Accessibility bugs in iOS with Safari

Accessible web search form prototype developed for map4accessI was recently volunteering on a project to build a responsive webapp where we used standards to ensure compatibility with screen reader software.

Everything was going well; all the necessary markup was in place as recommended on the WebAIM site. Field sets, labels and buttons ordered correctly. I turned on screen reader options and everything was read back to me beautifully on my laptop as well as on iOS and Android devices. A nice accessible webapp, job done! Well, not exactly…

Continue reading Accessibility bugs in iOS with Safari

Civic hacking with Impact: Raising Visibility of (In)Accessibility in Philadelphia

Market Frankford Line view towards Center City from West Philly
SEPTA’s Market Frankford Line

Just over a year ago I started a volunteer civic project with Code for Philly called UnlockPhilly at a Hackathon called Apps for Philly Transit. UnlockPhilly’s aim: to raise awareness of good and bad accessibility by mapping accessible stations, elevator outages and accessible venues in Philadelphia. This blog post reviews progress made so far and describes recent efforts to prototype an idea for an accessible new app.

Continue reading Civic hacking with Impact: Raising Visibility of (In)Accessibility in Philadelphia

Unlockphilly Team Hacks For Access and Wins 1st Prize

The Unlockphilly project gained new team members, prototyped a  number of exciting new features and won first prize at the recent Hack4Access Hackathon.

Faith Haeussler from Philadelphia Link and organizer of Hack4Access presenting ideas
Hack4Access organizer Faith Haeussler, Philadelphia Link presenting ideas to the project teams at the hackathon kick-off

The Hackathon provided a really unique opportunity for developers to pair up with subject matter experts and end users in the field of accessibility for people with disabilities.

I personally felt very proud to see a project that I’d worked on mostly on my own gain new team members, more visibility and make progress towards it’s goal to raise visibility of accessibility challenges.

Continue reading Unlockphilly Team Hacks For Access and Wins 1st Prize

NBC Philadelphia runs story on civic hacking and transit accessibility following tweets

NBC News ArticleIn a previous post I wrote about Unlock Philadelphia; a web app we started developing at a transit hackathon to map accessibility in Philadelphia. Well, thanks to the app, and a few tweets about an abandoned elevator at 8th and Market Station, accessibility and civic hacking made the news this week.

NBC10 reporter Vince Lattanzio noticed  tweets with photos I made to SEPTA_SOCIAL reporting an elevator that had been out of service for 2 months. The outage had prevented hundreds of people from getting between trains going east-bound and the street. I got back to him with more information about why I cared about this and shared the Unlock Philly app. He phoned me later that day for an interview.

Continue reading NBC Philadelphia runs story on civic hacking and transit accessibility following tweets

Philadelphia bus mapping using open data

Philly Buses by Neighborhood Map
Philly Buses By Neighborhood Map

In my previous post I talked about an app I worked on at a Hackathon that visualizes the accessibility of Philadelphia stations and services around them.  After seeing how much open transit data is out there and being inspired by other open data mapping apps, including those by Chris Whong (in particular the Baltimore City Charm Circulator visualization he worked on with a team at Reinvent Transit), I thought it would be cool to see bus routes, positions and patterns by Philly neighborhood and integrate this into the ‘Unlock Philadelphia’ website.

Google transit searches go point to point and assume you know your exact departure and destination locations.

SEPTA’s website lets you see bus routes and positions, but for a single route that you already know by number.

How about if you’re new to an area, don’t have a car and just want to know where you can get to on the transit system and see where all the buses are? Or just interested in all the places it’s possible to get to easily without getting the car out? In other words, add a bit of serendipity to your search.

Continue reading Philadelphia bus mapping using open data

Transit Apps for Philly Hackathon; Unlocking Philadelphia

Deadline approaching
Combining open data sets and prototyping at Apps For Philly Transit

Apps For Philly Transit is an annual Hackathon that “aims to bring together transportation organizations and citizens of Philadelphia to rapidly conceive, design, and prototype uses of open data relating to transportation in Philly”.

I pitched an idea called Unlock Philadelphia: an application to help people with disabilities, parents with strollers and older people to find accessible stations and transit information. By combining transit data with with Yelp’s open data feed, I wanted to also find accessible shops, restaurants and services close to accessible stations.

The idea received votes and positive feedback so I formed a team and built it.

Continue reading Transit Apps for Philly Hackathon; Unlocking Philadelphia

Mapping Open Traffic Crash Data

Nottingham Traffic Accidents Map
Nottingham Traffic Accidents Map

Open Data Nottingham has released traffic accident data  covering incidents in Nottinghamshire for the last four years.  For reported accidents, persons are listed (anonymously) if they suffer slight, severe or fatal injuries.  Drivers are identified, along with age/gender, but only if they are injured.  The quality and format of the data is good.

Nottingham City’s website already has a map representation of the data, but it doesn’t allow filtering and there is no colour coding or categorisation, making it difficult to spot patterns.

To provide a better visualisation, I reorganized the data using a custom Java app and categorised individual accidents by severity, time of accident and age group of persons injured in accidents.  The most serious injury sustained by any person involved in an accident determines the overall severity of the accident; times of day have been split into bands, so have driver ages.

Continue reading Mapping Open Traffic Crash Data

Open Data, Software, Community Coding and Accessibility