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  1. #1
    We like music. weirdbeardmt's Avatar
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    Might be time to *actually* worry about accessibility

    OK, so that is a really flippant title, but..

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/2459305.stm
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    SitePoint Wizard Rick's Avatar
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    Cool - be interesting to see how they work.

    The glasses look like the ones they have in school chemistry labs though

    Its a great idea, I'd like to know how they work (how you click, scroll up and down, left to right etc, how sensitive they are) - I'll be wanting some if they're any good (as long as I wouldn't be depriving someone who needs them though)

    How is typing done? I'd expect some sort of on screen keyboard, but I found grafeti (on plam OS') bad enough...

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  3. #3
    Prolific Blogger silver trophy Technosailor's Avatar
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    yeah, it makes accessiblit more of an issue, but I fear that people still will live their programming lives in an IE only world. :|

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    SitePoint Guru hurtdidit's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Sketch
    yeah, it makes accessiblit more of an issue, but I fear that people still will live their programming lives in an IE only world. :|
    Too true! Although it will become mandatory all in good time, I'm convinced.

    Which is a GREAT thing, as far as I'm concerned, as the market is already oversaturated with too many do-it-yourself wannabes, giving consumers a bad image of web designers in general!

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  5. #5
    gingham dress, army boots... silver trophy redux's Avatar
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    actually, i beg to differ to this thread. unless i'm mistaken, these glasses will enable users to move the mouse pointer around with eye movements (and presumably it will have a "virtual keyboard" pop up on screen whenever textual input is needed). so, effectively, they'll be able to use any website/application that sighted people with normal mouse/keyboard usage can. they'll be able to surf all-graphics sites which only run with javascript and tons of flash etc, because effectively they'll be running IE6 or whatever, so they won't rely on special software. anything that is utterly inaccessible but works for 100% sighted and "unimpaired" (is that the PC term for it ) people will work great for them.
    if anything, i'd say this is almost a case of "to hell with accessibility, THEY can adapt to our messy code". ok, it gives disabled users PHYSICAL access, but has really nothing to do with how we code our websites, whether we use flash or not, etc.
    just my £0.02, of course. feel free to turn the barbie on and give me a good flaming
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  6. #6
    gingham dress, army boots... silver trophy redux's Avatar
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    Originally posted by zoo
    How is typing done? I'd expect some sort of on screen keyboard, but I found grafeti (on plam OS') bad enough...
    after a while, i've actually come to love graffiti for most normal writing, although for any special characters i keep having to look up the sticker with all the symbols i stuck to the inside of the leather lid thingy
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  7. #7
    SitePoint Guru hurtdidit's Avatar
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    This will help out quadriplegics (sp?), yes, but it's not going to do much for someone who is visually impaired (as the glasses still can't make them see!).

    So it's definitely NOT ripe to say "to hell with accessibility!"

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  8. #8
    gingham dress, army boots... silver trophy redux's Avatar
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    Originally posted by hurtdidit
    This will help out quadriplegics (sp?), yes, but it's not going to do much for someone who is visually impaired (as the glasses still can't make them see!).

    So it's definitely NOT ripe to say "to hell with accessibility!"
    just wait until they perfect the implants of "digital retinae" combined with these glasses...

    i know this won't help visually imparied people, i was just pointing out that the general trend this suggests is that it solved accessibility issues on the "user end" rather than the application end...
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  9. #9
    SitePoint Wizard Rick's Avatar
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    I'm not sure how 'clicking' is done, but I bet it'll require a little more effort than applying a small amount of pressure on the left mouse button

    So useability becomes important again.

    You can't hide the fact that the web isn't designed for use by the disabled, infact some of its content is designed for 20/20 vision in IE 5.5 + with Flash and ActiveX only

    We should be making out sites as accessible as possible, to all browsers, platforms, and people of all abilities.

    Until now if you can't read, use a keyboard and mouse properly (and the list goes on...) the web hasn't been for you, unless you are a very determined person in-deed.

    Finally products are comming along to allow people less fortuante than many of us (those who use opera for example - JOKE) to use the web like we all do - we should be taking every effort to make out material compatible with these systems

    Rick
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  10. #10
    gingham dress, army boots... silver trophy redux's Avatar
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    Originally posted by zoo
    I'm not sure how 'clicking' is done, but I bet it'll require a little more effort than applying a small amount of pressure on the left mouse button
    probably a combination of blinking, or the use of some other muscle (clenching of the jaw, for instance). the article is indeed a bit vague about this.

    So useability becomes important again.
    just to nitpick: don't confuse useability with accessibility. they usually go hand in hand to make a good site, but one does not necessarily follow the other.

    We should be making out sites as accessible as possible, to all browsers, platforms, and people of all abilities.
    i'm with you on this 100%. sorry if my previous replies might have given the opposite impression...i was just demonstrating that the premise of the thread starter was, unfortunately, wrong in my opinion.

    we should be taking every effort to make out material compatible with these systems
    which, interestingly enough, can be achieved (at least on a technical level - accessibility, not useability) by following W3C standards, and shunning all the weird and wonderful javascript workarounds and "cool" special effects (e.g. "how do i disable the back button in my browser, make the browser full screen, and then move the user's mouse cursor around in circles ?")
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  11. #11
    SitePoint Wizard Rick's Avatar
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    Yup

    I any work I do is to W3C standards, and if who I'm working for don't like, well!

    However Useability is still important, and more so in cases such as this.

    Making user go through hoops to get to that all important articles page, or your contact form isn't exactly making it easy, not only for the disabled, but also for the rest of us.

    A simple and clear interface beats any fancy gimmicks in my book, and I expect makes everyone's life a little easier.

    Rick
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  12. #12
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    Cool

    That's very cool, guess Ill have to start filling in ALT tags for every single image.

  13. #13
    SitePoint Guru hurtdidit's Avatar
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    That's a great thing to do anyway, Sonic, as search engines take ALT tags into consideration when it comes to keywords.

    One thing to keep in mind when devising ALT tags for images that are in close approximation to body text is to add brackets to the description; this helps denote the text as an image, and separates it from the rest of the article (it can get confusing on screen readers otherwise).

    For example:

    [ sitepoint logo ] instead of sitepoint logo

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  14. #14
    We like music. weirdbeardmt's Avatar
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    Originally posted by hurtdidit
    [B]That's a great thing to do anyway, Sonic, as search engines take ALT tags into consideration when it comes to keywords.
    And if you want your code to be compliant you're gonna need 'em too...
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  15. #15
    Non-Member Forlorn's Avatar
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    I've done a few websites that had to be disabled approved. Services like Bobby4U are some of those services. Its not fun because well if your a graphic designer you can't put your best work forward. You can't use Flash, RollOvers, anything that animates and things like that. Also all your text has to be in tables not in layers and has to use a lot of alt tags. If some company wants you do this charge them double.

  16. #16
    gingham dress, army boots... silver trophy redux's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Forlorn
    Its not fun because well if your a graphic designer you can't put your best work forward
    it's not fun for a blind person to surf a site via lynx or a screen reader and just get "image, image, image, image" and no content all the time...

    you can put your best work forward, as long as you provide alternatives. obviously, if you want to show off a great photograph of complex graphic design, the ALT text or a descriptive text alternative will never convey to a visually impaired user what the work is truly about, but at least they'll appreciate that the mysterious "image" is actually a photo/design/whatever. same goes for flash.

    you can use rollovers and animations as well, as long as they're not distracting (flashing stuff, for instance) and you provide a way of stopping those animations (for animated gifs, for instance, users can hit the browser's stop button. for rollovers, they can disable javascript - and here's hoping the site's functionality is still intact without it...)

    as a web development professional, i feel it's my duty to deliver the best, most compliant sites. making it an "extra" to charge clients more money for it seems a bit iffy to me (but hey, that's my personal view)
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  17. #17
    Non-Member Forlorn's Avatar
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    What I have done you have to charge more. Its double the work than you would for a reg design. Like for me it takes me usually an hour or less to get a good layout going (without images) if I had to do it for a disabled person (not just blind but others) the design well would take me a lot longer creating ALT tags, and modifying other parts of my layout just to get it perfectly working.

    Don't get me wrong my grandmother is blind and she uses my computer for internet access. What she usually does is use the magifers in the accesiblity control panel and my layouts stay the same.

  18. #18
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy TheOriginalH's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Forlorn
    Its double the work than you would for a reg design
    No, it is a "reg" design. Anything less is substandard and, effectively "half" the job (looking at it very losely).

    None of my suppliers currently get any work unless they meet the standard. I am slowly trudging through the stuff that has been done when a slightly more loose interpretation was allowed (by me).

    I re-iterate. It is not "double" the work. It is doing the job properly. When someone paints your house, you don't expect them to charge double for preperation, filling, primer, undercoats etc do you?
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  19. #19
    gingham dress, army boots... silver trophy redux's Avatar
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    Originally posted by TheOriginalH


    No, it is a "reg" design. Anything less is substandard and, effectively "half" the job (looking at it very losely).

    None of my suppliers currently get any work unless they meet the standard. I am slowly trudging through the stuff that has been done when a slightly more loose interpretation was allowed (by me).

    I re-iterate. It is not "double" the work. It is doing the job properly. When someone paints your house, you don't expect them to charge double for preperation, filling, primer, undercoats etc do you?
    ah, my dear H, as always you've ripped the words right out of my mouth (ouch). i wholeheartedly agree...
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  20. #20
    Non-Member Forlorn's Avatar
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    To me its double. I have to think harder just so I can get this site Bobby Approved. Other than that the ALT tags, can't do text in Photoshop or Illustrator because it can't be read so I have to do it in Dreamweaver as ALT Text. I have done many sites like this and I feel its a pain to do these sites other than regular sites that I usually do.

  21. #21
    gingham dress, army boots... silver trophy redux's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Forlorn
    I have to think harder just so I can get this site Bobby Approved
    who said that good web design has to be easy ?
    I respect your opinion, forlon, but bear in mind that accessiblity is becoming more and more of an issue.
    in the UK, every commercial and educational site needs to meet accessibility guidelines. in the USA - at the moment - it's every governmental sites - although cases are, as far as i know, being fought in court about extending this to commercial sites as well. australia has some accessibility provisions regarding educational and commercial sites too, if i'm not mistaken.
    anyway, my point is that this is becoming less and less of a "nice touch", and more of a necessary part of web design/development. if you feel like charging your clients more, i'm sure there are others out there who will charge regular fees for the complete works. you may be alienating part of your customer base, and c'mon...it's not THAT hard, if you take it into consideration from the start, rather than having the "i need to make this accessible now" step at the very end of the design process. if you do it as you go along, it's no hassle at all.
    right, i'll step down from my soapbox now
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  22. #22
    Non-Member Forlorn's Avatar
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    I learn something everyday. UK has to have basically every site Bobby Approved for distribution. Smart. Here in the USA not all govt sites have to. I didn't know about Aussie land either. I think its a good idea. I just think that for USA sites which depend a lot on design and fuctionally more emphis on design though. Maybe UK sites have more fuctionally on them with PHP and ASP to where a good looking design laied out nicley is not as big as what the USA does.

  23. #23
    gingham dress, army boots... silver trophy redux's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Forlorn
    Maybe UK sites have more fuctionally on them with PHP and ASP to where a good looking design laied out nicley is not as big as what the USA does.
    for the last time: accessibility and "good looking design" are not mutually exclusive

    Here in the USA not all govt sites have to.
    well, all federal agencies anyway... are there "non-federal" governmental sites ? not sure about this one... http://www.section508.gov/index.cfm?...n=Content&ID=3
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  24. #24
    gingham dress, army boots... silver trophy redux's Avatar
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    oh, and as a sidenote: when you make your site accessible, you're not only catering for people with disabilities, but - as you're using the proper w3c guidelines - you're also ensuring that the site works over a variety of devices (web-enabled PDAs, for instance)...
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  25. #25
    Don't get too close, I bite! Nicky's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Forlorn
    I learn something everyday. UK has to have basically every site Bobby Approved for distribution. Smart. Here in the USA not all govt sites have to. I didn't know about Aussie land either. I think its a good idea. I just think that for USA sites which depend a lot on design and fuctionally more emphis on design though. Maybe UK sites have more fuctionally on them with PHP and ASP to where a good looking design laied out nicley is not as big as what the USA does.
    This is rubbish, find me the legislation that says all website in the UK have to be Bobby approved!


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