July 19, 2016

Pode, An Accessible Code Editor

My colleague Claire Kearney-Volpe and I have recently been co-teaching HTML and CSS to students who are visually impaired.

One of the benefits of learning coding today is the fact that it can be done without having to install anything: using sites like JS Bin, CodePen, and Mozilla Thimble, people can tinker with code on their web browser, and even publish it instantly online with the click of a button.

Unfortunately, however, these sites are inaccessible to screen reader users.

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August 10, 2015

Discovering Accessibility

My final project working at the Mozilla Foundation was teach.mozilla.org, which was the first content-based website I’ve helped create in quite some time. During the site’s development, I finally gave myself the time to learn about a practice I’d been procrastinating to learn about for an embarrassingly long time: accessibility.

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December 5, 2012

Building Experiences That Work Like The Web

Much has been said about the greatness of the Web, yet most websites don’t actually work like the Web does. And some experiences that aren’t even on the web can still embody its spirit better than the average site.

Here are three webbish characteristics that I want to see in every site I use, and which I try my best to implement in anything I build.

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April 26, 2012

Learning and Grammatical Forgiveness

HTML is a very interesting machine language because, like human languages, most things that interpret it are very forgiving.

For instance, did you know that the following HTML is technically invalid?

<video>
  <source src="movie.mp4"></source>
</video>

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March 31, 2012

Prototyping Presentations

Presentations take a long time to make. Particularly when I’m just conceptualizing my presentation, it takes a lot of work to record myself talking, use a tool to sync it with the proper visuals, and then repeat the recording and syncing process as I iterate on the content. I recently made a simple tool called Quickpreso to make the process of “prototyping” a presentation quicker, and more like writing a simple HTML page. ... Read more

March 28, 2012

Coffee Machines And Community

The Toronto and San Francisco Mozilla offices each feature very different coffee makers. The Toronto office has a Rancilio Epoca espresso machine. It has lots of knobs and switches, and one has to be taught how to use it. When one learns, the first few drinks they make are likely to taste very bad; a conscious effort must be made to learn from one’s mistakes and create better drinks. ... Read more

November 29, 2011

Playfulness and Learning

Michelle Levesque recently wrote a post about the importance of play in learning. We need to change people's mindsets to make them comfortable fooling around, making things, breaking things, and playing on the web. I totally agree. This is one of the design goals of the Hackasaurus tools and events, actually—it’s a combination of stylistic touches and emotional design to help people feel that what they’re doing is fun, along with humane functionality that makes experimentation easier, such as infinite undoability. ... Read more

© Atul Varma 2017