Accessibility

Blindside has utilized guidelines issued by the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to implement functional improvements to BigBlueButton. Blindside is working to ensure that all our content satisfies Level A and AA Success Criteria set forth in WCAG 2.0. As part of those efforts, Blindside engaged David Berman of David Berman Communications to audit, perform usability testing, and coach our developers to improve accessibility.

We also plan to add an Accessibility FAQ with tips for how to best navigate and experience our site.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact us.

While we strive to make BigBlueButton and our Web site as accessible as possible and to meet the WCAG 2.0 guidelines, some aspects of BigBlueButton do not yet pass. At present, BigBlueButton conforms to all Level A guidelines with these exceptions:

  1. During the first twenty seconds or so after the visitor enters a room, while functionality is still coming onstream, some users will not be aware that all features have not yet loaded, and so a number of components will present themselves as inaccessible until the load is complete. To help mitigate this, the product makes an audible “ding” sound once all features have finished loading.
  2. 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 present in the presentation pane).
  3. The tutorial material is not accessible.

Also, third-party hosted content presented in the presenter frame is very possibly inaccessible, depending upon what the presenter has chosen to share. While we encourage our community to comply with industry-wide accessibility standards, we cannot enforce such standards alone.

A significant chunk of the development effort for the May 2017 version went into making BigBlueButton more accessible, specifically students living with full or partial visual challenges who use the JAWS for Windows screen reader.

In the current state of assistive technologies globally, only certain screen readers can successfully interpret Flash applications with the interactive complexity of BigBlueButton. As such, those relying on a screen reader can only use BigBlueButton effectively on a Windows device and with either JAWS or Window-Eyes as their screen reader.

If you notice ways we can improve the usability and accessibility of our sites, please contact us!

The above statement was validated by David Berman CPACC, accessibility expert from David Berman Communications (davidberman.com), on April 2, 2017.

Compliance analysis and opinion

Overview

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

BigBlueButton Inc. 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, BigBlueButton Inc. arranged a compliance analysis of how BigBlueButton fairs when judged against standards established by the government of the United States (Section 508, ADA) and the WCAG 2.0 standards, and the IASR regulations established by the Government of Ontario’s AODA legislation.

BigBlueButton Inc. 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, and March and April 2016, and February and March 2017.

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 these exceptions:

  1. During the first twenty seconds or so after the visitor enters a room, while functionality is still coming onstream, some users will not be aware that all features have not yet loaded, and so a number of components will present themselves as inaccessible until the load is complete. To help mitigate this, the product makes an audible “ding” sound once all features have finished loading.
  2. 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 present in the presentation pane).
  3. The tutorial material is not accessible.

ADA / Section 508 accessibility expert opinion

For a VPAT expressing BigBlueButton’s compliance with Section 508 and ADA guidelines, visit http://bigbluebutton.org/downloads/vpat.pdf.

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,rgd, fgdc

David Berman Communications +1-613-769-5693, berman@davidberman.com

last update: April 2, 2017

 

Interested in trying BigBlueButton

Check out the tutorial videos and then try out BigBlueButton on our demo server.