that feeling when

When my webhost upgraded something, at some point during the past year—probably the database underlying this WordPress installation—the upgrade rotated Unicode code points a notch or two, such that — displays as — instead of = em-dash.

Though I won’t clean up the old note-taking/event posts, a few pages I care about are queued for tidying.

This is the type of thing that inclines one towards exploring a static type generator, when one doesn’t really need as much as WordPress has become.

a small contribution

My response to Data-Sitters Club 12[1] has been included in the “Dear Reader: More Coding Stories” appendix. Thanks to Quinn Dombrowski for taking the trouble to include additional voices! #12 is about learning to code, pondering which tools to use, and finding connections to known things.

1. Bowers, Katherine, Quinn Dombrowski, and Roopika Risam. “DSC #12: The DSC and the New Coding Language.” The Data-Sitters Club, November 2, 2021.

gratis mobile usability assessment: Dixon Lambtown

Recently I wrote a lightweight web accessibility assessment of—really a quick tour of usability obstacles to supporting any of the fifty-two vendors registered for this year’s Lambtown festival: no formal WCAG citations, just what people trying to buy wares would see.

Let’s extend that lightweight, vendor-oriented assessment to the iOS and Android apps released for Lambtown, plus how someone would find the apps via the website. The current post also remarks upon usability issues, not only accessibility-specific ones. Continue reading “gratis mobile usability assessment: Dixon Lambtown”

Andreas Burkard, Monitoring Systems for Checking Websites on Accessibility

Today I attended an English-language webinar about the results of an accessibility-tool evaluation study conducted by the Competence Center on Digital Accessibility at Stuttgart Hochschule der Medien (Stuttgart Media University), Germany. The lead presenter was Andreas Burkard, and Prof. Dr. Gottfried Zimmermann assisted with Q&A; Laura Eppler and Kira Frankenfeld were silent members of the presentation. A German-language webinar on the same topic took place separately.

[Edited to add, 27 Oct 2020: HdM has now released links to PDF slides in German and English.]

Here’s the event summary:

The goal of this study was to identify a monitoring system on the market that is best suited for the needs of the university. We evaluated various factors, e.g. coverage of WCAG criteria, percentage of errors found, percentage of false positives. Also, we evaluated the usability of the systems based on an user study. The monitoring systems that were evaluated in the study are (in alphabetic order):

  • Deque: WorldSpace Comply (now called axe Monitor)
  • Pope Tech
  • Siteimprove: Accessibility
  • The Paciello Group: ARC Monitoring

Continue reading “Andreas Burkard, Monitoring Systems for Checking Websites on Accessibility”

gratis web accessibility assessment: Dixon Lambtown

Lambtown, an annual festival in Dixon, CA, has gone virtual this year, 2-4 Oct 2020! Props to them for converting an experience vibrant to participants’ physical senses into a web- and app-based experience. I’ve attended twice within the past ten years, once alone and once with my child, who enjoyed seeing weavers and spinners demonstrate their skills nearly as much as I did.

Gentle disclaimer, therefore: the assessment below is meant in good faith. I’ve sent Lambtown’s info@ contact address a link to this post, as a courtesy.

My post highlights a few critical issues; it doesn’t try to cover every major usability hurdle for the site, and it’s silent about anything cosmetic. I’m most interested in what would prevent a site visitor from accomplishing one or more of these key tasks:

  1. From the home page at, find the vendor page.
  2. View the vendor list at
  3. View the vendor profile (details) for any particular vendor.

Continue reading “gratis web accessibility assessment: Dixon Lambtown”