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Accessibility for the Uninitiated

Accessibility for the Uninitiated

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Accessibility for the Uninitiated

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  1. Accessibility for the Uninitiated Presented by: September 2008

  2. Who we are Leading user experience consultancy Offices in Edinburgh & London Our services Usability testing Eye tracking Testing with disabled users Expert evaluations Accessibility reviews Focus groups Usability and accessibility training Clients: DTI,, Houses of Parliament, Emirates Airline, RBS, ACAS & many more My background System Testing Web development Accessibility Consultant

  3. Who are the uninitiated? • For the past year we have been working with a major UK company. • Providing training on usability and accessibility • Intranet site administrators • Generally no awareness of usability or accessibility • Intranet page designs varied wildly • No standard adopted • Limited accessibility functionality in the CMS used.

  4. Background • Major UK Utility Supplier • 2,500+ Site administrators • Little or no usability or accessibility training • Very few with experience in website construction • Limited interest in site administration • Not their main role • Want to add/edit information then return to main job. • All users of existing intranet • All find the intranet a frustrating experience from a usability perspective.

  5. Main challenges • Content Management weaknesses • Little interest in usability and even less in accessibility: • After lunch session. “The Graveyard Shift”. • No clear understanding of what accessibility is. • Unable to grasp how disabled people use web • Blind people probably the easiest to imagine. • Had no experience of disabled people using assistive technology in their departments. • HR would not provide us with details of how many disabled users employed. • Little understanding of (or legal responsibility for) compliance. • Technical limitations – e.g. cannot install assistive software on locked down computers.

  6. Content Management System • Content management system has limitations:- • Produces invalid markup • Inline <FONT> tags and fixed sizes • Incorrectly nested headings (start at <h3>) • Use of table based layouts • Use of JavaScript based concertina menus • Damage limitation exercise • Identify which available structural elements not being used correctly • Link naming – eliminate ‘click here’ • Nested tables • Correctly nesting what headings are available

  7. Content Management Systems (in general) • Notorious for producing inaccessible markup. • As a result, can be impossible to implement accessible page content. • Training site administrators is ineffective if we do not train the developers who build and maintain the CMS. • In-house CMS tools often less accessible than off the shelf:- • Large number of developers • Inconsistency in design, functionality

  8. Disabilities • It is critical that users understand not only the disabilities affected but also:- • The differences in users needs • The different way that users navigate • Keyboard only • Alternative input devices • Less obvious effects of particular disabilities • Memory issues • Navigation restraints • Inaccessible accessibility

  9. Raising interest • Images of assistive technology • Demonstrations of assistive technology • JAWS screen reader in 40 minute mode • Screen magnification • Page customisations • Browser controls • Video footage of disabled users using the web. • More straightforward:- • Get participants to try and browse their pages without a mouse. • Anecdotes from disabled testing.

  10. Raising interest (2) • Hands on analysis of their own pages • Pointing out accessibility issues • Explaining how these issues affect disabled users • Mini-audit • Use tools such as Colour Contrast Analyser to show how site would look to colour blind users. • Provide video clips without sound and afterwards ask participants to provide details of what took place in the video. • Difficult without dialogue or transcript.

  11. Impact • Demonstration of a disabled user accessing the intranet generally has most impact • Most participants will not have witnessed disabled user accessing the web. • Many companies won’t disclose details of disabled staff. • JAWS in 40 minute mode • Use screen reader to access pages. • Responses are generally quite dramatic.

  12. Summary • Awareness of accessibility issues was low amongst content contributors. • Required to tailor the course to cover only what the could do using the CMS. • Acceptance that intranet sites won’t become fully accessible overnight. • Interactive demonstrations of assistive software very popular although not always technically practical.

  13. Thank You User Vision 55 North Castle Street Edinburgh EH2 3QA Tel: 0131 225 0859 Email: Web: