AOL Selects The Paciello Group to Enhance Accessibility of Dynamic Web Applications

Posted on Monday, 22 March 2010 by Mike Paciello

The Paciello Group (TPG) has been selected by AOL to enhance the accessibility of jQuery, a popular open source toolkit used to build dynamic web applications. This work will foster greater compatibility between consumer-facing web applications and assistive technology used by people with disabilities to access the Internet. Enhancements will incorporate the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C) Accessible Rich Internet Application Specification and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0.

“Embedding accessibility support into widely used toolkits like jQuery is essential in order for people with disabilities to take full advantage of services delivered via web applications built by AOL and developers around the world,” said Tom Wlodkowski, AOL’s accessibility director. “Our goal is to minimize the barriers application developers confront today in making rich web interfaces accessible.”

The initial focus of the AOL/TPG partnership is to assess the current level of accessibility of jQuery user interface (UI) components. TPG will then contribute JavaScript code to address gaps in accessibility to the jQuery community. AOL uses jQuery extensively and will leverage the accessible components in future consumer-facing web applications. When released in the next version of jQuery, any developer using the toolkit will inherit these accessibility enhancements.

“TPG is excited about our partnership with AOL,” stated Mike Paciello, founder and president of The Paciello Group. “We see this as an incredible opportunity to influence the usability of next generation web applications and to promote the inclusion of users with disabilities. By enhancing the jQuery developer toolkit, developers will have the framework for building accessible and usable rich internet applications.”

This project is also supported with the financial contribution of the European Commission in the context of the ÆGIS project (Open Accessibility Everywhere: Groundwork, Infrastructure, Standards). The AEGIS project is focused on the research and development of solutions to advance accessibility of mainstream ICT (desktop, rich Internet and mobile applications).

For more information, please contact Brian Landrigan.


About Mike Paciello

Mike is the Founding Partner of The Paciello Group. He has been in the accessibility business since the mid-80's, both as a usability and accessibility engineer. In 2006, along with his friend and colleague Jim Tobias, he was appointed co-chair to the United States Federal Access Board's Telecommunications and Electronic and Information Technology Advisory Committee (TEITAC). In years past he has been involved in several well known accessibility ventures including ICADD, WAI, and WebABLE (his first official web site and start-up). Most recently, together with TVworldwide.com, he launched a new internet channel, WebABLE.tv, dedicated to building greater awareness about technology and people with disabilities.

Comments

  1. Interesting and exciting news!

    As the design/interaction team at jQuery UI, we at Filament Group (along with the rest of the jQuery UI team) have been working hard to improve the accessibility and usability of jQuery UI’s components, and the team has been working towards the goal of standardizing keyboard control, focus management, and ARIA support across all UI components by version 2.0. We’re always interested in more help in this area, so we’re looking forward to your feedback on where we can make improvements. If you haven’t already, please join our discussions at jQuery UI’s planning site http://wiki.jqueryui.com, and check out some of the prototypes for upcoming accessibility improvements in jQuery UI Labs as well as the various ideas posted on Filament’s lab/blog.

    Looking forward to collaborating with you in the near future!
    -Scott Jehl, Filament Group / jQuery UI team

  2. Hi Scott, we hope to make a positive contribution to the work already done and have started contributing in the last few months to provide feedback on issues and to add code. The main person from TPG currently participating is Hans Hillen, you may have seen his posts to the jquery accessibility list. I have also provided feedback via the addition of issues to a number of widgets on the jQuery UI Development & Planning Wiki.

    Any advice on how we can best continue our collaboration, is welcome.

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Thanks for all your help. Your people are solving problems that we thought were unsolvable months ago. Other companies we called upon just kept telling us to “dumb down” the site and we were ready to do so until we worked with TPG.

Ken Isaacson, Vice President, Major League Baseball Advanced Media