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  1. #1
    SitePoint Member bigbproductions's Avatar
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    how do I design for handicapped/disabled users

    I have a client who would like their site to cater to older, mostly handicapped users. Most commonly, users will be dealing with Parkinson's disease, visual impairment, etc.

    What special features can I add or implement when designing for this audience? I know big, easy-to-read nav, text and appropriate imagery. But what about scripts that can be used to remind them to take their medicine? visit their doctor?

    Can anything be placed in the code for the blind so that it can be displayed on a brail machine? I would appreciate any and all advice, this is a time-sensitive matter. Thanks.
    Brandon Gerena
    Creative and Interactive Director
    bigbproductions.com

  2. #2
    Grumpy Mole Man Skunk's Avatar
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    Take a look at http://diveintoaccessibility.org/ - it has 30 pages of tips for making a site more accessible to disabled users (they are aimed at weblogs but most are relevant to other sites as well).

  3. #3
    SitePoint Enthusiast
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    You might also want to look at http://www.webaim.org/ . They have quite a bit of information available.

    Patrick Hunter

  4. #4
    SitePoint Enthusiast webinista's Avatar
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    there's also the world wide web consortium's web accessibility initiative: http://www.w3.org/WAI/ that has guidelines for minimum accessibility.

    the html writers guild has the AWARE program: http://aware.hwg.org/

    you can also consult the HTML 4.01 and CSS specs:

    css: http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-CSS2/
    HTML: http://www.w3.org/TR/html401/

    both languages have accessibility tips built in.

    and don't forget to validate your markup. much of the key to accessibility is getting the markup right.


  5. #5
    SitePoint Member bigbproductions's Avatar
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    thank you, but....

    All of your hyperlinks have brought me to some very useful websites, offerings tons of helpful information. I now know what pitfalls to look out for (basically crossing my T's and dotting my i's in the code, as well as making sure I create alt text all over the place, steer clear of frames and use CSS sparingly).

    But for my pitch to the client, are there any "features" that I can offer? Something immediately tangible? Are there any really neat "bells and whistles" out there that I can offer?
    Brandon Gerena
    Creative and Interactive Director
    bigbproductions.com

  6. #6
    gingham dress, army boots... silver trophy redux's Avatar
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    well, clean code not only means your pages are accessible, but - in most cases - they will also work well across most browsers and devices (pc, webtv, pda, etc)*. so they won't need to do a "text only" version, or a "non javascript" or "non flash" version...one version will cater for all users. also, if you stick to xhtml rather than html, in the longer term it will be possible to convert your site to xml a lot easier - in case they decide to go for a content management system CMS, extract information from pages automatically, etc. your site will be future proof.
    a less tangible result is also that people with disabilities will be able to use your site without any problems, and this will give a great "feel-good-caring-sharing" image to the company as well (note: this should NOT be the reason for making pages accessible, but a nice byproduct).

    * n.b.: by "work well" i mean they will be useable, functional, and users will be able to access the information you're providing. it shouldn't be confused with "they'll look great", as Netscape 4.7x particularly is a pain in the behind when rendering compliant pages
    re·dux (adj.): brought back; returned. used postpositively
    [latin : re-, re- + dux, leader; see duke.]
    WaSP Accessibility Task Force Member
    splintered.co.uk | photographia.co.uk | redux.deviantart.com


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