Links on Accessibility

Top 5 posts at The UX Bookmark in 2012

I wish you, all my readers, a wonderful 2013. These are the five posts which people read the most in 2012.

  1. A huge list of Style Guides and UI Guidelines
  2. Free User Experience books (Interaction design, HCI, web accessibility & Information Architecture)
  3. Download IDEO’s Human Centered Design Toolkit
  4. Ergonomics for Interaction Designers
  5. Mobile Prototyping Essentials

The Use of Virtual Worlds Among People with Disabilities

It may appear that with their emphasis on 3D graphics and complex interface controls, gaming interfaces and virtual worlds have little to offer people with disabilities. However, virtual worlds serve as a form of augmented reality where users transcend physiological or cognitive challenges to great social and therapeutic benefit. A number of intriguing developments exist within the accessibility sector: haptic input devices for the blind, virtual regions developed according to Universal Design principles, communities dedicated to people with cognitive disorders, the use of the avatar as counsellor, applications in higher education, and customizable personae that either transcend or represent a disabled person’s self-identity.

The Use of Virtual Worlds Among People with Disabilities (PDF, 5.7 mb)

Be Kind to the Color Blind

The author has a color vision deficiency. Like roughly 7-10% of all males, his deuteranomaly makes it difficult to differentiate between some colors, like red and green. Color deficiency, or color blindness as it’s commonly referred to, doesn’t mean that he or people with similar conditions cannot see certain colors. They’re not invisible and he doesn’t see in black and white (a condition that is actually very, very rare). He can still use crayons effectively, find meaning in beautiful sunsets and even enjoy clear blue skies. What it does mean is that certain colors in the visual spectrum look a lot like one another and so he has a hard time sometimes telling the difference between certain colors and even shades.

Because of this, designing software and interfaces that will also work effectively for people like him takes a bit of concerted effort. Of all the elements of design (line, shape, size, texture, etc.), color is probably one of the most used elements to pass on informational states. This is probably because it allows a designer to say many things without having to change the form or layout of the design. While there are a number of simulators and plugins that can help you “visualize” what a color deficient person might be seeing, he doesn’t recommend spending a lot of time with them. Instead, he would like to propose just a few simple guidelines along with plenty of examples to help the reader effectively ensure that a good percentage of their audience won’t misinterpret the intended message.

Be Kind to the Color Blind

Designing Web Sites for Older Adults: A Review of Recent, Relevant Research (2004)

In this document from 2004, then recent, relevant research about Web site design and older adult users are reviewed. From the research reviewed here, the authors developed a set of heuristics to use in persona-based, task-based reviews of 50 Web sites that older adult users are likely to go to.

Designing Web Sites for Older Adults: A Review of Recent, Relevant Research (PDF, 380 kb)

This document was published on December 14, 2004.

Designing web sites for older adults: Expert review of usability for older adults at 50 web sites

In this document from 2005, findings from an expert review of 50 Web sites are presented. In a variation on the traditional heuristic evaluation methodology, heuristics were derived from research about older adults and Web design to perform persona-based, task-based reviews of Web sites that older adult users are likely to go to. The heuristics are extracted from our findings in Designing Web Sites for Older Adults: A Review of Recent, Relevant Research.

Designing web sites for older adults: Expert review of usability for older adults at 50 web sites (PDF, 1.7 mb)

Colblindor

Colblindor is a website where content focuses on color blindness. One can learn a lot of colorblind facts while browsing through the articles, try one of the tools or take a color vision deficiency test. Have a look at the most frequently asked questions or else contact the author in case any unanswered questions remain.

Colblindor

Free Nielsen Norman Group Report- Beyond ALT Text: Making the Web Easy to Use for Users With Disabilities

The free report by Nielsen Norman Group (otherwise valued at $124) based purely on empirical evidence from user testing contains:

  • Results of usability tests of 19 websites with users with several different types of disabilities who are using a range of assistive technology:
    • blind users using screen readers
    • blind users using Braille readers
    • low-vision users using screen magnifiers
    • motor-impaired users
  • Test data collected mainly in the United States, with some additional studies in Japan to ensure the international applicability of the recommendations
    • A total of 104 users participated in the usability studies:
    • 84 users with disabilities
    • 20 non-disabled users who served as a control group
  • 75 detailed design guidelines

The report is richly illustrated with 46 screenshots of designs that worked well or that caused difficulties for users with disabilities in the usability tests as well as 23 photos of assistive technology devices. The examples and guidelines are directly based on empirical observation of actual user behavior.

This report addresses the usability of websites and intranets and addresses the second level (good usability after ensuring technical accessibility).

Beyond ALT Text: Making the Web Easy to Use for Users With Disabilities

Creating websites for users with Learning & Cognitive disabilities- pointers

This overview of Steppingstones Cognitive Research provides a brief overview of the findings and observations of a cognitive accessibility survey.

Introduction

Creating accessible websites for users with learning and cognitive disabilities is an area with little research and few concrete recommendations. While web developers can apply universal principles of web accessibility to benefit all users with sensory or physical disabilities, the application of cognitive accessibility is varied and complex. Due to the limited research and complexity of cognitive web accessibility, common techniques to increase usability for those with cognitive and learning disabilities are hard to come by, despite the fact that the number of users with these disabilities far exceeds the number of people with other types of physical and sensory disabilities.

What to keep in mind while creating websites for users with learning and cognitive disabilities

  • Make your page appear easy to use
  • Simplicity, error recovery, and intuitiveness can increase efficiency and confidence
  • Keep visual aids clean
  • A text alternative, a prominent pause feature, and an ability to quickly rewind or replay the video allow users to use multimedia to go at their own pace and take in all of the information
  • Sometimes making something more visually obvious also makes it so much different that it can be difficult to find
  • While organizational elements (headings, lists, etc.) can help accessibility, they should be clearly differentiable from other elements

Overview of Steppingstones Cognitive Research

Typography and the Aging Eye: Typeface Legibility for Older Viewers with Vision Problems

Population is rapidly aging and becoming a larger share of the marketplace. Thirteen percent of the population is currently over 65 years old. In 30 years that group will double to 66 million people.

People change as they age. Sensory, cognitive and motor abilities decline. The built environment is not typically created with the needs of the aging population in mind. How does the choice of typeface in signage systems, for example, impact the older viewer who is experiencing vision problems typical to that age group? Are certain typefaces more suitable to the aging eye?

Typography and the Aging Eye: Typeface Legibility for Older Viewers with Vision Problems

Evaluating for Accessibility

A key aspect of successful User-Centered Design (UCD) is evaluating early and throughout the UCD process. The Background: Accessibility & User-Centered Design (UCD) chapter introduces the User-Centered Design process.

This section provides information on incorporating accessibility into the following evaluation methods:

  • Importance of Comprehensive Accessibility Evaluation
  • Standards Review
  • Heuristic Evaluation
  • Design Walkthroughs
  • Screening Techniques
  • Usability Testing

Evaluating for Accessibility