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BS: Internet Access for the Disabled

Related threads:
Making Mudcat Accessible (33)
Mudcat and other folk site accessibility (35)
Clean text for the blind (12)


Girl Friday 06 Dec 06 - 08:56 PM
GUEST,Jon 06 Dec 06 - 09:19 PM
Rapparee 06 Dec 06 - 09:36 PM
GUEST,Jon 06 Dec 06 - 09:42 PM
jeffp 06 Dec 06 - 11:01 PM
The Fooles Troupe 07 Dec 06 - 05:21 AM
Bunnahabhain 07 Dec 06 - 07:20 AM
GUEST 07 Dec 06 - 07:34 AM
Girl Friday 14 Dec 06 - 08:15 PM
jeffp 14 Dec 06 - 08:26 PM
GUEST,Jon 15 Dec 06 - 06:54 AM
JohnInKansas 16 Dec 06 - 07:16 AM
Linda Goodman Zebooker 27 Dec 06 - 12:27 AM
GUEST,Jon 27 Dec 06 - 12:36 AM
Linda Goodman Zebooker 27 Dec 06 - 12:52 AM
GUEST,Jon 27 Dec 06 - 07:18 AM
Bill D 27 Dec 06 - 10:27 AM

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Subject: BS: Internet Access for the Disabled
From: Girl Friday
Date: 06 Dec 06 - 08:56 PM

I heard on the news that the Internet needs to be more accessable to the disabled. Surely it is the computers that provide the access. There are specially adapted keyboards and voice recognition systems. Visual impairment can be helped with the windows magnifyer. Websites areaccused of not allowing disabled access. At the risk of being facetious, should they provide ramp access? My own disability is epilepsy, so I can't handle lots of flickering and flashing, so if I find any on websites I tell them about it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Internet Access for the Disabled
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 06 Dec 06 - 09:19 PM

Unfortunaley it is not that simple, Girl Friday. For voice recongintion consider incorrect HTML. Something our browers most often deal with but could fail on. Just try (this Mudcat page we are viewing now through a vailidator as an example. OK nothing too serious there (and I think MC is pretty accessible) and our eyesight would naturaly take us through many problems by seeing sometihng wrong but stop and think what might happen if the computer failed to deal with one of these errors and the user could not see.

This is just one element btw. Try getting onto sites insitsting on Flash or javascript for the most basic functionality.


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Subject: RE: BS: Internet Access for the Disabled
From: Rapparee
Date: 06 Dec 06 - 09:36 PM

Teresa, blind, used to pop around. She had to use a voice synthesizer which read the words to her. Or consider the problems of someone with macular degeneration, where the center is blacked out. The problems of those with muscular dysfunction creates a whole new set of problems in simply using the equipment -- think of typing with a mouthstick, when you can't speak clearly enough for voice recognition software and muscular degeneration has taken your coordination.

I think that the several 'Catters who have MS should jump in here....


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Subject: RE: BS: Internet Access for the Disabled
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 06 Dec 06 - 09:42 PM

Just found a BBC article on the subject here


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Subject: RE: BS: Internet Access for the Disabled
From: jeffp
Date: 06 Dec 06 - 11:01 PM

As part of the contract I work on with the US federal government, I prepare documentation for posting on the web. Since a few years ago, these documents must be tagged PDF files that are compatible with readers like Rapaire's friend Teresa used.


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Subject: RE: BS: Internet Access for the Disabled
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 07 Dec 06 - 05:21 AM

Some years ago, my websites received praise for ease of access from various people, including blind. If you want to look at what can be done (and in minimal coding!) There's about 2-300 pages in 3-4 Mb (includes some graphic 'eye-candy') - see my profile.

I didn't get absolute top score for total compatibility, btw, cause I insisted on a few bits of eye-candy here and there. But they were very compataibile for text to speech readers - there's ways to make graphics tolerable - and that method mostly bypasses flash & javascript - just not needed to make a good site.

I do wish Teresa would pop in again - she was always good for a chat in the mudchat room.


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Subject: RE: BS: Internet Access for the Disabled
From: Bunnahabhain
Date: 07 Dec 06 - 07:20 AM

I would disagree with the premise of the first post. The Internet could be more user-freindly towards people with certain disabilities, but needs to be? No.

If there are sites you have to use, then the should be legally obliged to meet a certain standard. Sites likley to be of public interest, especially goverment ones, such as the FDA should also meet standards. But there are millions of sites out there. Trying to fix them all would be an endless, and thankless task.


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Subject: RE: BS: Internet Access for the Disabled
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Dec 06 - 07:34 AM

Bunnahabhain, in the UK that is a legal requirement.


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Subject: RE: BS: Internet Access for the Disabled
From: Girl Friday
Date: 14 Dec 06 - 08:15 PM

Thanks to everyone for their input, but, admittedly, I'm a bit of a luddite, and a lot of the terminology goes over my head. I've looked at the BBC link, and have come to the conclusion that it is the larger, busisness and information sites that are at fault. The average individual website providers, such as myself, do not have the wherewithall to comply.


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Subject: RE: BS: Internet Access for the Disabled
From: jeffp
Date: 14 Dec 06 - 08:26 PM

It doesn't take much "wherewithall" to be reasonably accessible. If you don't use Flash or embed links in images without tagging them, you are reasonably compliant. Tagging images simply consists of adding a bit of HTML code. That costs nothing but a little of your time.

For a personal site, making your web site more accessible is a courtesy. For a business, it is a commercial benefit (increases your potential customer base) and may be a legal requirement. For a public (government) site, it is a moral requirement.


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Subject: RE: BS: Internet Access for the Disabled
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 15 Dec 06 - 06:54 AM

Girl Friday, I would recommend running a website through the w3c checker I linked to in a previous post. That will alert you to missing alt tags as well as HTML that does not confom to the relavent HTML standard.

As for flash and other technologies, I think the key in most citcumstances (a site that just supplied flash animations for example might be a little different) is to make sure your site can function, ir. be navigated and provide essential information or features without it. It is big a mistake for example to have a Flash driven "main menu" without providing an HTML alternative.


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Subject: RE: BS: Internet Access for the Disabled
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 16 Dec 06 - 07:16 AM

Not much of a contribution to tech requirements or eliciting of needs, but a sort of "happy report" comes from:

Internet cafe opens for disabled users

The report is of a "first" setup, at a Goodwill Industries facility, of a place where persons with disabilities can go to get on and surf.

The "aids" reported seem relatively simple - there are many more sophisticated helper devices and programs that could be considered; but unfortunately many of the do-more things are probably out of reach financially for a place of this kind ... ... for now.

Borders and Starbucks could do this now ... (?).

John


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Subject: RE: BS: Internet Access for the Disabled
From: Linda Goodman Zebooker
Date: 27 Dec 06 - 12:27 AM

After reading the messages in this thread I decided to see what I could do to make the website I edit more accessible to a user with low vision. Our site is that of the Washington DC-based regional office of a North American organization (the URJ) that gives supporting services to Reform Jewish Congregations across the US and Canada (Our Mid-Atlantic Regional office serves 70 congregations).

I didn't understand all that was said in the thread, and I have a very limited knowledge of HTML. The web-editing software I use is organization-supplied. Mostly I use its WYSIWYG editor, but I can sometimes tweak the HTML. We've had fairly skimpy training on using this web-building software.

Following the suggestions in the thread, I went back into the HTML and gave descriptive tags to any images on our site - logos and photos (I didn't bother fixing the somewhat outdated, large photo album). I'm now going to tag the old .pdfs also. For any new files and images I'll be sure to add a description at the outset - I did not realize the necessity before. The BBC article GUEST Jon linked to was especially helpful.

After reading it, I brought this accessibility issue to the attention of our N.A. Headquarters web administrators and as a result they will now be adding this as a requirement in the web style manual for the URJ North American main site and the 13 other Regional sites. Yay, Mudcat!

I'm now getting ready to put in a lot of new text, and it contains many links - I'm getting a lot of this third-hand. Congregations email these news items to our Director, she edits and sends them to me in a Word document full of links, and I am to post this on our website – by copy-and-pasting. The concern that I have regards scaling up.

All my web-editing so far has been in Internet Explorer, with Text Size set to Medium. So I tried magnifying my view of our site, with Text Size set to Largest, and some things scaled up fine, but others stayed just as small --particularly links to other pages or sites. So I don't really understand how to control the text size evenly -especially when using pasted links. I also tried downloading and using Opera, as Geoff the Duck had suggested in another thread. Opera magnifies everything equally – I went up to 400% - but it doesn't display any of my new "Alt" tags for the images or files!

Also I have NO idea how friendly our site is to any kind of speech-reader. I tried running the home page of our site through the w3c markup validator, and the report showed 247 errors, lots of ominous red, and several exclamation points!!! But the main N.A. Headquarters' site got nearly as bad a report, so I think the web-editing software (over which I have no control) might be to blame.

If anyone has more info or hints, that would be SO great!

Linda


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Subject: RE: BS: Internet Access for the Disabled
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 27 Dec 06 - 12:36 AM

Any chance of a URL?


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Subject: RE: BS: Internet Access for the Disabled
From: Linda Goodman Zebooker
Date: 27 Dec 06 - 12:52 AM

To my site? www.urj.org/mac. On it I'm called "Lirit" Goodman, which sort of means "likes to sing" in Hebrew, because our little office suffers from TML (too many Lindas) As the third-arriving Linda G- I had to pick a "work" name other than Linda to lessen the confusion.

Linda


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Subject: RE: BS: Internet Access for the Disabled
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 27 Dec 06 - 07:18 AM

Thanks. I just wanted to see how the site looked and worked om a couple of my browsers, etc.

My version of Opera 9.02 on Linux gets in a mess with it (no top or side menus) perhaps because of some of html errors wc3 reports.

IF I get a bit of time over the next couple of days, I'll see if I can make an "error free" copy of the page.


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Subject: RE: BS: Internet Access for the Disabled
From: Bill D
Date: 27 Dec 06 - 10:27 AM

Just a note....my Opera 9 on Windows 'seems' to display it just fine.


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