The best of web accessibility in week one

Lest take a look back over the first week here at abc4accessibility.

Day 1 Accessibility and Usability: The first steps

We look at the two terms accessibility and usability and take the first steps into the world of web accessibility.

Day 2 The Smart Design: Accessibility and Colour

Here we take a look at how using colour can effect people and see some of the WCAG2.0 guidelines around contrast in web accessibility.

Day 3 Get started with Structured Headings

On day three we get a look at how to structure our web pages by using headings and why it can effect accessibility for many people.

Day 4 A Little Accessibility Guide to Device Independence

Now we learn a little about what device independence means and the difference to accessibility it makes for people who use the web.

Day 5 Assistive Technology: Introducing the Screen reader

On day five we start to look into the world of assistive technology and introduce the screen reader. We find out a little about who it’s for, how it works and how it benefits people with web accessibility.

Day 6 Your Guide to Accessibility and Screen Magnifier Software

Here we delve deeper into assistive technology and web accessibility by taking a look at screen magnifiers. Again we see how they work and who can benefit by using them.

Day 7 Accessibility for Voice Activation Software

Lastly on day seven we go further into assistive technology by looking at voice activation. We see what it does and how it can help the accessibility for people with using the web.

Bonus 10 Top Tips on Web Accessibility Best Practice

This last post will help you get started into the world of web accessibility. Learning about some of the most common things to be aware of and how to improve web accessibility for many people.

Share the love

If you found these articles helpful, why not share the love and share them with your friends. Please use the share links and help spread the message of web accessibility helping people use the web.

Accessibility for Voice Activation Software

Have you ever watched Red Dwarf with Holly the talking computer and wanted to talk to your computer? For some people talking is their only way to use a computer.

What is voice activation software?

Voice activation software has advanced voice recognition that can listen to your voice through a microphone and convert this to computer instructions. It has evolved from simple sound detection to being able to understand words in multiple languages.

You will find it today being used on mobile phones such as Apples Siri to specialised assistive software on computers. Dragon Naturally Speaking, is probably the most popular voice activation software currently available.

How does web accessibility impact voice activation software?

If you have audio automatically play on your site, it can make it difficult for someone using voice activation to give voice commands. This making it hard to do anything while the audio is playing.

It takes more time to perform any task using voice activation, so moving through hundreds of links can be more trouble than its worth.

If there are little or no structure tags on a webpage, it can be very hard and slow to move and find information. Structure tags are things like headings and html5 section tags with ARIA roles.

You can read more about headings in the article Get started with Structured Headings and I will be covering ARIA in a later post.

Having timed restrictions such as only allowing people a limited time to perform a task may mean that its impossible to use with voice activation software.

Who will use voice activation software?

This started out as a very specialist software for people with physical limitations that prevent them from using a keyboard or mouse.

As the technology evolved it has moved into main stream products and now is used in many mobile devices.

Anyone may use voice activation software for any number of reasons from literacy difficulties to severe physical limitations. Some people may use it simply for their convenience over touch screen keyboards.

Things to note

It is important to remember people may use more than one assistive technology at the same time. It may be used with a screen magnifier or screen reader or other assistive technology.

You should also not assume anything about the people who may use voice activation software. It can be someone using it for better productivity or someone with multiple severe physical impairments.

Understanding how to build device independent websites can help improve peoples experience who use assistive technology. You can read the article A Little Accessibility Guide to Device Independence to learn a little about this.

Have your say

  • Do you use or ever seen voice activation software being used?
  • Have you ever used Siri or similar voice activation on a mobile device?

Why not share your experiences of voice activation software or ask us a question.

Your Guide to Accessibility and Screen Magnifier Software

Screen magnifier software is available in all shapes and sizes. From a basic magnifier built-in to operating systems to specialist software. They can be controlled by touch, keyboard, mouse or a specialised device. The main purpose is to make the visual display larger and easier to see for people with low vision.

How does screen magnifier software work?

Some will split the screen so that one section is magnified while the other is not. The split may be a left to right or a top to bottom split.

Others may use a boxed area on the screen that is moved around the display showing magnified content inside the box while showing at its original size outside the box. The box may be square, rectangle or circular.

The last type will magnify the whole screen showing only a small section of the display at any one time.

What’s in common with all of these methods is that you only get a small magnified section of the display at any one time.

What kind of magnification is available?

The level of magnification can be very slight from as little as 2% increase to very high magnification up to as much as 64 times the original size.

Some screen magnifiers will only enlarge the text content while others will enlarge everything. Some will also include colour contrast options for better visibility. Things like inversed colours or high contrast colours.

Some will enlarge the mouse pointer while others will use a fixed mouse pointer within the magnified area.

As well as this, there are various specialist monitors and stands, designed to give better visibility and comfort for people with limited sight.

Accessibility for Screen Magnifier Users

It is important to remember, you will only get a small part of the display at any given time. So things like having information presented in rows with one thing aligned to the left while the other part aligned to the right, across a wide screen without any visual guide can make it difficult to track with a mouse.

Form validation can cause difficulty if the error messages are placed away from the field which is at fault, This can make it hard to know what is wrong where.

Mouse activated tooltips can be a problem for screen magnifier users. If the tooltip extends outside the magnified area and moving the mouse hides the tooltip, they may never be able to see the whole tooltip.

This is the same for some drop down or pop out menus especially if they do not have any keyboard control.

Many screen magnifier users will use a keyboard over a mouse for faster access to content. So having visual indication of focused items can help them know where they are.

Things to note

There is both the visual and control aspects of your website to consider when looking at screen magnifier users. Remember people may combine screen magnifier software with a screen reader or voice control software. So it is important to understand a whole range of assistive technology and how people use them.

Have your say

Have you ever used or seen screen magnifier software used?

Why not share your thoughts on screen magnifier software and accessibility or ask me any questions you may have on the subject.