Frontend has recently completed the delivery of the first version (1.1) of the Irish National Disability Authority (NDA) IT Accessibility Guidelines. In the course of our work for the NDA over the last year we’ve talked to a wide variety groups and individuals who have an interest in accessibility and as a result of their input, our approach has shifted a little. Here’s what we found out.
Focus on your users, all of them. Learn from mistakes currently made on the Web. If a user can't fill out a form, they can't buy anything from your site. People turned away by unusable sites will probably try a competitor's site. Don't be the site that turned people away. Make your Web site as usable and accessible as possible. It's the business savvy thing to do. It's the right thing to do. If you don't, someone just might force you legally to do it or threaten to sue.
In recent user testing with a range of participants including Visually Impaired (VIP) and Blind users we found that the majority of problems were common across all groups. However the effect of poor usability is more severe for users with visual disabilities. Surprisingly all of the issues are very familiar and are easy to fix so we thought we’d revisit some of the basics of accessible web design.
With current Web design practices, users without disabilities experience three times higher usability than users who are blind or have low vision. Usability guidelines can substantially improve the matter by making websites and intranets support task performance for users with disabilities.
This section of Designing a More Usable World is dedicated to cooperative efforts linked toward building a more usable Web for all. At the present time, there are a number of interlocking and interrelated efforts.
This document outlines approaches for preliminary review Web site accessibility, and for evaluation of conformance to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0. While it does not provide checkpoint-by-checkpoint testing techniques it does include general procedures and tips for evaluation during development of Web sites, and for monitoring of established Web sites. Other resources will be developed for in-depth compliance testing. The measures described here are intended to supplement an organization's existing procedures for content management and quality assurance on their Web sites. For information about why making Web sites accessible is important read the Introductions on the WAI Resources page.
Fahrner Image Replacement and its analogues aim to combine the benefits of high design with the requirements of accessibility. But how well do these methods really work? Accessibility expert Joe Clark digs up much-needed empirical data on how FIR works (and doesn’t) in leading screen readers.
For this study, we recruited low-vision users with a variety of vision problems who need software to magnify computer text. Although we did not systematically recruit for specific vision problems, the fact that our users had different needs gave us one of the most critical insights in this study: The needs of low-vision users are too diverse for simple solutions to Web accessibility and usability. We show a few ways in which today’s Web sites are missing the needs of all low-vision users and provide guidelines for fixing those problems. However, the diversity of vision needs and the resulting adaptations that low-vision users require mean that there are no simple solutions to making Web sites work for everyone. In this article, therefore, you will not find many simple guidelines. Instead, we raise a critical issue and suggest a 'vision of the future' solution.
The unique requirements for motor impaired web users can often be overlooked or poorly implemented. Motor impairments can be caused by a stroke, Parkinson's disease, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), a physical disability or even a broken arm. This group of users essentially have limited or no ability to use a mouse.
The W3C WAI Page Authoring Guidelines (Vanderheiden, et al, 1998a) contains nineteen general concepts that Web page authors should follow to make their pages more accessible and usable, not only to people with disabilities, but for newer page viewing technologies (mobile and voice), for electronic agents such as indexing robots, and etc. In this paper/presentation, we will talk about and demonstrate how scripts and style sheets can be implemented today, and still work on systems that do not support scripts and style sheets ('Transform gracefully'). We also talk about and demonstrate how the data in a table can be presented and navigated both via scripting and by an accompanying application ('Context and navigation').
Begins by showing us the core functionality of screen readers and how they interact with the desktop. In the second part it demonstrates how a blind user may use them to explore and understand web sites, how sites are “linearized”, and how using semantic markup to build sites supports accessible navigation and usability.
The concept behind website operability is simple: Can everybody use the tools and mechanisms required to operate your website? Operability may seem easy, but it can be very challenging. Every control, every link, and every button on your site is a potential point of failure for operability. Without appropriate consideration for the disabled, you run the risk that disabled users will be unable to access your site.
Web accessibility has so many benefits that I really do wonder why such a large number of Websites have such diabolically bad accessibility. One of the main benefits is increased usability, which, according to usability guru, Jakob Nielsen, can increase the sales/conversion rate of a Website by 100%, and traffic by 150%.
We describe the challenges of understanding and setting usability requirements for a web site containing a form. We define 'usability requirements.' Ideally, usability requirements should be defined early in a project. In practice, we often find that the first opportunity we have is when we are asked to undertake an evaluation. Collecting the users' opinions of the requirements as part of the evaluation can often prompt the organization into investigating the users, leading to a better set of requirements and, eventually, a better web site.
Simply ensuring that your Website is accessible to screen reader users is, unfortunately, not enough to guarantee that these users can find what they're looking for in a reasonably quick and efficient manner. Even if your site is accessible to screen reader users, its usability could be so poor that they needn't have bothered stooping by in the first place.
I have a few late model screen readers and I also have simple audio recording tools. I'll use them to get you closer to what these screen readers actually say. I'll start a collection of recordings so you can hear for yourself what these tools say.
Text-only websites are not suited to all users with impairments. Although they are often ideal for users who are blind and use a screen reader, accessibility goes far beyond this user group.
An investigation of 1000 UK Web sites carried out on behalf of the Disability Rights Commission (DRC) reveals unacceptably poor (in fact woeful) accessibility. At least 81% of sites failed to meet the minimum accessibility standard, and this figure is likely to be much higher.
This article will explain some simple techniques which, if incorporated into the design of a website, will enhance its accessibility and usability for people who have a vision, hearing, physical, cognitive, or learning disability.
When people talk about both usability and accessibility, it is often to point out how they differ. Accessibility often gets pigeon-holed as simply making sure there are no barriers to access for screen readers or other assistive technology, without regard to usability, while usability usually targets everyone who uses a site or product, without considering people who have disabilities. In fact, the concept of usability often seems to exclude people with disabilities, as though just access is all they are entitled to. What about creating a good user experience for people with disabilities—going beyond making a Web site merely accessible to make it truly usable for them?