The Bluemix Garage is one of IBM’s innovation hubs (although definitely not the only one!). One of the thing I love about working in the garage is the surprising projects which cross our threshold, each one opening my eyes to a previously hidden world. I’ve learned a lot about weight management, youth work, artificial intelligence, and lorry driving, but I’ve never worked on an app quite like the one the Garage is writing for Simon Wheatcroft. Simon is an ultra-marathon runner, who also happens to be blind.
IBM has added new functionality to its IBM Digital Content Checker for Bluemix, improving the ability to securely check the accessibility of large collections of content. This capability is most useful for teams that are doing continuous builds of EPUB or HTML documents. The service quickly examines your content, provides a detailed report of all accessibility violations, and then recommends how to fix the issues so the content conforms to industry standards and government regulations before being published.
It’s crazy how frustrated we’ve all become when we can’t access a simple website, complete a transaction or post a picture on our favorite social site. Technology should just work. It’s the same frustration people with varying abilities face when they interact with web and mobile applications that are not accessible. Designing and developing accessible software is still a burdensome task for many organizations. Fortunately, leveraging the cloud is becoming a great option to help strengthen accessibility and provide greater access to solutions that remove the barriers to integrating accessibility into agile development environments.
I recently spent a day with a number of talented IBM engineers and designers talking about the intersection of accessibility and design. It opened my eyes to a much broader definition of the first term and a new appreciation for its importance to the latter.
To make it easier for organizations to create accessible applications and content, IBM has released two new cloud-based accessibility services on IBM Bluemix. The services, Digital Content Checker and Automated Accessibility Tester, provide greater availability of accessibility so organizations can speed development efforts, create more personalized experiences through any contact point, and help conform to industry standards and government regulations.