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Statement on Accessibility for BigBlueButton

A significant chunk of the development effort for 0.81 (currently at 0.81-RC3) went into making BigBlueButton more accessible, specifically for blind (or partially blind) students using a screen reader (JAWS).  To achieve this, we worked with an external company (David Berman Communications) to assess the accessibility gaps in BigBlueButton throughout our development cycle.

Below is the accessibility statement that will be posted to bigbluebutton.org when 0.81 is released.

 

Compliance Analysis and Opinion

The BigBlueButton project is striving to create an accessible online experience for all users of BigBlueButton.

The BigBlueButton project recognizes both the regulatory and usability benefits of complying with government standards for accessibility, and so strives to both comply with those standards and use them as a guideline for making BigBlueButton more accessible for persons with disabilities and difficulties. In support of this, the BigBlueButton project arranged a compliance analysis of how BigBlueButton fairs when judged against standards established by the government of the United States (Section 508), the WCAG 2.0 standards, and the IASR regulations established by the Government of Ontario’s AODA legislation.

The BigBlueButton project requested that David Berman Communications of Ottawa, Ontario apply standard tests used for accessible electronic documents to BigBlueButton. This report summarizes the findings and provides an expert opinion.

Methodology

In order to assess the overall accessibility of BigBlueButton, we carefully selected a statistically-relevant and horizontally representative sample test path for automated and manual study, as well as assessing the overall structure and common assets of the product. We studied the pages in their publicly-available state, at time points in July and August 2013.

WCAG 2.0 Accessibility Expert Opinion

It is my professional opinion that the provided test path for BigBlueButton meets or exceeds all applicable Level A guidelines of the W3C WCAG 2.0 Guidelines, except for the following:

  1. The Webcams are not labelled in an accessible way.
  2. During the first twenty seconds or so after visitors enter a room, while functionality is still coming on stream, some users will not be aware that all features have not yet loaded; therefore, a number of components will present themselves as inaccessible until the load is complete.
  3. The private chat feature is not accessible.
  4. For presenters, whether the site is WCAG 2.0 Level A compliant or not depends upon the type of presentation they are making (as well as inaccessible content they may choose to show in the presentation pane).
  5. The tutorial material is not accessible.

Usability testing

In addition, we administered qualitative testing of the product by test users with substantial disabilities (blind, low vision, developmental, and mobility). All substantial issues discovered were brought to the attention of the developers.

David Berman, r.g.d., cgd, fgdc
David Berman Communications

InfoWorld selects BigBlueButton as one of the best open source applications for 2013


bossie

Each year, InfoWorld’s Bossies (Best of Open Source Software awards) recognize the best open source software for business.  On September 17th, InfoWorld announced that BigBlueButton was selected as one of the best open source applications for 2013.  Other applications that received awards include Nginx, MariaDB, and WordPress.  It’s a nice group to be in!

See announcement of award.

 

BigBlueButton 0.81-RC Released

We are pleased to announce the availability of a release candidate (RC) for BigBlueButton 0.81, our eleventh release to date.

A release candidate for BigBlueButton means all development is finished, all testing is done, and the only remaining task is to change the label from 0.81-RC to 0.81.

Our goal for each release of BigBlueButton is to advance the project in stability, usability, and core features. A release candidate is the final stage of our development process.

For more information, see release notes.

UNINETT, NORDUnet, and AARNET supporting WebRTC integration for BigBlueButton

There are two initiatives underway within the BigBlueButton project that will see a lot of exposure in the coming months: the HTML5 client for BigBlueButton and support for WebRTC.

We want to thank UUINETT, NORDUnet (Nordic Infrastructure for Research and Education), and AARNET (Australia’s Academic and Research Network) for supporting our efforts to research and prototype the WebRTC integration for BigBlueButton.

In particular, we want to thank Jan Meijer for his help in coordinating the support. Jan works at UNINETT, which develops and operates the Norwegian research network, which connects more than 200 Norwegian educational and research institutions and over 300 000 users, and linking them to international research networks.

You’ll be seeing a lot more visible activity on WebRTC integration in the coming months, and it’s the above organizations that have helped make it possible.

BigBlueButton is a Mozilla Ignite Challenge Winner

We are pleased to announce that that BigBlueButton is one of the top winners of the Mozilla Ignite Challenge.  See this blog post at whitehouse.org for details.

Thanks to Mozilla Ignite and US Ignite for their support of our open source project.  The monies provided from the Mozilla Ignite Challenge has enabled our project us to hold two developer summits (fall 2012 and spring 2012) and to advance the ongoing work to create a BigBlueButton HTML5 client that uses WebRTC (see HTML client).