Relearnability – how to keep your disabled users through a website redesign

Despite our aversion to change, new versions of websites and apps are being released at an increasing rate. Product Managers do this to add new functionality, restructure creaking information hierarchies, or just to keep up with current design trends. However, whenever you change a digital product there will be a period in which your users will feel uncomfortable, as they have to re-learn how to use it. Even if the new site is more accessible than the previous one, if it’s structured differently you can actually lose disabled users, as the challenge of re-learning how to use a site can be a big challenge. So how can you prevent this?

Tags: , , , , , , ,

The importance of text accessibility: how IBM’s Content Clarifier shows us what we’ve forgotten

in 2001, when I first started working in accessibility at the BBC, one of the key things we thought about was the aim to make text as simple as possible. Using Plain Language. In WCAG 1.0, this was a single-A requirement, recognising it as one of the most important aspects of web accessibility. But WCAG 2.0 downgraded it to be AAA, which everyone forgets. So can IBM’s Content Clarifier remind us of the key text accessibility requirements we’ve forgot?

Tags: , , ,

Browser Extensions can Deliver Landmark Navigation for All Keyboard Users

Landmark navigation is really useful for screen reader users. They can jump around pages from landmark to landmark, and heading to heading. However, lack of native browser support for landmark navigation prevents sighted keyboard users, for whom browsing busy pages can be a bit of a slog, from getting this help. In this article we’ll look at two browser extensions that can make this functionality available to all keyboard users…

Tags: , , , ,

5 accessibility tests you can do in 5 minutes

Accessibility testing is a specialist skill. However, just because there are tests that require detailed knowledge and tools or expensive assistive technology, it doesn’t mean that it can only be done by experts. There are several a11y tests which can be done by anyone, in quite a short time without requiring any specialist knowledge. Importantly, they also do not require that you to have access to any specialist tools. Here’s 5 you can do in 5 minutes…

Tags: , , ,

Does web accessibility really “place ruinous obligations on websites”? – analysis of Internet Association brief

Last week a brief filed by the Internet Association, which represents Google, Amazon, Facebook, AOL and eBay, stated “Applying the ADA to all Web sites may place uncertain, conflicting, burdensome, and possibly ruinous obligations on (our) members.” As many of those member websites include accessibility statements that tell a very different story, Jonathan Hassell asks why such overblown statements are made, what scares website owners about the link between WCAG 2.0 and disability discrimination laws, and whether standards like BS 8878 that advocate an approach based on ‘reasonable accommodations’ may help lower anxiety and restore sense in the debate around accessibility cost-benefits…

Tags: , , ,

5 things you should know before buying accessibility audit and accreditation services

From WCAG 2.0 AA and Section 508 VPATs to RNIB/AbilityNet Surf Right, DAC and Shaw Trust accreditation, there are a lot of accessibility conformance badges out there. As a free scheme to accelerate accessibility of websites is introduced by the Hong Kong government, using yet another new set of metrics, Jonathan Hassell asks what the true value of accessibility badges is, both to the organisations that buy them, and to the disabled people who use their sites…

The future of WCAG – maximising its strengths not its weaknesses

2012 was a year of real ups and downs for the de-facto Standard for accessibility, WCAG 2.0. It’s finally become ratified as an international Standard. It’s been included in legislation in Europe, Canada and the USA. At the same time it’s also had its value questioned by academic research, and the achievability of its AAA level questioned by some voices in the accessibility community. Calls for it to be updated are becoming louder and louder. And frameworks like BS 8878, in which WCAG 2.0 can be more successfully integrated with the practicalities of real-world web product development, are gaining support in the commercial and academic worlds. So, with the growing movement for WCAG 2.0 to replace national standards and thus harmonise accessibility standards globally, it’s a good time to summarise WCAG 2.0’s strengths and weaknesses, what strengths other national standards have that it may lack, and what will be needed to make it a much better ‘harmonised Standard’ for the future…

Tags: , , , ,

A clear EU accessibility law proposed? At what cost?

Early this month the European Commission issued a proposal for a directive on “Accessibility of Public Sector Bodies’ Websites”. This will require twelve categories of EU public-sector websites to comply with W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 at the AA level. The directive could establish a law centred around a clearer definition of ‘the objective set of criteria for determining what an accessible website looks like’ that many accessibility advocates have been wanting for years. So what does this proposed directive mean for developers, disabled & older people, and website owners in the UK? Is it going to get disabled and older people the benefits they want, without burdening website owners with unreasonable costs that prevent them implementing it? Find out more…

Tags: , , , ,

Everybody Technology – innovation through inclusive design

From the typewriter to ‘Zombies, Run!’, some of the greatest mainstream products were originally created in response to the needs of a disabled person. And many companies are finding that innovation can spring from considering how disabled people might use their products. Those were my messages last Friday when I spoke alongside IBM, Panasonic, Ribot, the BBC and AbilityNet at an event staged by the Royal London Society for Blind People, advocating ‘Everybody Technology’ – mainstream technology that can meet the needs of 100% of the population. Find out more…

Tags: , , ,

Netflix captions lawsuit settlement – how the perception of why you’ve improved your accessibility is vital for ROI

The captions lawsuit between NAD and Netflix has now been settled, with an agreement for Netflix to achieve 100% captioned programmes within 2 years and to pay costs of $755,000 in legal fees. So what does this mean for Netflix, NAD, the hard-of-hearing people that organisations like NAD represent, and the web industry in general? What will Netflix have to do to gain the maximum return on investment for their extra captioning work? And what can all organisations learn from the case about how to portray their accessibility decisions to disabled audiences?

Tags: ,