There are many voice activated devices to help us in the home and at work, including Google Assistant, Alexa from Amazon, Siri from Apple and Cortana from Microsoft.
Strategy Analytics predicted that in Q4 2017 that smart speakers would reach 12 million units world wide and so 24 million for all of 2017.
Google unveiled their voice controlled Assistant in May 2016 which is an upgrade of Google Now and they have built upon the “OK Google” voice controls but how much can these voice activated devices really help us?
Some of us take our health for granted. One day I woke up and had blurry vision out of my good eye. I could not see my screen very well to read or do work, but luckily this was just temporary. However, RNIB states that in the UK, there are over 2 million people living with sight loss. This number is expected to rise to nearly 4 million by 2050.
But what is being done in terms of voice search to help these people access the internet?
I thought voice search would open up the world of the internet to more people who due to a disability or visual impairness could not use it. I thought older family members who have a hard time seeing clearly could use Voice Search. But who is using it?
Who is Using Voice Search?
I don’t have the stats for the UK, but in the US, figures on TechCrunch from eMarketer.com show that the younger demographic, between 25 and 34 are using voice enabled digital assistants the most. They make up 26.3% of the users. In February last year, Amazon said that the sale of its Echo were up 9 times compared to the season before. However, these figures do not go into detail if these people are visually impaired or if they have hand mobility issues.
The hands-free solution, known as the Universal Fare Gate Access Program, represents the world’s first transit authority system that offers hands-free automated access to disabled passengers, according to Erin Windross, TransLink’s planner for access transit planning. The RFID technology, which consists of UHF access-control cards and readers above fare gates, is provided by British Columbia RFID and Internet of Things (IoT) solutions company Hyperlight Systems.
(1/2) We’re pleased to announce the launch of our first dedicated Google disability support team! Agents are available Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm PST through email and only in English language. Contact the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As someone brand new to learning about accessible design, I admit I had a few misconceptions about accessible web design. I’ve been a software developer for just over a year, and have been learning development for around three years. Though I still have tons more to learn, I’ve learned a fair amount about programming languages, frameworks, patterns, editors, tools, and more. One thing I have learned almost nothing about — web accessibility.
That changed recently when I attended an event hosted by a local tech group, Refresh Detroit. The event featured a series of lightning talks, and the lightning talk by group co-organizer Deborah Edwards-Onoro (Lireo Designs) discussed web accessibility.
The more research I did into the topic, I noticed others had a few misconceptions as well. Here are a few of the main misconceptions I came across.
CAPTCHA remains by far the most problematic item reported by respondents. “Screens or parts of screens that change unexpectedly” has seen a significant increase over the years and is now reported as the 2nd most problematic item. This likely is due to the dynamic and complex nature of modern web pages and application.
Why is accessibilty seen as an after-thought, or at worst an expense to help a handful of disadvantaged people?
Have you ever tried using a website or app on your smartphone whilst riding a bus when the sun is streaming through the window? You probably have. How did that work out for you?
…the internet was no longer being consumed solely on a desktop, viewing through a large monitor perched on a desk whilst in a comfortable chair. The iPhone broke a barrier. The web would start – and continues – to push its way into every moment of our day, regardless of what environment (surroundings or situation) you happen to be in.
microsoft inclusive design impairments
It’s lunch time at the Accessibility Scotland Conference and I take a stroll up the road to grab a soda. I find a shop and low and behold a 10cm step. With the challenges that wheelchairs users have fresh in my mind, I looked down, shook my head and walked on in.
The 10cm step
On my way out a ramp appears! “Well that solves that”. I am then greeted by a delivery man with a trolley full of supplies for the shop. The ramp belonged to him. He finished his delivery, threw the ramp in the back of his truck and drove away. Leaving me with the 10cm step. So not only would consideration help those we would often think to require the support (those in wheelchairs, those with limited visibility or even those with prams) but it would help the main function of the shop – getting supplies in both quicker and easier – but also be less intrusive to all users.
So, what’s the digital equivalent of the 10cm step?
There’s a few. For example, the contrast between text and background. Dark colours on a light background work well for users with visual impairments but also work well for “able-bodied” users reading a phone with bright sunlight glaring off the screen.
What about the move towards ‘smart homes’ and the invisible interfaces such as Alexa and Siri? How accessible are they? Users that are mute (permanent impairment) or users with laryngitis (temporary impairment) will struggle to communicate with them. But also those, like myself, with a strong accent (situational impairment) that will struggle with these new technologies.
Thanks to their specialist skillsets and proximity to a given project, UX Designers are set apart from the majority of their target audience. As Jakob Nielsen explains, “one of usability’s most hard-earned lessons is that you are not the user. This is why it’s a disaster to guess at the users’ needs.” However, there’s another fundamental ability that can be damaging to assume of your user: Computer literacy.
As the Norman Nielsen Group concludes, “if you think something is easy, or that ‘surely people can do this simple thing on our website,’ then you may very well be wrong.”
UI OptionsObjectiveEasily add UI Options to your website. Add a simple separated-panel preferences editor to any page.DescriptionUI Options adds a simple preferences editor dialog with a set of six panels in a collapsible panel at the top of the page, accessible through a button in the upper right corner of the page.