Tom Scott on tactile pavement:

The Little-Known Patterns on British Streets

I thought about saying “secret patterns” or “mysterious patterns” in the title, but that’d be a lie: they’re just mostly unknown! So let’s talk about tactile paving, about design, about accessibility, and about those bumpy bits that you stand on when you’re crossing a British street.

I’m happy to announce here that I will be speaking at Accessing Higher Ground in November, representing Knowbility. The conference is in Westminster, Colorado and coins itself as an “Accessible Media, Web and Technology Conference”.

I will do two three-hour long workshops:

  • Advanced Accessibility: A Deep Dive for Developers
    Tuesday, Nov. 15th, 9am

    Focused on UI widgets, WAI-ARIA techniques and semantics, with some JavaScript as a garnish, this workshop will teach how to implement complex widgets in an accessible way that is true to the nature of the web.
  • Simplify your development life with tools, tests and procedures
    Tuesday, Nov. 15th, 1:30pm

    Developers are lazy. I know this because I am one. So having tools, tests and procedures in place that help developers to produce accessible templates and widgets is helping everyone. This workshop will give a broad overview about the possibilities and will also show how to implement some of the provisions in day-to-day work.

Also, I will give two talks:

  • Semantic Subtleties
    Thursday, Nov. 17th, 8am

    This talk takes some of the semantic particularities that come also up in the workshop and will put them under the microscope and examine their meaning.
  • ARIA Serious?
    Thursday, Nov. 17th, 4pm

    Here, I will presumably give a few good and lots of bad examples of ARIA implementation and show where the pitfalls and chances of using ARIA are.

If you are still thinking about going, maybe the fantastic lineup of speakers can lure you in. Register now at

I always thought that it is not so difficult to find resources about these basics, the recurrence of that question prompted me to finally write my own take on this topic. So here it is, my list of absolute web accessibility basics every web developer should know about.

A very solid overview of basic web accessibility techniques by Marco Zehe.


On Monday, my wait for the Apple Watch was over and a shiny “space black” Apple Watch Sport arrived at my doorstep. It is an incredibly interesting device with a lot of limitations – but those are expected from a 1st generation device.

One factor limits my use of the watch greatly: The inability to resolve links. The watch works great with the internet, the connection to my phone works out very nicely as well. But the watch is not a great citizen of the web (yet).

Take the email I received above. The sender didn’t care too much about the content of the text version of the HTML email they sent me, so apart from information about this (“This message contains elements Apple Watch can’t display. You can read a text version below.”), the text version reads “You have received the alternative text version of an HTML message. Please click below to access the web version of the message: View an HTML version of this message: http://”.

The Apple Watch makes the case for HTML emails. But even if I wanted to follow the link at the end of the message, I can’t. It is not tapable. There is no handoff to Safari on my iPhone (which was what I expected). The same thing happens when I receive tweets on the watch and there is no way to take a glimpse at the related website.

Apple has not added basic HTML viewing functionality to the watch, which is a shame. A lightweight HTML parser with main content extraction – à la the iPhone Reader mode – would probably be totally okay for basic information. In addition, a handoff feature can help with websites where the content can’t be extracted or doesn’t make sense.

Thinking about it, the whole rendering and reformatting of the website could be done on the iPhone. That would mean that Safari can display the cached rendered web page immediately on handoff.

I hope watchOS 2 will bring such a basic functionality, it would improve my use of the Apple Watch.