- I'd like you to try something for just 30 seconds. Get yourself a pencil with an eraser on it. Now hold it in your fingertips and use it like it's a stylus. Put your other hand behind your back. I'd like you to use it to pause this movie. I'd like you to use it to turn captions on. I'd like you to use it to search the course for the word "magnifier." How easy was it? You should have noticed that it was at least a little bit difficult, but that you could accomplish every task.
Why? This course video player and search functionality have outstanding keyboard accessibility. It may not be that easy on every site though. And here's an open invitation for you: try using that pencil as a stylus for ten minutes. Or an hour. Or even half a day in the course of your regular work. It'll change the way you look at the sites that you use. That's your number one functional requirement for someone that struggles with a mobility or dexterity issue.
They may not be able to use a mouse, so many people with these issues rely on the keyboard to get things done. They may use a stylus, a mouth or head wand, or even voice recognition technology. But they all require keyboard access. That's not the only way people with mobility difficulties use the computer. Other challenges show up in a lot of different ways. Some people may have a tremor or shake in their hand and struggle to click on very small targets like radio buttons, checkboxes or pagination controls.
Some people have difficulty even holding on to the mouse because of arthritic joints, making drag and drop an almost insurmountable task. Some people can't use their hands or arms at all because of paralysis or perhaps repetitive stress injury. They may use voice recognition software and need programmatic accessibility and proper text alternatives just like screen reader users. Let's take a look at this example site where we try to use a flip card interface with Dragon NaturallySpeaking.
Click flip. Click flip. Click flip. Scroll down. Click flip. When I first try to activate the call to action "flip" it doesn't work. I can't seem to get the software to activate the link to flip the cards, so I need to resort to another method to click those links. This time, I'll use the mouse grid.
Mouse grid. Six. Five. Four. Eight. Click that. Click flip. Scroll down. Mouse grid. Six. Eight. One. Click that.
I had to do that because the text alternative didn't match. The visible call to action says flip, but the code underneath doesn't use that word. In order for this to work, we need to ensure that all calls to action are represented properly in their text alternatives. While we're using voice recognition software, let's take a look at one last example. In this case, we'll look at a fairly typical setup for a carousel with next and previous controls for moving through the photos.
Notice that the next and previous arrows aren't shown by default. The voice recognition user lives by the mantra, "see it and say it." If those calls to action aren't visible on the screen, they won't even know that it's a carousel, or that there's the ability to move between photos. This shows you another major functional need. Visible calls to action. Take these three things and incorporate them as functional needs into your designs and personas and you will go a long way to ensuring that your content and functionality is accessible to everyone.
- What is accessibility?
- Managing flow
- Ensuring proximity in your design
- Understanding how screen readers and voice recognition programs work
- Designing for hearing, vision, mobility, and cognitive issues
- Considering accessibility in layout
- Integrating accessibility into your content strategy