Yes, indeed, there’s change in the air, and quite right too – Legislation will see sites become more accessible (News, DW 7 August). It’s heartening to see the Disability Discrimination Act pushing other designers (and clients) to reach a wider audience and to commit to reducing discrimination.
It’s worth correcting a couple of inaccuracies though, as these details can sway a client on an important issue.
Links embedded in copy do work with a speech reader, usually by being pulled out into a list. So embed all you like, as long the links make sense out of context.
You can’t use Flash, rub-overs or drop-down menus. Well, if Web accessibility is the ‘equivalent of building a ramp at a store’ then this is like banning stairs. I’m pleased to say our redesigned Which?Extra website has drop-down menus for those who can use them, at no detriment to those who can’t.
With careful design we can keep the shortcuts, bells and whistles for whoever can benefit. Use them, but don’t rely on them – let’s have ramps and stairs, that’s inclusive.
Inclusive design goes beyond speakable text. How about standard key shortcuts if I can’t use a mouse (so Ctrl 1 takes me to the home page, Ctrl 4 to a search)?
It’s already here? Great. Now, if I can just tie in my speech recognition software. Besides blind and partially-sighted people there are thousands whose physical, sensory, or cognitive disabilities mean they are excluded from an enormously empowering tool for everyday life. Hopefully, this is beginning to change.