Monday, August 31, 2015

Screen Readers on Touchscreen Devices

Nielsen/Norman Group’s Katie Sherwin just posted an article discussing the experience of a blind person trying to interact with a touchscreen device and its rich vocabulary of gestures. The complexity of the interface, plus the many gestures available can create quite a “cognitive load” as the blind user tries to maintain an idea of what is happening on the screen to know what gestures to use.

While some products have experimented with tactile/haptic interfaces that give physical feedback, the potential of such designs is limited. The better answer, Sherwin argues, to simplify content and workflow so people can accomplish their goals more efficiently.

Screen Readers on Touchscreen devices

AccessibleWeb@U August 27 Meeting Notes

We had a small group but a good discussion:

·         Windows 10 Edge browser
·         If you have not switched to Windows 10 yet, Microsoft offers a virtual machine version of Edge that you can download for testing at (Pointed out by Anna Marie Golden)
·         The SSB Bart Group has evaluated Edge and sees it as a much improved replacement for IE, which will be deprecated. See (Pointed out by Jonathan Swanson
·         Basic accessibility evaluation tools
·         Chris Pederick's Web Developer Toolbar, available for Chrome, FireFox, and Opera at
·         Use "Information -> View Document Outline" to see the structure of headings in the page. Are there appropriate headings and subheadings and are they hierarchical?
·         Use "Outline -> Headings" to draw outlines around headings on the page. Are all headings on the page outlined? Headings that are not outlined have been created without using the <h> tags and will not be interpreted as headings by assistive software.
·         Use "Information -> Display ARIA roles" to see how ARIA attributes have been used on the pages. Are there any ARIA attributes? If so, have they been used to identify the role of each of the major segments of the page?
·         Use "CSS -> Disable All Styles" to see what the page content is like without the color, font and layout provided by CSS. Is the text in a coherent sequence?
·         Apple VoiceOver screen browser is on every Apple desktop, laptop, tablet, and smartphone. Learn it. Use it to experience listening to and navigating your pages by feel alone.
·         VoiceOver Getting Started -
·         VoiceOver for OSX -
·         VoiceOver for iOS -
·         Your keyboard, without mouse or touchpad
·         WebAIM's Keyboard Accessibility -
·         Social Security's Accessibility Help -

Friday, August 14, 2015

Accessibility of Front-end Technologies

On Friday, August 7, I gave a quick talk to the Front-end Technologies Community of Practice meeting. About 40 interface developers from UW campuses were in attendance.

My slidedeck is available as a PDF at

Special thanks to Jeane Marty for organizing the Front-end Technologies CoP and lining up a great program. I am looking forward to future programs.

The CoP web site is at Meetings are generally on the first Friday of each month. See the website for specifics.

Info-graphics About Topics Related to Disabilities

Home Healthcare Adaptations, a company based in Dublin Ireland, likes to create info-graphics about topics related to disabilities:

Best Mobile Apps for Sensory Impairment

World Disability Facts

Assistive Technology Gadgets That Could Change Your Life

Interesting info about some clever technologies.

Of course, the infographics have only brief alt texts and no longdesc texts. Sigh.