What is accessibility? A list of some Tools for Impaired Individuals
Below we include the results about impaired individuals’ accessibility. We have considered some videos, websites and guides related to how impairments affect individuals when accessing digital resources and we have mentioned some of the tools which have been developed to help them in their daily work.
We have analyzed several videos, like this video. They talk about the importance digital accessibility has in our own websites for people with impairments and gives some advice on how to make a more suitable website with full accessibility for every necessity and try to build internet for everyone.
There is a video about an interview to Adobe’s Andrew K. in charge on accessibility issues:
In 2001, there were section 508 requirements that said that agencies need to make sure that they are purchasing technology that is accessible to individuals with disabilities, now 9 years later according to Andrew there is very much a mixed bag in terms of how government agencies have performed with regard to accessibility, and industry in general has worked hard over this time to deliver accessible content.
However, he says there is a tremendous amount of business that is transacted through the government and thinks that there hasn´t been as much an active monitoring of how accessibility has been complied with within the government. So, within the past couple years, they have gone through a refresh of the Section 508 standards and access boards, that´s currently in progress.
For him, it is an on-going challenge because there is so much content and information, that making sure that is accessible, while important is also overwhelming.
Adobe, like other companies, makes software tools, like Acrobat PDF, FLASH… so the interviewer asks him how they educate the developers. For Andrew, it is a challenge, and the way they do it is by turning on by default those features in their products. They need to add visual equivalents, so they have created resources and they work with external advocacy groups.
Depending on the type of disability that people have, and making sure the content works for someone who requires use of the keyboard that can´t use the mouse. There are certain types of things that they are able to do a little bit more easily when they develop their interfaces and components people use, they can ensure that there is keyboard access in there to a much higher degree.
He talks about enabling the screen reader access for someone who is blind and there is data that needs to be added by the author with a proper label, so it tends to be that one of the criticisms that Accessibility gets is that there is a lot of focus on blindness. He says, in fact, it is because there is a lot of attention that needs to be paid. But there is also work that needs to go on for video with closed captioning for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Jeff and the Web Accessibility Deadline
This rather awkward video refers to a WCAG 2.0 deadline for Australian government sites. WCAG stands for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, and 2.0 is the latest version that superseded the 1.0 one. The Australian government endorsed these WCAG and set a deadline before which all government sites must comply with them (31 December 2012). You can find the guidelines here: http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/#guidelines
This means that the Australian government is engaged with the problems that people with disabilities may have when using its websites.
Section 508 Awareness Video
This video deals with Section 508 compliance, which means that “all electronic and information technology procured, maintained, or used by the Federal Government must be accessible to persons with disabilities”. In it we can see several people that work for the USA Government and who make use of these technologies of accessibility.
- Moira Shea is visually impaired and uses screen reading software to read her e-mails and perform her job as a senior program analyst in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response.
- Gary Moran is a program analyst at the Office of the Chief Information Officer at the National Institutes of Health; he cannot use his hands and thus he cannot use a mouse, so he uses a speech recognition technology to perform his tasks on his computer as well as to dictate the documents he needs to write.
Finally, all programs, documents and information technology purchased by the Federal Governments must comply with Section 508, otherwise they can be refused.
Web accessibility by the Government of Australia
This video is interesting because it has a somewhat broader scope. I mean, it includes not only people with disabilities, but also non-native English speakers, people with a low literacy level and those who are not using a computer but other devices. The definition of accessibility is related to universality: “making something that can be used by as many people as possible: those with reading difficulties, the hearing impaired, those with limited mobility, and anyone using handheld devices”. It explains how accessibility is something practical (your message will be more easily understood by more people) as well as a legal requirement. The point is: if you design your content/website/document/etc. having accessibility requirements in mind, it will be easier to comply with current regulations at the end of the process. It also stresses how accessibility is everyone’s responsibility, and thus it is wrong thinking that accessibility “is not my problem”. Content must be:
- Easy to read
- Adapted to different devices
- Easy to navigate
- Well designed
- Showing colour contrast
- Having images and graphs that are described well
- Having video captions or transcriptions
- Having documents and attachments in a format that can used by everyone, everywhere
It also talks about Word’s accessibility checker, a feature included in the Office Suite from 2010, which can be interesting: https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Check-for-accessibility-issues-a16f6de0-2f39-4a2b-8bd8-5ad801426c7f
BBC information for impaired individuals
Below we have included several guides, webs and links which can be very useful for impaired individuals:
Strategies for accessibility, as BBC proposals:
I can’t see very well: Change text and background colours, Change your fonts, Magnify your screen, Make the mouse pointer easier to see, Make your computer speak text aloud, Make your text larger, Alternatives to keyboard and mouse
I am blind: Screen readers and talking browsers
I can’t hear very well: Content available in British Sign Language (BSL), Content available with subtitles
I find words difficult: Check your spelling and grammar, Dictionary and thesaurus software, Smart word prediction, Symbol browsers
I find a keyboard or mouse hard to use: Make your keyboard easier to use, Make your mouse easier to use, Use voice recognition, Use your keyboard to control the mouse
Strategies for deaf people:
British Sign Language, also known by the abbreviation BSL, is the language used by more than 50,000 deaf people in the UK.
Currently, there are not many sites that offer BSL as a communications medium. However, one example is the British Deaf Association, an organisation that promotes sign language and deaf issues. They provide information in BSL using Flash technology.
Another is ITV’s Signed Stories, in which storybooks for children are read out in BSL (along with subtitles).
The BBC broadcasts two different types of TV programmes with signing in British Sign Language (BSL) for the deaf community: BSL sign-interpreted versions of mainstream BBC programmes in the Sign Zone; and programmes created specifically for sign-language users, such as See Hear, the magazine programme for the deaf community. Both types of programmes have been available online on BBC iPlayer since March 2008.
For a list of BSL signed programmes that are currently available online, visit the BBC iPlayer Sign Zone page. Children’s programmes can also be found on both the Sign Zone: CBBC shows and Sign Zone: CBeebies shows pages.
There is a page in Facebook: BBC See Hear, with news like this one:
Amazon has already captioned 100 percent of the video it offers through its Prime Video and has agreed to continue to do so. Under the deal with NAD, Amazon will move through its back-catalog content, captioning an additional 190,000 titles which weren’t given captions by the content creators.
Information, factsheets and step-by-step guides on approaches and technology to help disabled computer users. AbilityNet has useful links to UK organisations on their website, including literacy-related organisations and specialist IT suppliers.
Directgov – Disabled people
The Government’s one-stop directory of public services relating to disability.
Online edition of the magazine for people with disabilities.
The BBC’s blog about all things related to disability, both at the BBC and beyond
The BBC’s guide to using the internet has courses and answers your questions.
Wikipedia – Computer accessibility
An overview of the topic on the collaborative online encyclopedia.
W3C – Web Accessibility Initiative
The WAI works with a variety of organisations to develop strategies, guidelines, and resources to help make the web accessible.
Operating systems’ accessibility web links
Apple – Accessibility
This section of the Apple website contains information on all aspects of disabled access to the Macintosh.
A project by developers and users to develop open-source accessibility solutions for this Linux desktop environment.
KDE Accessibility Project
A community of developers and other volunteers dedicated to ensuring this Linux desktop environment is accessible to all users.
Microsoft – Accessibility
Microsoft’s accessibility site includes information and tutorials on its disabled access features, for both users and developers.
Vision-related web links
British Computer Association of the Blind
A self-help group of visually impaired computer professionals and users.
Royal National Institute of the Blind
Information on all aspects of vision impairment, including computer access and other technologies. The RNIB’s Useful links page has a comprehensive list of UK vision-related technology and standards resources.
Hearing-related web links
Action on Hearing Loss
The website of the rebranded Royal National Institute for the Deaf (RNID) has information and resources for deaf and hard of hearing people.
British Deaf Association
News, information on British Sign Language, and other resources on the website of the organisation run by deaf people for deaf people.
The BDA’s initiative to train and improve the quality of BSL (British Sign Language) teachers and to increase BSL awareness.
The website of the charity that applies communications technology to create deaf-friendly resources, notably Viewtalk, which allows users to watch and upload video blogs and messages, and has training films for improving BSL vocabulary.
European Union of the Deaf
The EUD is a pan-European non-profit making organisation representing the interests of deaf Europeans.
University of Bristol – Centre for Deaf Studies
Europe’s first academic institution to concentrate solely on research and education that aims to benefit the deaf community.
Language and reading web links
British Dyslexia Association
Information on resources for dyslexic people, local support and publications.
Helen Arkell Dyslexia Centre
The HADC offers training and support for educators and people with dyslexia.
Website of the charity providing services and support for people with dyslexia and literacy difficulties.
National Literacy Trust
Website of the charity that aims to improve reading and writing skills for all ages.
Keyboard and mouse: mobility-related web links
Ace Centre – Resources
The Ace Centre website’s Resources section includes UK suppliers of communication aids.
Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors
Information on ergonomics and ergonomic design – including computer workstation design.
Inclusive Technology – Links
The Inclusive Technology website links to a wide range of suppliers, support organisations and other contacts in all areas of physical difficulty.
Multiple Sclerosis Society
The MS Society website has information and resources for people who have multiple sclerosis. Its Helpful Organisations page has links to organisations that provide advice on equipment and services for people with physical disabilities.
The Repetitive Strain Injury Association’s website includes information on all aspects of RSI: causes, treatments, research and legal issues.
Microsoft Corp. has its own guides, such as (links for each guide can be followed):
Additional Accessibility Guides
Accessibility Guide for Educators, Accessibility Guides for Businesses and Government Organizations
Other videos related to this subject are:
Examples of subtitled videos:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bI1dfddAnBs (subtitling for commercial uses)
Open University & Disabilities
Accessibility for kids
Tools to subtitle videos