BPDCC Accessibility Research Group

Campus Information Technologies and Educational Services (CITES) and Disability Resources and Educational Services (DRES)

University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign

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Teleconference Details

Date: 2008-05-02

Time: 2:00-4:00 PM EDT; 1:00-3:00 PM CDT



BPDCC Accessibility Teleconference Minutes 05/02/2008
Scribes: Nolan Crabb and Marc Thompson

Action Items

  1. Marc, Hadi, and Chris Dobson will report on NetCentric's PDF repair and reporting application, CommonLook at our next meeting
  2. (All BPDCC members) Revision and consolidation of research findings on Netfiles

Next Teleconference


  1. Don Amos
  2. Christy Blew
  3. Nolan Crabb (scribe)
  4. Christie Gilson
  5. Vance Martin
  6. Hadi Rangin
  7. Marc Thompson (facilitator)


Congratulation to Christie Gilson

The meeting began with congratulations to Christie Gilson, who has submitted her dissertation for her Ph.D. in Special Education.

NetCentric's CommonLook PDF Repair & Reporting Application

Marc mentioned Netcentric, developers of a PDF product, he mentioned this in reference to an e-mail he sent to the list.

He navigated to the pages and suggested it would be good if several people from our group could investigate this product, which checks and repairs PDF documents. He was unable to display part of the page. The e-mail message that went to the list prior to the meeting included links and PDF fact sheets.

The product name is Common Look, and it appears to be aimed primarily at the business community. Marc said it may well be worth checking out as a means of PDF repair, and he said he wasn’t certain as to the program’s 508 compliance reporting capabilities. Vance commented that they don’t seem to talk about price. Marc indicated that he, Hadi and others would be attending a webinar on the product next week and would have more to report at a future meeting.

Review of Basic Flash Accessibility Information Pages

Marc asked whether everyone has been to the two basic flash web sites that were discussed at the last meeting—Adobe’s site and the webaim site? All reported in the affirmative.

Research Consolidation & Revision Plan

Now that we have gathered a good bit of research on best practices for the web, Word, PowerPoint, PDF, and Flash, we will begin a period of consolidation and revision before moving on to other instructional design applications, like Camtasia and Captivate.

Research files on Netfiles

Marc said he had sent several e-mails detailing different research teams for different applications—word, PDF, flash, etc. The NetFiles structure is up and in place, and the directory structure in NetFiles has been labeled according to research teams. He brought the directory up and asked whether it was visible to the participants.

The directories are organized based on the various applications tested, and the subdirectories are organized based on the names of the participants. The hope is now that we can enter into a period of consolidation and revision which means a close look at document organization (the what-why-how structure) and a close look at the content of the research done on each topic to determine where additional information and details need to be included. Marc pointed out that crediting sources is vital as well.

When that’s concluded, Camtasia and Captivate would be two good applications to look at next.

2 Criteria for Revision: Organization & Content

All BPDCC members have read-write access to the research files and should use the next month and a half to revise for organization and content as follows:

1. Revise for Organization: make sure your findings follow the what, why, how, ref (sources) format we have discussed at previous meetings.

2. Revise for Content: in some instances your research findings are incomplete and need additional content; in others, you may find that you wish to change, or add to, information you have already provided.

Proposed Action Items for BPDCC Main Collaboration Page

Hadi talked about the importance of having an action item section which includes assignments that have yet to be completed and information that could easily be inadvertently forgotten by teleconference participants. He suggested the implementation of an action item section that would allow participants to view the progress of items that need to be addressed. He demonstrated the action items section used by the Blackboard Collaboration Group as an example.

Marc asked where the action items should be placed on the page. Hadi said the page’s main purpose should include teleconference information, but said he wasn’t concerned about exactly where the open action items should be placed on the page. Marc said the other option would be to have a separate page for these items to which people could navigate.

Marc said he didn’t want action items to interfere with the important information about when the next meetings would occur, etc. He said sending e-mail messages with a list of current action items and with action items that have been closed would also be a good idea. The group ultimately decided to both create an action items section of the page and to send action items out via e-mail.

Although some users experienced some technical difficulties, all agreed that we should try TC web conferencing again for our next meeting.

Remaining Flash Items

The group then moved to a discussion on the remaining Flash items. There was a great deal of discussion about audio in flash pages and whether the audio was accessible. Nolan expressed the concern that many times buttons are either not labeled at all or appear to be randomly labeled and difficult to use.

Hadi suggested that the ability to play the audio in an external player makes sense. External players give the user the advantage of being able to speed up the files and change the volume more easily.

Marc pointed out that the size of the buttons often differs in a flash page. He suggested that some of the design of those buttons could pose problems for people with physical disabilities. Vance used the example of a laptop that tended to double-click when it was instructed to issue a single click, pointing out that the button design and size can pose difficulties on a variety of levels. Nolan, Hadi, and Christie expressed their mutual frustrations at finding flash buttons that were unlabeled and clicking them randomly to see whether they would respond. All three admitted they tend to give up on flash pages somewhat quickly, especially where buttons seemed randomly labeled or not labeled at all.

There was some discussion about how difficult it was for screen reader users to work with and test flash components and features. Vance and Christie will be paired to do future testings. Nancy Swenson will be part of that group as well.

There was discussion about what would be tested. The solar system flash elements on the Adobe page came up, and Hadi talked about what he could understand based on that page.

Proposed Group Editing with TC Conference Tool

The group talked about the idea of using some of the teleconference time to do large-group edits of documents that have been put on the page or are awaiting final publication to the page. No final decision was made regarding doing large-group edits. Christie expressed the concern that as a screen reader user, she might have some difficulty doing large-group edits, particularly if the TC Conference tool is used as the means of teleconferencing, since both the screen reader and the group discussion would come from the same sound source and could be confusing and difficult to follow at times. Nolan and Hadi concurred.

The meeting was adjourned at 3:29 p.m. eastern time.

Tentative Agenda Topics for Next Meeting

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Discussion List