Liz is currently the release manager for Mozilla, and has worked in two eras of tech: the 1990s and the mid-2000s to the present. She learned her computer skills from tinkering with computers from a young age, and having the freedom to experiment. In addition to her work in open source software, Liz is a blogger, writer and translator, and is involved in hackerspace projects. Liz deals with mobility impairments, and chronic pain from those impairments, that have a significant effect on how she can work.
The structure of Liz’s work at Mozilla has many benefits for her because of her mobility impairments. Instead of working on a traditional hourly schedule, she has longer timeframes, like six weeks to work on a project. This means that even if she is not productive over a specific hour or even a day, she is very productive over the course of those six weeks. In addition to this, Liz often works remotely with a distributed team who are in many different time zones around the world. It is not important that everyone be working at the same time. It’s more important that communication is strong, persistent, and frequent. If she has a flare-up and is unable to leave the house she still has the possibility of getting work done. She often thinks, as she is working from bed, that this job is perfect for people with mobility issues.
In addition, the fact that her physical condition can change at a moment’s notice means that she is very good at contingency planning. And since software release, as she describes it, can be “a constant disaster,” this skill is very helpful in her workplace. In her opinion, anyone with a disability who has managed their own healthcare competently, with all the medical, insurance, and government bureaucracies, has many skills needed in software project management – tracking a complex process and coordinating work across several teams.
ARIA provides several mechanisms for adding labels and descriptions to elements. In fact, ARIA is the only way to add accessible help or description text. Let’s look at the properties ARIA uses to create accessible labels.
aria-label allows us to specify a string to be used as the accessible label. This overrides any other native labeling mechanism, such as a label element — for example, if a button has both text content and an aria-label, only the aria-label value will be used.
You might use an aria-label attribute when you have some kind of visual indication of an element’s purpose, such as a button that uses a graphic instead of text, but still need to clarify that purpose for anyone who cannot access the visual indication, such as a button that uses only an image to indicate its purpose.
If you’re someone who doesn’t have any specific reasons to go there, you may have never explored the Accessibility settings on your Mac, iPhone, or iPad. While it’s true that those settings are there primarily for people who have special physical needs to modify how a device’s interface works, the fact is, many people who don’t consider themselves in need of any sort of accommodation can find something of value in these settings.
Accessibility has become a place where Apple buries some specific, nitpicky details about how its devices behave–and that’s why you should take a stroll through those settings sometime just to see if they solve problems you didn’t even realize were solvable. Here are some of my favorites:
… Programmers are big fans of using the keyboard instead of continually shifting between the keyboard and mouse.
And yet a significant percentage of websites make it difficult or even impossible for users to perform some activities without using a mouse or other pointer device. This curious relationship between using the keyboard and developing for the keyboard has always seemed imbalanced to me.
To be fair, navigating the Internet with a keyboard is very different from using a keyboard shortcut to perform a complex task.
The keyboard shortcuts that people use with most desktop software are combinations of two to four keys that directly activate menu actions buried somewhere in the program’s options.
Navigating a website with the keyboard primarily requires only a few keys, but they’re used constantly. The following keys are most fundamental to using a website.
The left, right, up, and down arrow keys.
In complex web applications, like Google Docs, more complex keyboard shortcuts are common. But for an average ecommerce site — where the priorities are getting the user to find a page, learn about a product, and then go through the purchase process — those keys are usually all you need. These are the keys that are natively defined by browsers for the operation of web pages.
In my previous post, I spoke with Ruth MacMullen, an academic librarian and copyright specialist from York, about her experience of being deaf and how it affects how she uses the web. In this next post in the series, Ruth shares some of the things that make life easier for her on the web, and we offer some practical tips on how you can improve accessibility for deaf and hard of hearing people.
“Subtitles, that’s the really obvious one”, remarks Ruth as we discuss the things that help her the most. In my previous post, she described the frustration of viewing a video posted on Facebook that lacked subtitles.
Subtitles or captions are the words shown at the bottom of videos that explain what’s being said or what’s happening. The term “subtitles” typically refers only to spoken content, whereas “captions” also includes descriptions of non-speech sounds, such as music, applause and laughter. Outside of North America, the terms are often used interchangeably. So when Ruth refers to subtitles on videos, that’s what she’s talking about.
In the game of Uno, knowing the color of a card is just as important as knowing its number, which means some colorblind players can be at a serious disadvantage. But now Mattel is fixing that — the company just announced a new accessible version of Uno, made with ColorADD cards.
For the new version of the classic card game, Mattel partnered with ColorADD, a global organization for colorblind accessibility and education, to add internationally recognized symbols to Uno cards, aimed to help people with colorblindness identify the colors of the cards.
Here’s a key that explains how the symbols work with the Uno cards and other colors:
The largely visual nature of the web means that we tend to focus on supporting people who are blind or partially sighted. But deaf and hard of hearing people are often overlooked. I spoke with Ruth MacMullen, who is an academic librarian and copyright specialist from York in the UK, about her experience of being deaf and how it affects her use of the web.
We need to change the way we talk about accessibility. Most people are taught that “web accessibility means that people with disabilities can use the Web”—the official definition from the W3C. This is wrong. Web accessibility means that people can use the web. Not “people with disabilities.” Not “blind people and deaf people.” Not “people who have cognitive disabilities” or “men who are color blind” or “people with motor disabilities.” People. People who are using the web. People who are using what you’re building.We need to stop invoking the internal stereotypes we have about who is disabled.
We need to recognize that it is none of our business why our audience is using the web the way they’re using it.
We can reframe accessibility in terms of what we provide, not what other people lack. When we treat all of our users as whole people, regardless of their abilities, then we are able to approach accessibility as just another solvable—valuable—technical challenge to overcome.
Everyone knows that user-friendly websites and apps are vital for the overall success of a business. We know that design quality indicates credibility and trust and that those things drive results.
We know this.
So how do you know that your site or app is easy to use? What steps do you take to know for sure that your design is driving those results?
This guide will define what usability and UX are (as these terms are often confused) and this guide will also show you how usability and UX can be measured.
Ready? Let’s get started.
Usability is Not UX
We hear the terms often: usability, UX but let’s admit it – although we know they are both important in the design world, we often confuse them.
Usability is about task-based interactions such as navigating a site, filling out a form, checking out at an online store, etc. It’s the ability to do something intuitively and easily.
UX is about how a person feels when they interact with your site or app. Are they encouraged to sign up to your newsletter? Are they moved by the design in the front page? Is the copy engaging or dull?
Let’s dive into some of the details.
What Exactly is Usability?
Designers, developers, and usability experts have racked their brains trying to define usability. The truth is, there is not a universal definition. There are many books and resources on the topic and not one of them is the same.
We put together a list of ten web accessibility guidelines that will guarantee access to your site to any person, in spite of their disabilities.
There’s a quote by Tim Berners-Lee, Director of W3C and inventor of the World Wide Web, that says, “The power of the web is in its universality”. As people who make a living by making websites, it’s our responsibility to ensure everyone has access to them. Web accessibility seems like a tall order on paper, but it’s definitely much easier than it sounds.
Our ten web accessibility guidelines are designed to ensure that all websites are universal.
This will not only help screen reader users, but will also improve browsing experience for slow connections. We’ve sorted our guidelines by implementation time to give you a clear picture of just how much effort you’ll have to put into this process. Before you get overwhelmed, take our word for it—it’s totally worth it.