Recommended Agency

text controls: text only | A A A

Sorry, our twitter status is currently unavailable, posted 40 minutes ago

RSS feed icon What is RSS?

blog.

articles tagged with: accessibility


Displaying articles 1 - 10 of 31 in total

Surprising Screen Reader User Survey Results

Surprising Screen Reader User Survey Results

WebAIM (Web Accessibility In Mind), international web accessibility experts, conducted a survey over August and September 2019 in an effort to capture preferences of screen reader users. The survey was distributed worldwide and the second highest response, at 27%, came from Europe/UK participants.

Allergy information: If facts and figures trigger headaches and fatigue you may wish to hit the home button and see how else we can help you!

I’ll gently open with these statistics that will give you an idea of the participants involved in the survey:

71.3% exclusively rely on screen reader audio, further emphasising the need to consider these users in web design and development.

Surprisingly 12.4% of screenreader users don’t have a disability. Of the remaining 87.6% the majority are using this due to blindness, closely followed by low vision / visual impairment then deafness / difficulty hearing, after that was cognitive and motor difficulties.

15.8% reported multiple disabilities. 4.7% of respondents reported being both deaf and blind.

62.2% consider themselves advanced in terms of screen reader proficiency. Just 5.4% were beginners.

Most felt confident in using the internet. Compared to previous surveys this suggests screen reader users are becoming more accustomed to internet use.

Almost half of screenreader users were aged between 21 and 40.

 

Money Matters

Accessibility is about everybody with or without disabilities having the right to access the contents of the internet. Which begs the question, are screen reader solutions that charge a fee for use, excluding the less privileged who require assistive technology to benefit from online content?

Interestingly 37% downloaded their primary desktop / laptop screen reader free of charge from the internet while 22.7% bought it themselves. 13% were fortunate enough to have it provided by their employer.

The primary screen reader front runners were NVDA (NonVisual Desktop Access) and JAWS (Job Access With Speech). NVDA is a free, high quality screen reader, accessible to all https://www.nvaccess.org. JAWS provides speech and Braille output for the most popular computer applications on your PC. JAWS isn’t free which could be why for the first time in 10 years it is not the most popular choice.

 

Accessibility First

Many of the results were a very helpful reference for me as a designer especially as accessibility is a priority here at focus. Here are a few findings that may open your eyes to the importance of designing and developing with accessibility in mind.

Top 3 browsers used most often by survey respondents were: Chrome making up for nearly half at 44.4%, Firefox over a quarter at 27.4% and internet explorer 11 at 10.9% (just beating safari at 9.8%). Compared with previous results this shows a sharp increase in chrome usage and a continued decline in the others.

Over 5 times more participants access their screen reader using a windows operating system than than iOS.

Nearly all respondents had JavaScript enabled.

If a text-only or screen reader version of a web site is available the majority of those asked said they would seldom use it.

Mobile and tablet were the most popular choice of device, very closely followed by laptop then desktop. Proving once again that mobile accessibility should not be an afterthought.

Jordana Jeffrey
Jordana

Created on Tuesday October 01 2019 08:00 AM


Tags: accessibility screenreader survey webdesign webdevelopment


Comments [0]








Dyslexia friendly websites, are you thinking of the 10%?

Dyslexia friendly websites, are you thinking of the 10%?

Lately I have been thinking, if 10% (6.68 million) of the UK population are dyslexic why is making a website dyslexia friendly not as important as providing a site in different languages?

Dyslexia awareness has come a long way since I was a child, I remember being told “you’re just a bit stupid” when I struggled in school, as society’s awareness increases,  I can see that those days are far behind us. Dyslexia affects a persons ability to learn, read, and spell, but it’s not related to intelligence, and charities such as http://madebydyslexia.org/, backed by Richard Branson, have done a great job at promoting and changing public perception.

What’s the problem?
One of the most common traits of people with dyslexia is difficulty reading. Dyslexics read at an average of 50 - 150 words per a minute, the average reading speed of a non-dyslexic is 250 words per minute. There are interactive examples, such as Dan Britton’s typeface that let you experience what reading is like for someone with dyslexia. 

Whether you have an Ecommerce site or a wiki, you want everybody to find it easy to read the content you provide.

What can be done? A few simple steps:
 
Fonts
Research from Dyslexia Help has found that there are certain font types that have an impact on reading speeds for people with dyslexia. A font has been specially developed called ‘OpenDyslexic’ to give optimum reading speed. Although this is down to the preference of the user, some of the best fonts for an increase in reading speed are Helvetica, Courier, Arial, Verdana, CMU, Sans Serif, Monospaced, and Roman Font.

Colours
When it comes to colour, contrast is an important factor for a dyslexic. Generally, people with dyslexia find it difficult to read with high contrast levels and read faster when contrast levels are lower. The standard black text on a white background is not beneficial to people with dyslexia as it can appear too dazzling. Off-whites and pastel colours are generally a good alternative to white and offer a lower contrast.

Icons / Pictures
The phrase; ”a picture paints a thousand words” can most definitely be applied to a dyslexia friendly website. Pictures and icons are a dyslexic's best friend, if you can you use an icon in place of text then this can drastically reduce the time that a dyslexic user spends trying to work out what it is on the page.

Time
In school exams dyslexics are given 25% extra time. Therefore it’s good practice to apply the same rule to moving elements on your site, such as carousels, so that they have time to read and process the content.

These are just some small, simple changes - but there is far more that can be done, just check out the British Dyslexia Association for a full style guide.

Resources:
https://cdn.bdadyslexia.org.uk/documents/Advice/style-guide/Dyslexia_Style_Guide_2018-final-1.pdf?mtime=20190409173949

Dan Stephenson
Dan

Created on Thursday July 04 2019 12:05 PM


Tags: website accessibility disability content contentstrategy screenreader webdesign


Comments [0]








Why a website accessibility checklist could work for you

Why a website accessibility checklist could work for you

There was so much excitement around the invention of the world wide web, an online platform everybody could go to for information, to communicate and so much more. If you don’t access the internet you risk being left behind by society. Many people accept that and actively choose to avoid it while others long to experience it and can’t. So why risk making people feel excluded and depriving them of what your online presence offers them? In doing so you would not be meeting your social responsibilities, there are legal issues surrounding accessibility and it’s bad for business. Accessible websites are easier to navigate, more intuitive and better optimised for search engines so people find it, use it and spread the word.

Despite this, reluctance remains and we can understand that, it's daunting. There’s this assumption that accessibility is terribly expensive and complicated to implement, particularly from those unfamiliar with digital accessibility. There are also concerns that it’s not visually appealing and it negatively effects the online experience of the user. None of this is true, especially with focus' accessibility provisions that are advanced and thorough compared to others offering seemingly similar services.

So many websites still contain barriers for people with disabilities, so how can you check your website is free of these? One appealing approach to improving your online accessibility is with the help of an accessibility checklist. Typically, a checklist is easy to use and understand and covers many of the most common problems and how to resolve them. You can find trusted checklists online or create your own. For more extensive technical information you will want to refer to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 published by the World Wide Web Consortium

A checklist is a manageable step towards bringing your website into compliance with accessibility standards. It will give you a general idea of your current level of web accessibility and help you familiarise yourself with essential components of an accessible website - really useful especially if it’s all pretty new to you.

Make sure you show consideration for various disabilities such as low vision or blindness, hearing difficulty, functional disabilities of the arm or hand. Visitors using assistive technology, visitors suffering seizures and so on. There is a lot of information out there so don’t allow this to overwhelm you, you don’t have to incorporate every bit of it in to your checklist. Anything that promotes or enhances website accessibility is worthwhile.

At focus, we’ve been championing accessibility for years and pride ourselves on our high standards demonstrated in our work to date. We endeavour to make our websites accessible to the widest possible audience and to aim towards UK government accessibility guidelines. As strong supporters of accessibility we urge you to to put it at the forefront of your digital plan. If you think that’s something you would like our help with, please feel free to get in touch for a chat.

Jordana Jeffrey
Jordana

Created on Thursday February 08 2018 05:12 PM


Tags: website accessibility


Comments [0]








Numerous council websites fail disability access test

Numerous council websites fail disability access test

Nearly a third of council websites failed an accessibility test for people with disabilities, such statistics prove digital access is ‘an ongoing challenge’.

Socitm, the society for IT/digital leaders, reported that 69% (134 of 195) of council websites have passed their Better Connected stage two accessibility test.

Meaning people with disabilities, including those using the keyboard only or assistive technologies like screen readers, can access their website's content.

In Decemeber 2016 all 416 UK council websites underwent a limited stage one test designed to identify sites that would fail the full test. 275 sites (two thirds) passed that test.

Socitm say this year ‘a different, and arguably more difficult’ set of tasks were set which could explain why 69% of councils who passed stage two represents an 8% drop on last year.

Results of the more directly year-on-year comparable top pages tasks, covering home, contact us, and one top page covering council, business, and resident services shows that 88% of the stage two group passed this task, compared with 82% in 2016.

The Better Connected process tests sites against 14 criteria that are in line with the World Wide Web Consortium’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0.

The Digital Accessibility Centre (DAC) also carry out tests, their team members each have a disability, among them visual impairment, dyslexia, mobility impairment and learning disabilities.

Socitm congratulated 60 councils from the group of 195 tested this year that have passed the accessibility test for the past three years.

Jordana Jeffrey
Jordana

Created on Thursday May 18 2017 01:48 PM


Tags: website accessibility


Comments [0]








UK-based Web Accessibility Courses

UK-based Web Accessibility Courses

A couple of years ago I was nominated as the ‘accessibility champion’ for focus. You may recall this from my blog in which I manage to compare myself to Muhammad Ali (who says the title of champion went to my head?). 

Web accessibility is about making your website available to as many users as possible, broadening your audience. So it’s win-win for both users and companies. More employers should benefit from assigning this important role to a team member to network, extend reach and spread knowledge within the company. They don’t have to be an expert already. I’m regularly browsing the web to discover further developments within accessibility. I am delighted to have seen this recognition of the importance of web accessibility go from a subtle nod to an enthusiastic wave.

Initially it was hard work, I was desperate to acquire some training, learn from the experts. I’ve lost count of how many times I've found a course, excitedly attempted to book tickets, only to find the price is in dollars. Oh, THAT Bristol. Pretty sure I can still see my keyboard’s space bar indented in my forehead from those moments. 

If you find you’re still suffering from the same frustration, fortunately, the UK has caught on and more and more training is becoming available. So I’ve put together a list of UK-based training to look forward to in 2017…  

Implement Web Accessibility
 A 1-day website accessibility course provides the technical requirements for building accessible websites using HTML and CSS, i.e. how to: 

- Provide accessible web images, multimedia and text alternatives
- Provide accessible links and navigation
- Ensure that textual content is accessible
- Ensure that colour is used safely
- Make table navigation and data accessible
- Make form navigation, data, and data entry accessible

Understand Web Accessibility
Being held in London, Leeds, Manchester and Cardiff, this is a one day website accessibility training course providing the essential background knowledge for implementing good web accessibility. Understand:

- The requirements of different disabled users
- Problems conventional web designs cause disabled users
- Requirements of UK law and web accessibility standards

Coming to Bristol and various other locations across the UK is this course: Web Accessibility Fundamentals, it brings together the previous two 1-day courses in a single package - because successful website accessibility depends on proper integration between awareness and practical implementation.

Web accessibility training 
Design for every user. Hands-on web accessibility training, small class sizes, highly interactive and taught by experts:

- Learn about the different user groups and their specific accessibility needs.
- Review the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)
- Find out how to implement accessibility
- Learn how to devise and implement accessibility testing
- Create an accessibility action plan

Web Accessibility and Usability 
This course will enable those attending to gain a thorough understanding of Web Accessibility and Usability issues. Techniques for achieving accessibility standards will be covered, along with informal recommendations for delegates’ own websites.

 

Jordana Jeffrey
Jordana

Created on Wednesday December 28 2016 09:21 PM


Tags: accessibility training


Comments [0]








Brexit's effect on web accessibility

Brexit's effect on web accessibility

The UK has opted to leave the EU, and there is a great deal of speculation around the impact of this monumental change to our governance. The split will certainly impact upon trade, industry, wages and house prices; but how will it affect our policy on web accessibility?

It seems there has been very little discussion about what Brexit means for those people in the UK living with long-term cognitive, physical, auditory and sensory impairments.

There are roughly 80 million people in the EU affected by disability. In May 2016 an agreement was reached on a new directive for web accessibility which stated the minimum requirements for accessible content for member states to adhere to.

Andrus Ansip, Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, is all for the agreement and said: "Internet access should be a reality for everyone. Leaving millions of Europeans behind is not an option. Tonight's agreement is an important step towards a Digital Single Market, which is about removing barriers so that all Europeans can get the best from the digital world."

In the wake of the Brexit vote there was dispute amongst the digital community over the likely effects it would have on the sector. Fortunately, the UK upholds a progressive attitude towards web accessibility, and our public sector sees it as an important factor in the move towards the digitisation of services.

Despite cut backs in EU funding as a backlash to the referendum, Local Authorities and many private sector organisations are still focussed on ensuring that their products and services are inclusive. Whilst it’s unlikely that any significant changes to online accessibility regulations will come into effect any time soon, the team at focus continue to strive for excellence in web accessibility and inclusive design.

If you want to communicate with an audience on the web, you need someone who understands the importance of accessibility within it.
If you or your team would benefit from expert advice then please do get in touch – we are happy to help at any stage of the project.

With millions of people in Europe having a disability and/or using assistive technology, we will certainly ensure we keep meeting their web accessibility needs!

Jordana Jeffrey
Jordana

Created on Tuesday September 27 2016 11:13 AM


Tags: accessibility


Comments [0]








European Commission agree to make websites and apps more accessible

European Commission agree to make websites and apps more accessible

Negotiators of the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission have just this month agreed on the first EU-wide rules to make the websites and mobile apps of public sector bodies more accessible.

In the world of web, these adjustments are about introducing steps to make a website or service accessible for people with visual impairments, manual dexterity issues or learning difficulties.

The internet has become a key way of accessing and providing information and services, it is now crucial we ensure absolutely everybody can do so, regardless of ability. Accessibility enables people with disabilities to understand, navigate, interact with and contribute to websites and apps.

Statistics tell us that about 80 million people in the EU are affected by a disability. This figure is expected to increase to 120 million by 2020 as the EU population ages.

The Directive will cover public sector bodies' websites and mobile apps, this could be administrations, courts and police departments or public hospitals, universities and libraries. They will be accessible for all citizens - in particular the blind, hard of hearing, deaf, and those with low vision and functional disabilities.

Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, Andrus Ansip, is understandably all for the agreement and said: "Tonight's agreement is an important step towards a Digital Single Market, which is about removing barriers so that all Europeans can get the best from the digital world."

The Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society, Günther H. Oettinger, was equally enthusiastic: "It is not acceptable that millions of European citizens are left behind in the digital society. The agreement that we have just reached will ensure that everyone has the same opportunity to enjoy the benefits of the internet and mobile apps."

The following is the agreed text of the Directive:

- covers websites and mobile apps of public sector bodies with a limited number of exceptions (e.g. broadcasters, livestreaming).

- refers to the standards to make websites and mobile apps more accessible. For example, such standards foresee that there should be a text for images or that websites can be browsed without a mouse which can be difficult to use for some people with disabilities.

- requires regular monitoring and reporting of public sector websites and mobile apps by Member States. These reports have to be communicated to the Commission and to be made public. The Directive on web accessibility along with the European Accessibility Act proposed in December 2015 (press release) which covers a much wider number of products and services, are both part of the efforts of the Commission to help people with disabilities to participate fully in society.

The text will now have to be formally approved by the European Parliament and the Council. After that it will be published in the Official Journal and will officially enter into force. Member States will have 21 months to transpose the text into their national legislation.

So many people avoid using the vast amount of support and opportunities available to them online, all because of unnecessary barriers they are faced with. These can be avoided. If you want to lead in improving accessibility, we can help you with that, a good place to start is to get in touch with us.

Jordana Jeffrey
Jordana

Created on Wednesday May 25 2016 10:33 AM


Tags: website accessibility online-law europeancommission


Comments [1]








Bad UX can cost you

Bad UX can cost you

Last year bad User Experience (UX) reportedly cost LInkedIn over £9 million.
Attention to detail is imperative when it comes to producing great design with a smooth UX. But with so much involved in the design process, there is a risk of things going unnoticed.

It doesn't take much to damage the users experience so here are some things worth checking before a design is signed off and deemed good to go...

 

Don't rely on colour to convery a purpose, heierarchy or content

We are big on accessibility here at focus so to us producing a website that is accessible is not considered a nice-to-have but a must-have. People with visual disabilities for example colour blindness, would not be able to use your site effectively if you were to rely on colour, they would therefore become an excluded demographic.

Test it: colorfilter.wickline.org will let you put a color filter on top of your webpage and test it for different kinds of color blindnesses.

 

Avoid / reduce repetitive actions where possible

An example of a repetitive action is filling in a form that asks for your address more than once, you may have seen this being tackled with a tickbox you can select to say your billing adddress is the same as your shipping address. If you're not careful, users will grow tired and search for an alternative option (like a competitor!) where they can achieve their goals better and faster.

Test it: Make sure there is a way of facilitating repetitive actions such as an option to use previously entered information.

 

Accessing help does not get in the way of progress

Users ask for help when they're stuck so of course It is important for help to be an extension of what they are already doing, they should be able to easily return to that once they have received the help they need.

Test it: Put yourself in the place of the user, consider where they will ask for help, and see whether their progress are interrupted.

 

Consistent navigation

Users have to be able to find their way around and achieve their goals no matter what page they find themselves on.

Test it: Make sure that navigation is reachable on every page and that your pathways are as intuitive as possible.

 

Foreground and background are sufficiently contrasted

This is especially important for people with visual disabilities. It also improves a user’s understanding. Clear distinction aids with navigation, draws more attention to buttons and increases usability.

Test it: You could capture the screen, apply a gaussian blur to a Radius of around 3px to 5px then see if you can easily tell what’s in the foreground and what’s in the background. Then alter accordingly.

 

Don't use much more than two distinct font families

Although this isn’t a strict rule it is best for accessibility. For usability and visual purposes, sticking to two simplifies your typographic hierarchy, which improves comprehension.

Test it: Simply check that your design isn’t mixing more than two type families. You should also make sure that the ones you choose are properly matched, you can find out more on this.

 

Text fonts are no smaller than 12 pixels

Again, it’s not a fixed rule but generally speaking readability is severely reduced for sizes below 12 pixels. Ideally a minimum of 14px is said to be better for accessibility.

Test it: Pretty obvious I suppose, check all of your content to ensure all fonts used are at least 12px.

 

Reserve uppercase words for labels, headers, or acronyms

Limiting the use of uppercase words is less visually heavy and easier for the user to digest. It should be used specifically for emphasis or very restricted cases such as acronyms.

Test it: A thorough content check to make sure that uppercase words are kept to a minimum and only used where necessary.

 

You're stil wondering what LinkedIn did so wrong aren't you? A settlement in California resulted in LinkedIn dishing out over £9 million to compensate users who were manipulated by the site’s deceptive UX into handing over their address books, which LinkedIn then used to spam their contacts with connection requests.

See, bad UX can cost you!

Jordana Jeffrey
Jordana

Created on Monday May 09 2016 02:14 PM


Tags: website ux accessibility


Comments [0]








How Web Accessibility can help your business

How Web Accessibility can help your business

Time is money for you business folk so let's answer this quickly and efficently: What is accessibility?

It's designing and developing your website so that people with disabilities can perceive, understand, navigate, interact with and contribute to the web. It's providing the same functionality and experience to users with disabilities as those without.

Disabilities come in many forms, so to break it down for you, these are:

Visual

Blind or low vision users that are potentially using screen readers, screen magnification or even a braille display.

Auditory

Deaf or hard of hearing that may require closed or open captions or transcripts for all of the rich, multimedia content that exists such as audio files or video files.

Ambulatory / motor skills

People with difficulties or inability to use a mouse, that may only be using a keyboard to navigate the website. Or possibly even speech to text software.

Cognitive

People with learning disabilities or the inability to remember or focus on large amounts of information. They may rely on thoughtful layout. They may also be using an array of the previously mentioned technologies.

 

Web content needs to be made available to the senses, sight, hearing and/or touch. Get accessibility right and it can better your business by:

- Improving your brand reputation

- Helping to meet the needs of a constantly evolving market

- Increasing Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

- Improving use across mobile devices and tablets

- Reducing your litigation risks

 

The most obvious financial benefit to building accessible websites and web apps comes from the increased market, the more people you can connect with through your website, the more of your content is being consumed. Resulting in more clients, customers, subscribers, and those seeking your services.

Also, who doesn't like to save money? Well that's what web accessibility may do for you too. Some companies have reported noticeable cost savings in the form of lower maintenance costs, a reduced requirement to provide web alternatives, and even in avoiding expensive legal fees and fines.

Financial benefits are of course a driver to make your site accessible but more importantly, we should all be working towards making the web a hospitable place for everyone, whatever their abilities.

Jordana Jeffrey
Jordana

Created on Friday April 15 2016 09:15 AM


Tags: accessibility disability business


Comments [0]








Top 10 accessibility mistakes

Top 10 accessibility mistakes

When Tim Berners-Lee invented the world wide web, he intended it to be an open platform for society to connect, improve communication and build knowledge. It was a way to provide everyone with vast amounts of information, not just some or a select privileged few. It is said that building accessibility was his vision for bettering the globe.

If you want to stay in Tim's good books, you might want to avoid these incredibly common accessibility mistakes: 

1. Alt text for images

Images are often not properly marked up with alternative text for those who can't see images, or separated so that only the relevant images are relayed to the user, or conveyed. 

2. Keyboard Accessibility

Users can find themselves 'trapped' inside of a page's content and be prevented from interacting unless they're using a mouse. 

3. Dynamic Content Focus

Content appears based on a users action without any indication to those who can't see it. This could be form errors or a date picker: Equally frustrating for those who can see it but can't use it. 

4. Focus indicators

No knowledge of where a user is on the page when they're only using a keyboard. Making it very difficult to navigate the site. 

5. Data tables

Tables that have corresponding column and row heading associations that cannot be deciphered with ease. 

6. Poor heading structures

Undetermined list content where it's conveyed like a list but not structured like one. 

7. Colour cues

Using colour alone to convey a part of the page, for example 'For further information select the red button below'. Those with a colour deficiency are going to struggle. 

8. Multimedia

Missing captions from instructional or informative web experiences. 

9. Skip to content

Someone who is unable to use a mouse is forced to repeat their steps if there is no skip to content option. This would be extremely tedious on pages containing unchanging content such as a content heavy main navigation. 

10. Page titles

It's a small but very important element that is the very first thing users hear on a page. It indicates what the user is about to discover. Without it, users don't know what to expect.

Get accessibility right and it can even better your business. We'll tell you how in our next blog - so watch this space!

Jordana Jeffrey
Jordana

Created on Tuesday March 22 2016 01:27 PM


Tags: accessibility userexperience top-tips


Comments [0]