wd06: Derek Featherstone - Accessibility 2.0
Real subtitle should be 'Where do we go for beer?'
Checklist syndrome: bringing down accessibility
Leads to a compliance/QA impersonal approach
But accessibility is personal, it’s about user testing and it’s about removing barriers.
“What if screen readers could access microformats? How cool would that be?”
Where should we be looking for inspiration for web accessibility?
- How about the gaming industry? Gamers have some crazy keyboards and input devices.
- The physical world - eg. pedestrian crossing buttons which vibrate as well as click/beep. "How cool is that?" Or the braille/raised lettering sign that put the tactile signage on a comfortable angle for ease of use. It doesn't just comply, it creates a good user experience.
- How about the car industry? They solve all kinds of issues, maybe they've got ideas we should be taking on board.
Discussed the accessibility features being created for Blackberries. Also admitted he sleeps with his Blackberry; said he wouldn't tell us where on Flickr you can find the image, but "hey with tagging no doubt you'll be able to find it...". Well, yup: http://www.flickr.com/photos/glsims99/14020019/
Cognitive disabilities: people don't seem to know what to do, although some companies are starting to work on it. Some new phones are being built with simple interfaces; consistent toolbars and uncluttered menus. The obvious thing to note here is that making things consistent and easy to use helps everybody, not just people who would identify themselves as "disabled".
Let's make things easier for everyone. Thing about tagging - "these are the same people I tag on Web Connections, d.construct, Flickr, Cork'd... we all tag each other, that's all we do now!!!"
What if we let users define their own access keys so authors don't have to do it? Not to mention they interfere with people's existing key profiles. Why not create a microformat which stores this information? Think of the power of that. What if we get to a point where we don't supply any CSS any more? Users set up their global stylesheet and have their preferred styles applied to everything! "...the power! POWER TO THE PEOPLE! That's what this is about."
What if the browser could learn? It could recognise that the last three times you visited a site you bumped up the text size, then just do that for you.
What if we replaced all the browser controls with a button that says "I can't read this page", which launches a wizard to help you change it so you can read it.
How to convince people that it's important?
One thing - show people assistive technology users. "It's a life changing experience. I don't know anyone who didn't find it a life-changing experience to see a screen reader user or a mobility impaired user with speech recognition software."