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Thoughts on Accessibility (a11y)

I’ve been thinking a lot on the subject of accessibility in my work lately. I’ve always had an awareness of some of the best practices to follow in my side projects, but rarely was it given priority by my employers. Today I find I have a real chance to make a difference and I’m moving ahead making little improvements to this huge unnamed travel dot com I work for. It’s not sexy. It might not easily translate to $X in more revenue. It’s just the right thing to do, and as a developer it’s my responsibility to leave this technology better than I found it.

Great article when it was written and always good to revisit and pass on to managers, UX, and other stakeholders:
Reframing Accessibility for the Web

Timely article published today as I’ve been thinking about the subject a lot lately. The ADA at 25. Could easily take every use of the word “building” in that article and replace with “website” and you’d have a good idea of why and how we should be thinking of building the web for all.

Designers/Developers, Stop Doing This:

“A lot of people are tweeting about Moonrise Kingdom, when’s that coming out?”

*opens nearest device*

*enters in address bar*

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New Year, New Site

After much deliberation I chose the Ari WordPress theme to fill in for a complete redesign of the site for the new year. Nice and responsive, minimal layout, still screams “WordPress site” but what are you going to do?

Some of the older posts won’t be displayed perfectly due to the old size of thumbnails and I’m okay with that. Time to move forward.

HTML5 Video, .OGV, Servers, and You

Just before launching a custom HTML5 video player for my last project I ran into two small, maddening bugs. Everything on my dev server worked just fine but when moved to the production server Firefox wouldn’t play the video.

The first issue was expected and easy, just had to add the proper Mime types to the .htaccess file:

AddType video/ogg .ogv .ogg

Done, done, refresh and…

… well, the video was playing fine but the normal, native controls were breaking, with the progress bug jumping right to the end of the timeline. Odd. I don’t really deal with server configurations much so I was at a loss and frustrated. A day’s worth of Google searches led nowhere until this post. “Don’t use gzip/deflate compression.” Okay, that seemed to be worth trying, but how… HOW?! Plenty is written about the benefits of turning it on and how to do it, not so much the opposite. Now to find a way, one that didn’t involve messing with the server configuration, and something that a front-end person like me could understand. Here it is, ready for your .htaccess:

RewriteRule ^(.*)\.ogv - [E=no-gzip:1]

Ogg video files, no gzip compression. Problem solved. Hope it helps someone else out.

If any experts out there take issue with that regular expression please let me know in the comments.

Update: It seems Chrome needs gzip turned off on MP4’s in order to play them as well, if you have them listed first in source order as I have.

RewriteRule ^(.*)\.mp4 - [E=no-gzip:1]

How Quickly Things Change

Pretty much sums up everyone’s feelings, yes?

Inspired by @masonry