7-minute video with examples of how accessibility is essential for people with disabilities and useful for everyone in a variety of situations.
Video isn’t just about pictures,
it’s also about sound.
Without the audio you would have to guess what this film is about.
Frustrating, isn’t it?
Not knowing what’s going on.
That’s the situation for everyone who can’t hear.
Captions make videos accessible.
Which is also handy for people who want to watch video in loud environments.
Or where you need to be very, very quiet.
There’s something about great design
that allows it to go practically unnoticed.
But it doesn’t take much to make things confusing and frustrating.
Choosing colors with poor contrast makes navigating, reading, and interacting a real pain.
Good design means sufficient contrast between foreground and background colors.
That’s not just text and images but links, icons, and buttons.
If it’s important enough to be seen, then it needs to be clear.
And this is essential for people with low contrast sensitivity.
Which becomes more common as we age.
With good colors, websites and applications
can be easier to use in more situations.
Like in different lighting conditions.
Imagine if you could only communicate with your family by writing.
Sometimes it’s just easier to speak.
One of the advances of technology is voice recognition.
Whether it’s searching the Web:
“Nineteenth Century Architecture.”
“Send email to Jack Harding.”
Or controlling your navigation app.
Many people with physical disabilities
rely on voice recognition to use the computer.
But for that to happen websites and apps need to be properly coded.
Voice recognition could help lots of other people
with temporary limitations too, like an injured arm.
It can also prevent injuries becoming worse,
like RSI: Repetitive Stress Injury.
Or for people simply preferring voice.
“Some people can’t see the text on this screen.”
“Fortunately, computers can convert text to speech.”
It’s technology that many people who are blind have been relying on for years.
But it’s also important for many people with dyslexia.
And very useful for people who have difficulty reading text.
As well as some people who just like to multi-task.
But for this to work,
websites and apps have to be properly coded.
Which has the added benefit of helping search engines index websites’ contents better.
Poor layout can be very frustrating.
And the same applies to the Web.
Good design involves good layout
and that means a better user experience.
This includes clear headings, navigation bars, and consistent styling.
Any web user will get frustrated with bad layout and design.
Complex layouts also make finding information difficult
or impossible for people with visual disabilities.
And they are confusing for people with cognitive and learning disabilities
who need clarity and consistency of the presentation.
Bad design also impacts anyone who isn’t particularly confident around computers.
All the right gears can be put in motion.
The hands can be at the exact place they need to be.
But if you don’t get the response that you’re expecting,
you’ll end up wondering if there’s some sort of problem.
It’s the same on the Web.
Without clear notifications and feedback,
people are quickly disorientated and confused.
Especially error messages which are often complex and confusing.
Yet making the understandable is usually quite simple.
Making websites and apps predictable and understandable
makes them accessible to people with cognitive and learning disabilities,
and more usable for everyone.
Especially for people with lower computer skills.
Trying to hit a small target requires lots of effort.
Many websites and applications try to thread the needle.
But on the Web, we can make areas for clicking and tapping larger and easier to use.
Which is handy on mobile devices
especially when we might be moving around at the time.
Which is critical for people with reduced dexterity.
What’s right for you
doesn’t necessarily work for the next person.
Customization isn’t always just a question of preference though.
Sometimes, it’s a necessity.
Being able to adjust the text is crucial with low vision and dyslexia.
Properly coded websites and applications allow the text to be customized.
For example, to change its size, spacing, font, and colors
without loss of functions or clarity.
Instead of saying:
“To postulate a conceit more irksome
than being addressed in sesquipedalian syntax is adamantine”,
it is better to say:
“Being spoken to in unnecessarily long
and complicated language is a pain”.
Yet many websites lack structuring
using headings, lists, and separations.
Or they use overly complex language, jargon,
and unexplained acronyms.
It makes them difficult and unappealing for many people,
including non-native speakers,
and makes them unusable for people with cognitive and learning disabilities.
Not being able to use your computer
because you mouse doesn’t work, is frustrating.
Many people use only the keyboard to navigate websites.
Either through preference or circumstance.
Whether it’s temporarily limited mobility,
a permanent physical disability,
or simply a broken mouse,
the result is the same:
Websites and apps need to be operable by keyboard.
Web accessibility: Essential for some, useful for all.