Accessible vs Inaccessible
Every person has difficulties in life, whether you are paralyzed, hard of hearing, your attention span is that of a gnat, or in my case, blind. The growth of technology has helped with accessibility, but it does not mean that things such as appliances and even the more basic website. The process of making programs, web pages, applications, and a myriad of other products can be made accessible to all, when it is implemented from the beginning stages up. What I mean is that it is much easier to build accessibility in, than to try and patch it in after the project is complete. This particular blog post is going to be from the point of blindness, since that is the point of view(pun intended), that I know.
The more basic a web page, the better it is for someone using a screen reading program, such as JAWS, NVDA, Voice Over, and others. It is very simple to keep it simple, use headings for major section is a big help in helping us to navigate each page. It is even simple, although it requires a bit of effort on the developer’s part to put in ALT tags for a picture’s description. If you need an example, close your eyes and grab a picture at random from someone(or get them to hand you one), and tell everyone what it looks like. You simply cannot do this, because you can’t see the picture; this is the same thing that we go through with each and every picture. Keep doing this for several hours, maybe even into days, perhaps weeks or even months and you will begin to have an idea of how frustrating things are for us with little to no sight.
Another thing is that we know that products have to be visually pleasing to those with sight, but it is possible to still have a visual pleasing online presence, while making it accessible to those with vision issues. I also understand that businesses need to use ads to help their product, to pay for cost, or to simply annoy those using screen reading software. I personally use JAWS, made by Freedom Scientific, but each time an ad starts it resets where we are at on the page. For me, it sends me back to the top and then depending on the length of the ad, I may get back to where I was when the ad plays again, starting the frustrating process all over again. I am thankful that they at least mute the ads, but enough is enough people. It is simple to make it accessible, here are a few ideas, have some human decency and help us out too. Keep in mind when designing, those with a disability spend money too.