[thelist] Accessible Design. Was: Tips/Tricks/Tidbits... what do you add?

Christian Heilmann codepo8 at gmail.com
Tue Nov 7 17:02:57 CST 2006

> Hehe... I guess Christians comment above reminded me of that.... Seems
> like all this talk of accessibility becomes more academic at times. I
> mean, where are the actual real world statistics? I hear all this talk
> about what is better, but how many of us have actually been around a
> blind person surfing the web (for example)?

Me, daily. We have blind people working as project managers and also
writing documentation. But the question is not about statistics. You
probably have seen squirrels in your city. Have you ever seen a baby
squirrel? And yet you know they must exist...
What statistics would convince you that thinking about accessibility
is worth the effort?

Let's turn it around: What is the issue with adding a bit more work
and possibly getting a lot more visitors because you don't block
anyone out.

> Of course, I am probably over-simplifying things here.


> I personally have never met a blind person... is that the one disability
> that we are really catering to when making pages more "accessible"?

It is the most obvious one. At the same time it is the trickiest one
as web designers tend to like being able to see and subconsciously
feel uneasy thinking about that experience. But there are a lot more
disabilities to think about:
- Mobility impairments (which can range from keyboard users, to switch
access like sucking and puffing on a straw, blinking an eye or
pressing a switch with your foot)
- Dyslexia and other learning disabilites (myspace is a good example)
- Colour Blindness
- Hard of Hearing
- and many more

However, Accessibility is NOT about catering for disabilities. It is
about not blocking out disabled users and making the experience easy
for everyone.

> Or, is it the screen-reader software that is dictating the direction
> accessible design should head? If so, what kind of guidelines do the
> screen reader software developers follow?

Making Money it seems. We're at a whole new browser war. This time
with assistive technology.

> Just curious. I obviously have a ton yet to learn about accessible web
> design.

Yes, and it isn't hard.



also of interest:

Chris Heilmann
Book: http://www.beginningjavascript.com
Blog: http://www.wait-till-i.com
Writing: http://icant.co.uk/

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