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Posts Tagged ‘blindness’

Accessibility Gateways – Week of April 23

April 25th, 2012 by Steve | No Comments | Filed in Accessibility Links

Here are some things from the past week that tickled my fancy:

You’ve got Internet gateways through my world…
–Ace of Base

Stone gateway in Slovenia. Photographer - Ben Groves

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Accessibility Gateways – Week of April 16

April 18th, 2012 by Steve | No Comments | Filed in Accessibility Links

Me mates at mkeUX recently started sharing, on a weekly basis, noteworthy articles of interest from around the web, related to User Experience.

Many others do this too, and I really like the idea. It’s a way for me to build accessibility awareness, and keeps me active in scouring the web for more information.

Here are some things from the past week that particularly caught my eye:

You’ve got Internet gateways through my world…
–Ace of Base

Stone gateway in Slovenia. Photographer - Ben Groves

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More thoughts from Year One of Blogging

November 4th, 2009 by Steve | 1 Comment | Filed in art of web accessibility update

Come November 12th, it’ll be one year since my first blog post here at theaccessibility.com. Last time, I shared some general thoughts from my rookie season as a blogger. From the ease of WordPress to the struggle of posting frequency (and with quality), it’s been both challenging and fun.

What about, specifically, accessibility – the subject I’ve chosen for my adventures in blogging? I can’t begin to capture all that I’ve learned, but a few revelations immediately struck me when I first tackled the subject.

The visually impaired aren’t the only web users with disabilities
Perhaps in part because of well-publicized stories like Target getting sued by the American Federation of the Blind, there seems to be a large focus of accessibility attention on visual disabilities. At times it seems to overshadow the fact that there are many other disabilities that require web designers to be diligent in their standards and best practices.

Even among the visually disabled, there are more obstacles than not being able to see. Those with color blindness encounter their own problems — certain color combinations can make it very difficult for them to effectively make out what’s being communicated or conveyed on a page.

Individuals with neuromuscular restrictions, brain damage, or just difficulties fully using their hands rely on other means to use their computers and get around the Web. This can be keyboard navigation, or even sip-and-puff technology. Whatever the means, it is an entirely different user experience with its own trappings and limitations depending on how accessible the site is. As one example, if a site’s tabbing progression is out of order, these users will have a heck of a time trying to get where they need to go.

Deaf users encounter their own obstacles, such as lack of captions or text recaps for many online video. The Web is still way behind television, where closed captioning is prevalent. Video is becoming more and more commonplace, particularly as social media flourishes….and while progress is being made, there’s a long, long way to go.

There are also many cognitive disabilities that make web surfing challenging. Those with attention disorders can be distracted or disrupted by excessive movement, blinking or flashing. Those with reading or problem-solving limitations will be able to more easily navigate a web site if the messaging is clear, and the navigation consistent and easy to follow.

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Web Accessibility in Malaysia

July 2nd, 2009 by Steve | No Comments | Filed in Accessibility News

In “Accessibility News: Web Accessibility in the Spotlight in India”, we talked about how web accessibility is a growing global issue.

Malaysia offers another example of this. The Malaysian Association for the Blind has announced plans to improve the user experience of all the nation’s web sites, to ensure that they are more usable for visually impaired visitors.

They plan to conduct consultative services and advise both government and private web developers on what they can do to better adhere to Web Accessibility Initiative standards.

A team of three certified trainers in web accessibility will shoulder this effort.

Surely, there is a lot of ground to cover in this lofty goal, particularly for a small team. We’ll have to watch over time how this initiative fares, and if the visually impaired in Malaysia gradually find their web offerings more and more usable.

Source Article:
Helping the blind get connected on The Star Online

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Accessibility News: WebAIM survey results on screen readers

February 3rd, 2009 by Steve | No Comments | Filed in Accessibility News, Disability Facts, Technology

WebAIM recently posted results to a survey of screen reader users, conducted from December 2008 – January 2009. In Survey of Preferences of Screen Readers Users, they share very interesting results regarding the usage of screen reader technology in web navigating.

Some of the initial findings perhaps aren’t surprising. Of the 1121 participants, the vast majority (nearly 90%) use screen reader technology all of the time and because of a disability. 96% of them cited visual impairment, in most cases outright blindness.

The breakdown of screen reader usage is insightful:

  • JAWS – 74%
  • Windows Eyes – 23%
  • NVDA – 8%
  • VoiceOver – 6%

(WebAIM points out that percentages often don’t add up to 100% due to rounding, and in this case also because of the possibility of usage of multiple products)

Most of the participants utilize desktop PCs (78%), with just over half use screen readers on a laptop. Those using mobile technology with screen readers made up a much smaller 12%.

Lastly (for this post), web browser usage breaks down as follows:

  • Internet Explorer 7 – 68%
  • Firefox – 39%
  • Internet Explorer 6 – 33%
  • Safari – 6%
  • Internet Explorer 8 – 2%

Amongst the nearly 7% of participants who used screen readers though were not disabled (some for evaluation purposes), Firefox usage was twice as prevalent. It was also noted that the question was not worded “primary” browser, just browser usage, and that IE8 and Safari were, essentially, write-in votes.

While none of this is exact science, the findings are all-around very interesting and offer a glimpse into the methods and practices of screen reader users.

I’ll close for now, having focused on the software and hardware findings. There are a slew of results covering browsing tendencies, from home page navigation to access keys to Flash and imagery frustrations/ease of use.

All in all, these results are well worth combing through and considering when evaluating accessibility, particularly as it relates to the visually impaired.

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