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Sakai Accessibility WG Teleconference Minutes

January 13, 2011


  • Scott Williams, Michigan State University
  • Mike Elledge, Michigan State University
  • Mark Hale, Iowa State University
  • Brian Richwine, Indiana University Bloomington
  • Mary Stores, Indiana University Bloomington
  • Joe Humbert, Indiana University/Purdue University Indianapolis
  • Gonzalo Silverio, Michigan State University

New Attendee

  • Mark is here to see how Sakai is doing as far as accessibility is concerned.
  • He got the information about the teleconference from the WebAIM e-mail list.
  • Iowa is using D2L.

Accessibility Review

  • Gonzalo will be starting to track issues to be merged into the trunk next week.
  • He says the documentation is so good that he will be able to just follow instructions.
  • The first release candidate for 2.8 will be released.
  • Brian met with Alan Berg, the QA director, to discuss jiras being followed and worked on.
  • So far, thirty jiras have been merged into the trunk.
  • Forty-five jiras are still outstanding, mostly minor issues.
  • A good chunk apply to previous versions of Sakai, and will be merged into maintenance releases.

Accessibility Test Comparisons

  • We added a walkthrough script that is included in the way we do accessibility reviews.In previous years, we did not add content or create walkthrough scripts.
  • We've been enlisting student support for reviews.

Future Testing of Sakai

  • There is still opportunity to test tools.

Sakai 2.9

  • Brian and others discussed in the QA meting that they may make significant changes to the interface of Sakai 2 in order to make it more modern like Sakai 3.
  • If it takes place, the Accessibility WG will be part of the redesign testing.
  • The WG will need to jump in early before they get invested in coding changes.
  • There will be a meeting in a month about that, and we will have to respond in a relatively short time period with our accessibility concerns.
  • For walkthrough scripts that are created, it would be wonderful if someone responsible for each tool could review the scripts to see if they are meaningful, or if improvements could be made in the testing process of each tool.
  • Gonzalo says the tool owner will know the ins and outs of the tool. The tool owner will also know about new changes.
  • He doesn't think it would be too much to ask for the tool owner to review the scripts.
  • Brian said it's hard to tell from the Jiras who owns each tool in order to request a walkthrough script review.
  • Perhaps Alan Berg or Anthony White would have a canonical list somewhere. Brian will ask.

Certification From An Outside Source

  • There has been some interest from the Sakai Foundation and the Product Council for Sakai 2.9 to be certified that it is compliant with accessibility guidelines.
  • E-mails by people on the WG list raised concern over whether the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) is the most appropriate organization to certify Sakai.
  • Both D2L and Blackboard have NFB certification, but it is blind-centric.
  • Brian will be looking at other certifications.
  • We would have to fit the certification process from whichever organization we choose into the 2.9 release schedule.
  • One possibility is WebAIM, who partnered with the NFB to resolve the eBay settlement.
  • Nate Angell and others have stated that they get asked if Sakai is certified from an outside source.
  • The reason Mike brought certification up on the WG mailing list is because since BlackBoard and D2L have NFB certifications, Sakai might be at a competitive disadvantage.
  • Mark, as an outsider, says certification would have a more marketable impact, and if it's from an independent source, that would be better.

Overcoming Obstacles to Certification

  • One advantage of other LMS's is that they have a tighter design system.
  • Sakai appears clunky, because screen reader users detect the underlying structure.
  • Sakai's code comes from many different sources.
  • The D2L video talked about how consistent the user interface is, nd Sakai does not always have that advantage.
  • Brian hopes that the UI for Sakai 3 would be more consistent, because the leadership is more organized.
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