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NETWAYS Blog

Flying blind – accessibility in the world wide web

Do you know how many visually impaired people there are out there?
I can tell you: There are roughly 188.5 million people with mild vision impairment, 1043 million have moderate to severe vision impairment, and 36 million people are blind (According to the world health organisation in 2018). When it comes to colour blindness there are approximately 300 million people affected – that’s almost as many people as the entire population of the USA! (According to the Colour Blind Awareness Community)

That’s a lot, isn’t it? And a lot of those people also use the web. Not everyone in the same way as most do though.

Have you ever used a screen reader? Or heard of the term at all? A screen reader is a tool used to have the content of your screen read out for you. They are usually used by people who have issues reading what’s presented – either because they cannot distinguish between what’s written and the background because of bad contrasts, because fonts that are too small or just because they can not read or see at all.
For anyone who is interested how it works there is a lot of material on youtube, like this video by the SLCC Universal Access channel. If you have the time you should also try it out yourself, there are a lot of free tools out in the www.

In order to make this all possible there are guidelines provided by the w3, which cover:

  • Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) – how to make web content accessible
  • Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines (ATAG) – make authoring tools accessible
  • User Agent Accessibility Guidelines (UAAG) – make user agents accessible
  • Accessible Rich Internet Applications Suite (ARIA) – make web content and web applications accessible

For all of the (web) developers reading this, those are definitely worth a read! Sticking to those standards makes the web more accessible for everyone, and that’s what everyone should strive for, right?

For people who have difficulties with contrasts, there are standards set by the w3 and also high-contrast ‘themes’ available for some tools.

People affected by some form of colour vision deficiency there are colour blind variations in some tools – often times they are just being overlooked though. I have some pictures for you, that aim to visualise the most common kinds of colour vision:

colours with different simulated vision impairments

I used ‘Color Oracle’ for the simulated colours.

There is also a more detailed blogpost on icinga.com about our new ‘colour blind’ theme in Icinga Web 2.

Feu Mourek
Feu Mourek
Developer Advocate

Feu verbrachte seine Kindheit im schönen Steigerwald und kämpfte sich bis zum Abitur durch die Schule. Seit September 2016 unterstützt es die Icinga Abteilung bei NETWAYS als Developer, UX Designer und Community Advocate. Seine Freizeit verbringt es hauptsächlich damit Video-, Brett- und Pen and Paper Rollenspiele zu spielen, seine jogging Runden mit seinem Pony drehen, oder damit, Handwerklichen Tätigkeiten am Auto oder der Wohnung nachzugehen.

Digging up hidden information for a scavenge hunt?

Since today is Ascension Day – which is a public holiday here in Germany – I figured, why not write a post that is also relevant to our readers who have the day off?

So what could be relevant and fun?
Most of the people here who read this blog probably work in tech. And a trait, that I found that a lot of people working in tech have, is enjoying solving puzzles – be it on the computer or in the outside world. I got introduced into something that appeals to me in exactly that way: Geocaching – Mystery caches (yes, yes, I know, geocaching is sooooo 2015 – but solving puzzles is always going to be cool!)

Map of Nuremberg with about 200 caches marked on it

Map of Nuremberg with caches marked on it – each icon is a hidden treasure

A little explanation what that even is (stolen from Wikipedia):
Geocaching is an outdoor recreational activity, in which participants use a GPS receiver or mobile device and other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers, called “geocaches” or “caches”, at specific locations marked by coordinates all over the world.
Mystery/puzzle caches require one to discover information or solve a puzzle to find the cache. Some mystery caches provide a false set of coordinates with a puzzle that must be solved to determine the final cache location. In other cases, the given location is accurate, but the name of the location or other features are themselves a puzzle leading to the final cache. Alternatively, additional information is necessary to complete the find, such as a padlock combination to access the cache.

 

text: Ugh? Ugh. Ugh? Ugh. Ugh? Ugh. Ugh? Ugh. Ugh? Ugh. Ugh! Ugh! Ugh? Ugh! Ugh. Ugh? Ugh! Ugh! Ugh! Ugh! Ugh! Ugh. Ugh. Ugh? Ugh! Ugh! Ugh! Ugh! Ugh! Ugh! Ugh! Ugh. Ugh. Ugh? Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh! Ugh. Ugh. Ugh? Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh! Ugh. Ugh! Ugh! Ugh! Ugh! Ugh!

Or about 100 lines that look something like this

So what does that have to do with the tech world?
Well, it’s the way people hide the coordinates.

 

The difficulty of the riddle and the reachability of the box is measured with a scale from 1 – 5 stars. If you’re looking for a real challenge in solving riddles, you want to go for caches with the rating D3 – D5 (D stands for difficulty here).

Sometimes you just get a cryptic cache description with pretty much only “[Coordinates]: 0e9bfe8f349ed4b75d480743d1ab55e6e83c8176” as a hint

Others just consist of an image. Images can hold a lot of information – if you know where to look.
Steganography – the practice of concealing a file, message, image, or video within another file, message, image, or video – is also often used to hide coordinates from plain view!

I really enjoy geocaching because it’s a nicely balanced pastime. I get to use both my brain and my legs! (A lot of the caches are also wheelchair accessible too though)
Sometimes you even get to see some really cool new places you would have never gone to!

If this sounds like something you could enjoy – just check your area at geocaching.com or the open source alternative opencaching.de where you can select your preferred language and country in the header. Both are using OpenStreetMap for their maps.

My preferred app for caching is c:geo which is an open source app for Android – check out their project on github.

Look for the little  '?' icon  icons for mystery caches

 

Caches I hinted in my post:
1: Password Swordfish
2: Ugh! Ugh?
3: Nano
4: The series: How Do I Solve These #@&%$ Puzzles?!!

Feu Mourek
Feu Mourek
Developer Advocate

Feu verbrachte seine Kindheit im schönen Steigerwald und kämpfte sich bis zum Abitur durch die Schule. Seit September 2016 unterstützt es die Icinga Abteilung bei NETWAYS als Developer, UX Designer und Community Advocate. Seine Freizeit verbringt es hauptsächlich damit Video-, Brett- und Pen and Paper Rollenspiele zu spielen, seine jogging Runden mit seinem Pony drehen, oder damit, Handwerklichen Tätigkeiten am Auto oder der Wohnung nachzugehen.

Und, was gibts heute zu Mittag?

Kurz vor 10:00 an der Kaffeemaschine, die Leute beginnen langsam ein kleines Hüngerchen zu verspüren und es wird diskutiert was denn heute in den Lunchshop kommt.
… Lunchshop?

Wir hier bei Netways haben ein cooles System entwickelt, das es für uns erleichtert zusammen Essen zu bestellen.
Wir haben nämlich als eher mittelgroßes Unternehmen nicht den Luxus einer Kantine wie so manch andere.
Stattdessen haben wir uns selbst geholfen und ein kleines Tool zusammengebastelt, das ich heute vorstellen möchte:

Der Lunchshop!

Grundsätzlich handelt es sich dabei um ein Webinterface, das helfen soll die Arbeitsabläufe beim Essen bestellen zu automatisiere.
Die “Händler” können einen Laden anbieten, bei dem sie bestellen wollen und die restlichen Mitarbeitenden können sich dann in die Bestellung einklinken.
Das spart Lieferkosten und schont die Umwelt (zumindest ein bisschen mehr als wenn ein Jeder für sich bestellt).
Und wir faulen IT-ler müssen uns nicht irgendwo hin bewegen um an Futter zu kommen!

Ursprünglich entwickelt und administriert von einem unserer ehemaligen Kollegen wird der Shop nun von einem Grüppchen von Freiwilligen weiter geführt.
Ich selbst bin einer der Admins und Händler. Ich versuche ein bis zwei mal die Woche einen Laden aus unserer Liste in den anzubieten, wir haben Pizza, Fitness-Food, Pasta, Asiatisch, Burger, Mexikanisch, Indisch und vieles mehr!

Die Bank!

Alle Geldbewegungen die durch das gemeinsame Bestellen entstehen sind automatisiert und laufen über unser internes Banksystem ab.
Die im System registrierten haben ein eigenes Konto, auf das sie einzahlen, von dem sie auszahlen und mit dem sie (gesetzt sie haben genug guthaben) auch bestellen können.
Das Geld wird wird von allen Bestellern automatisch abgezogen und dem Händler gut geschrieben. Dieser kann dann entweder das Geld auszahlen um damit für die Bestellung zu bezahlen, oder es als Guthaben behalten.

Der Bestellablauf!

Die App zum Anfassen!

Natürlich gibts das ganze Open Source, zum anschauen, forken und selbst verwenden!
https://github.com/gunnarbeutner/shop-app

 

Feu Mourek
Feu Mourek
Developer Advocate

Feu verbrachte seine Kindheit im schönen Steigerwald und kämpfte sich bis zum Abitur durch die Schule. Seit September 2016 unterstützt es die Icinga Abteilung bei NETWAYS als Developer, UX Designer und Community Advocate. Seine Freizeit verbringt es hauptsächlich damit Video-, Brett- und Pen and Paper Rollenspiele zu spielen, seine jogging Runden mit seinem Pony drehen, oder damit, Handwerklichen Tätigkeiten am Auto oder der Wohnung nachzugehen.

DevOpsDays Berlin 2018 Recap

The sixth iteration of DevOpsDays Berlin is almost over and we would like to give you a little recap of what was offered.
This years conference was divided into two parts. The first half of both days focused on the single track talks and the second half was dedicated to Open Spaces and workshops.
We’ll only go over the 8 main talks that where presented on the single track stage, because we could not visit all the Open Spaces and workshops.

Day 1

Peter Chestna – Full Spectrum Engineering – The new Full Stack for 
Developers need to adapt – was the core idea of Peters talk. He explained how the typical software dev of the past has to evolve into a specialist in full spectrum development. Now a developer must become fluent in software testing, deployment, telemetry and even security. We have to adapt both in mind- and skillset in order to improve in our ever changing IT world.
Jessica Ulyate – Platform: How to Product?
The keyword in this talk was: product management (in DevOps).
She described in which ways to structure the communication flow between the developers and the stakeholders to efficiently get to a successful product.
Philip Smyth – Shifting ownership of code quality to developers
In short he talked about how developers should do more QA; and QA should get more into development and how his company basically merged those two departments. He described how this practice improves the workflows and makes working towards a product more efficient and focused.
Subhas Dandapani – DevOps as a Contract
Subhas talked about different areas in infrastructure and how they tried to remodelled everything into contracts. He showed us some approaches his company tried out, how they improved and where they are still struggling.
Ignite talks:

Day 2

Dirk Lehmann – Trust as foundation of DevOps
The one of the most important things when it comes to working together is – trust, according to Dirk Lehmann. In his talk he explained the principles you should strive for when working together in an organisation, be it big or small – in one location or spread over the globe.
Yuwei Ren – Mentorship: From the receiving end
In her talk she elaborated how to improve mentorship – both from the sides of the mentor and the mentee. She took us on her journey from starting university, over several internships to becoming a professional developer. The focus was on what she did, could have done better and what her advice would be for the mentors.
Ken Mugrage – Want to successfully adopt DevOps? Change Everything.
It’s usually not enough to rename a team, you should also think about restructuring the organisation itself. He stressed the different definitions of DevOps and the variety of approaches – in order to make us, the audience, think about how we could improve our systems.
Tiago Pascoal – Don’t make the same mistakes we made in our Devops journey
Tiago gave us brief overview over the past developments in DevOps culture at Microsoft Azure. He highlighted the pros and cons of the approaches Microsoft tried out, including: team structure, balance of alignment and automation, CI/CD, development cycles and many more.
Ignites of the day:

As always, DevOpsDays Berlin was an awesome event with very informative talks and a meet-up of wonderful people with the same mindset.
We hope everyone who was here with us enjoyed it as much as we did and would be happy to see the community again next year.
If you want to be part of this community, feel free to join us in 2019!
For more information on the event visit the DevOpsDays Berlin homepage.
 
Written in collaboration with Noah Hilverling 🙂

Feu Mourek
Feu Mourek
Developer Advocate

Feu verbrachte seine Kindheit im schönen Steigerwald und kämpfte sich bis zum Abitur durch die Schule. Seit September 2016 unterstützt es die Icinga Abteilung bei NETWAYS als Developer, UX Designer und Community Advocate. Seine Freizeit verbringt es hauptsächlich damit Video-, Brett- und Pen and Paper Rollenspiele zu spielen, seine jogging Runden mit seinem Pony drehen, oder damit, Handwerklichen Tätigkeiten am Auto oder der Wohnung nachzugehen.

How css-tricks improved my work life

My relationship with CSS is some kind of a love-hate one and I think that is a sentiment a lot of web-devs share with me.
My biggest issue with it is, that it is really counterintuitive and most of the time it feels a bit like solving puzzles to make things align the way you want it to.

and oftentimes it feels a lot like


Properties that mean the same thing being worded inconsistently – I’m looking at you…

vertical-align: middle;
text-align: center;

And there is also some questionable naming with ‘grey’ (#808080) being darker than ‘darkgrey’ (#a9a9a9)…
In general there are too many quirks you need to just know. Unless you work with it every day, you need to google every second line in order to write your stylesheets.
There you can find all sorts of guidelines, help, blogposts with a nice mix of bad-practices and outdated information.
What helped me a lot is the website css-tricks.
mehr lesen…

Feu Mourek
Feu Mourek
Developer Advocate

Feu verbrachte seine Kindheit im schönen Steigerwald und kämpfte sich bis zum Abitur durch die Schule. Seit September 2016 unterstützt es die Icinga Abteilung bei NETWAYS als Developer, UX Designer und Community Advocate. Seine Freizeit verbringt es hauptsächlich damit Video-, Brett- und Pen and Paper Rollenspiele zu spielen, seine jogging Runden mit seinem Pony drehen, oder damit, Handwerklichen Tätigkeiten am Auto oder der Wohnung nachzugehen.

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