Centre for Internet & Society

A workshop on web accessibility (for web developers only) in Bangalore

The Centre for Internet and Society (www.cis-india.org) and Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled (www.samarthanam.org) are organizing a workshop on web accessibility for web developers from the public and private sector from June 5 to 7, 2009. The workshop will take place at the Centre for Internet and Society office on Cunningham Road, Bangalore, between 09:30-17:30 hours each day.

The workshop seeks to bring together practitioners from the private and public sector from all across the country.  The primary aim of this workshop is to demonstrate the importance of creating accessible web sites and to educate the developers of government and private web sites on how to incorporate accessibility features into new as well as existing web sites.

The training will comprise both theory-oriented and practical sessions. The trainers will be specialists in various aspects of web accessibility. The main focus will be on WCAG 2.0 guidelines. The participants will be persons already involved in developing web sites with good knowledge of HTML, XML, CSS, etc.

In addition to training web developers in accessibility, the workshop will also serve as a platform for capacity building by training potential accessibility trainers. Many of the sessions will be documented as lessons on accessibility and put up on the CIS web site.  As part of one of the outcomes of the workshop, five inaccessible government web sites will be identified and taken up for retrofitting with accessibility features within the next few months.


To register, please email Nirmita Narsimhan at [email protected] or call 080-4092-6283. There is no registration fee.

National Policy on Electronic Accessibility

One of the primary endeavors of several disability organizations around the country is to have a national policy which governs electronic accessibility in India. CIS has been a forerunner in advocating for the policy and is actively working with the government in formulating the policy. As part of its advocacy efforts, CIS is also involved in capacity building through organizing workshops and awareness spreading in the private and public sectors.


Rahul Gonsalves

Rahul has been building accessible websites since 2005 (sample work at http://rahulgonsalves.com/projects/). He has been actively involved in promoting web and accessibility standards. He spoke at the first international  accessibility and technology conference in India,  Techshare 2008, where he made  a case for accessibility and conducted a workshop on retrofitting accessibility to existing websites, a concern for most large institutions with an existing online  presence (slides available at http://www.barrierbreak.com/events-conference/techshare_presentations2008.php#track3)

In September 2008, he presented a paper examining ways in which people with various impairments - both physical and mental – engage with online content, and demonstrated practical ways in which authors can make online content accessible at the National Conference on ICT for Differently Abled People. He is a supporter of the push for having a national policy for governing electronic accessibility in India.

Dinesh Kaushal

Dinesh has been involved in the area of accessibility, specifically product development throughout his career. He started with developing SAFA (Screen Access for All), which is the first Indian language screen reader. He worked independently on this for a year, during which time he  got a good understanding of the complete software development life cycle. SAFA was envisioned to facilitate reading and  writing in Indian languages at affordable cost, with a view to enabling  better jobs and education for persons with blindness and low vision. SAFA is a unique software as it has to interact with other applications to get information and present this information to the users in the format convenient for them. SAFA is currently being used by blind persons in their jobs, for their studies, and even for their exams and is available in 11 iIdian languages for which text to speech synthesizers are available. His subsequent work involved leading a team to develop a Daisy book player. Daisy books are xml based marked-up digital books which provide efficient access to the information for persons with blindness. His responsibilities were team coordination, software requirement specification, design specification, and monitoring testing. He is presently working with Code Factory as Lead Developer (Braille) for screen readers for the windows mobile platform. This software enables persons with blindness to get access to mobile phones and PDAs, making it possible to access information at par with their sighted colleagues. His role is to provide this information via Braille displays. The Braille display allows blind persons to read SMS, work with contacts and documents, navigate with the help of GPS,  etc using electronic Braille. This product is available for more than 20 languages and is available all over the world.

Ajay Kolhatkar

Dr. Ajay Kolhatkar co-leads the web usability and accessibility research at the Web 2.0 Research Labs at SETLabs.  Presently he manages the evangelization of Web Accessibility Assessment and Remediation product called Infosys iProwe developed by their lab. Ajay has a PhD in technology marketing from IIT Bombay. His research there focused on Consumer's Acceptance of Technology Based Services. The key research problem was modeling the attitude-behaviour linkage for technology acceptance and the critical role played by personality factors and situational factors. The context for the study was Automated Teller Machines. Presently his research interests include usability of self-service channels; technology adoption; consumer behaviour in technology interfaces etc. An electrical engineer from the College of Engineering, Pune and an MBA in Marketing from Symbiosis Institute, Pune, Ajay has over 16 years of industry experience. He can be contacted at [email protected]

Proposed Sessions

 Day 1

 09:00-10:00: Introduction of participants, trainers and organisers
10:00-11:30: Session 1

  • Understanding disability;

  • Working with disabilities -- The need for an accessible web

This session will familiarise the participants with different types of disabilities and the work arounds, in terms of assistive technologies or simple modifications which will enable them to work effectively using computers.

11:30-11:45: Tea Break
11:45-13:00: Session 2 - Building an Accessible Website

  • Laying Accessible Foundations
  • Table-less layouts
  • Well-structured markup
  • Valid code

13:00-14:00: Lunch
14:00-15:30: Session 3--Group exercise
Participants will have to identify and use semantic markup to describe different parts of a given layout. They will then have to write basic HTML/CSS code to present the website and validate it using online/desktop tools.
15:30-15:45: Tea break
15:45-17:15: Session 4 - Building an Accessible Website
Participants will have a chance to use a variety of assistive technologies (screen readers/braille displays) and there will be an exercise followed be a group discussion. Sequential Access/Role play will be conducted which will help them understand some of the problems related to electronic accessibility.
17:15-17:30: Summary and winding up

Day 2
09:15-11:00: Session 5 - Building an Accessible Website

  • Removing Barriers
  • Principle 1 - Perception
  • Non-text content
  • Audio/Visual content
  • Adaptability
  • Contrast

11:00-11:15: Tea break

11:15-13:00: Session 6 - Principle 2 - Operable

  • Keyboard Access
  • Enough Time
  • Seizures
  • Navigable

13:00-14:00: Lunch

14:00-15:30: Group Exercise

  • Participants will be given online tools to evaluate colour contrast. They will have to evaluate and correct a layout for adequate contrast.
  • Participants will have to prepare a transcript of a one-minute film.

15:30-15:45: Tea break

15:45:16:15: Session 7 - Accessibility in documents
16:15-17:30: Session 8 - Principle 3 - Understandable, and Principle 4 - Robust

  • Natural Language
  • Predictable
  • Input Assistance
  • Compatible

Winding up, feedback and clarification


Day 3

09:15 -9:45: Flash accessibility

9:45-11:15: Group Exercise - Putting it all together
Participants will complete building the website(s)

11:15-11:30: Tea Break

11:30-12:45: Accessibility testing

Group Exercise - Testing + Validating using automated testing tools as well as manual testing

  • The website that has been built will be validated to HTML, CSS and WCAG standards.
  • All errors identified will have to be corrected in a participatory fashion.

12:45-13:00: Wrapping up

Action points -- The road ahead

13:15- 14:00: Lunch