Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Another Way

Have you posted a comment on a blogspot blog lately? If the blog has word verification, then you might have noticed the little accessibility icon beside the box. Click on it and you'll here an alternative code for the verification. This is because web-reading software used by people with visual impairments doesn't "read" the word verification code. So, the audio code is one way the folks at Blogger have made their interface more accessible.

Back in the US, I worked in museums. In one of my roles, I helped manage the creation of an exhibit from an idea to the fully built-out exhibit. It was lots of fun and LOTS of work. Part of the process included an ongoing review of our ideas by a panel of accessibility experts. This team would listen to our ideas and "play" with the prototypes and then give us incredible feedback on ways to make the exhibit more accessible. It really helped me more fully understand that I go through life one way but that other people may have a completely different experience. Check out this chart that highlights some important web design issues.

Currently the primary output for the WWW is highly visual: using text, pictures and graphic symbols, with a growing use of audio in sound files and motion pictures. "It rapidly became evident that the biggest problem was that of potential obstacles to access, inherent to multimedia type data; the most obvious obstacle was that of the presentation of graphic images to the blind user [P. Graziani, 1996] ". Because Internet is considered an international shop windows, graphics are widely used even in excessive quantities. In addition, other data formats are also used which can create problems for other user groups, such as the organisation of data in tables and the use of film which is used more and more frequently in hypertext document. Navigation is also difficult in Web pages that feature multicolumn displays. These are a nightmare for the blind.

That little icon on the blogger comment page really has me thinking about how accessible my blog is. How can I make it more so...

Read more about internet accessibility here.


At 5/03/2006 11:25 PM, Blogger Robbie said...

You can always do audio posts.


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