: Finite Incantatem – neither technology nor accessibility is dark magic Christian Heilmann
  • Inclusive Design Mark Boulton
  • Understanding Deafness: History, Language and the Web Lisa Herrod
  • Accessibility with HTML 5 and WAI ARIA Steve Faulkner
  • Accessibility beyond the desktop panel discussion with Henny Swan (Opera), Veronika Jermolina (AbilityNet), Damon Rose (BBC Ouch) plus more
  • Silverlight Accessibility with Saqib Shaikh (Microsoft)
  • To comply or not to comply? That is the question panel with Jon Gooday (AbilityNet), Bim Egan (RNIB), Mark Boulton (Mark Boulton Design)
  • Considerations for Accessible Mobile Application Graphical User Interface (GUI) Design with Greg Fields (Blackberry)

BSL interpreters available on request.

Accessibility 2.0 2008

Our first conference featured a host of ground breaking issues such as rich media for people with learning disabilities and the perils of user generated content. Speakers included Christian Heilmann, Jeremy Keith, Steve Faulkner and Ian Forrester.

Podcasts and transcripts are available on the archive accessibility 2.0 2008 site.



XHTML – Most common page validation errors and what they mean.

Quite often I’m asked to review a client’s website for accessibility. One of the first things I always do despite the desired conformity level is to validate the (X)HTML (validation is a prerequisite of “aa” conformance).

Here are the most common error’s i come across when validating to XHTML.

  • Elements and attributes in upper case. All element names, attributes name and values should be in lower case to meet XHTML specification.
  • Missing attributes. XHTML requires certain attributes to be specified. Such as: type on script tags.
  • Depreciated elements/attributes specified. XHTML has a smaller subset of html attributes due to the separation of presentation syntax to style sheets. All height, margins and other style related values should be move to style sheet.
  • Closing tags: All tags should be close to ensure validation. Inline tags such as img and br should always be self close. Ie. <br /> and <img /> As this will case further validation issues down the document tree as the browser miss-interoperates future closing tags.


It’s important to ensure that you page meets it’s declared doctype as some errors prevent the page rendering correctly which then impacts the accessibility of the site and may in some cases prevent the site from rendering at all.

Other than the accessibility considerations, a page that doesn’t validate indicates to me that a developer/designer isn’t aware enough of the implications of the code they are writing, typically the page was created in a rush and I’m less likely to see any of the more advanced approaches to accessibility, I would consider essential for a good user experience.

Caveat – In some instance a page can be invalid but still accessible. It used to be that .net added attributes to its generated HTML willy nilly. As i say this is an indicator to do some more in-depth analysis.