How People With Disabilities Use

spectacularscarecrowAI and Robotics

Nov 17, 2013 (4 years and 7 months ago)


How People With Disabilities Use
the Web

Larry G. Hull

Accessibility Engineer

Video: Know Your Users

Web Accessibility From the Users

California State University, Fresno

Note: video is open captioned

Video Content

Users with disabilities demonstrate and
discuss the tools they use and the
problems they face accessing the web

Screen Magnification Software

Screen Reader Software

Refreshable Braille Display

Voice Recognition Software


Know the major disability types

Become aware of the perspectives of
individuals with disabilities

Understand how people with disabilities
use the web

Screen Magnification Tips


Text high in contrast against

Don’t use drop shadows or blurry edges

Don’t use script style or fancy fonts

Avoid scrolling or moving text

Screen Magnification Tips


Use standard menu locations

(Left menus work especially well)

Avoid overly large images

Don’t use soft
focus or blurry images

Screen Reader Tips


Include a skip menu link at top of page

Add alt text for graphics

Title frames

Use label to identify entry boxes in

Limit the number of links on a page

Screen Reader Tips


Limit the number of links on a page

Don’t automate the selection of a link

Don’t automatically refresh a page

Be sure link text is descriptive. I.e., links
need to be understandable when read
separately from the page content

Screen Reader Tips


Don’t refer to buttons by their color or by
the image (e.g., green palm tree)

Avoid pop up windows if possible

Include a text warning that clicking a link
will open the page in a new window

Provide a link (e.g., button) to close a
new window

Voice Recognition Tips


Alt text for menu buttons must match
the text on the button exactly

Keep alt text short and simple

(does not conflict with screen reader tip
that links be descriptive)

Links must be visible, not requiring a
mouse roll over to be seen

Voice Recognition Tips


Place navigation links and forms at the
top of the page so they are visible
without scrolling

(provide a jump to content, a skip menu)

Limit scrolling by avoiding long pages

(or provide a table of contents with links
that jump to content not visible)

Visual Disabilities


Legally Blind

Low Vision

Color Blindness

Do you use assistive technology to
overcome a visual disability?

Hearing Disabilities

The web is a visual medium...or is it?

Video, audio, and multimedia content is
becoming more and more common

Captioned audio is unfortunately still
almost nonexistent on the web

Provide transcripts for audio clips

Provide synchronous captioning for
video clips

Motor Disabilities

Spinal cord injury

Lost or damaged limb(s)

Cerebral palsy

Muscular dystrophy

Multiple sclerosis

Spina bifida



Essential Tremor

Lou Gehrig's Disease

Key Motor Disabilities Concepts


Users may not be able to use a mouse

Make all functions available from keyboard

Users may not be able to control the
mouse or the keyboard well

Make pages error
tolerant (e.g. ask "are
you sure you want to delete this file?")

Do not create small links or moving links

Key Motor Disabilities Concepts


activated software can replicate
mouse movement, but not as efficiently
as keyboard functionality

Make all functions available from the

Users may become fatigued using "puff
sip" or similar technologies

Provide (visible) skip over menus or other
lengthy content

Cognitive Disabilities

Someone with a cognitive disability has
greater difficulty with one or more types
of mental tasks

Learning disabilities


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Brain injury

Genetic diseases

Degrees of Cognitive Disabilities

Profound cognitive disability

Needs assistance with nearly every aspect
of daily living

Unable to access much web content

Less severe cognitive disabilities
(e.g., minor learning disorder)

May function quite adequately

Able to access well designed web content

Techniques for Effective


Keep site navigation simple, clear and

Create structure in documents adding:


Bulleted lists

Numbered lists

Definition lists

Techniques for Effective


Highlight by changing font, adding style,
or using background (rollover) color

Simplify layouts as much as possible


but no simpler

Keep navigational schemes as
consistent as possible

Techniques for Effective


Group textual information under logical

Organize information in manageable

Where appropriate, supplement text
with illustrations or other media, and
vice versa

Don’t forget to provide alt text and
transcripts as needed

Awkward Age of Computing

As U.S. population ages, the number of
people with impairments is increasing

Technology can mitigate the effects of
their changing physical abilities

XP accessibility features

A Screen Too Far

Can't see text and objects clearly?

Use large icons

Increase or decrease font size of Web

in Bifocals

Trouble seeing things close up?

Turn on and use Magnifier

Opens a floating window

Enlarges different parts of the screen

Lights, Camera, Action

Dexterity issues slowing things down?

Use speech recognition features

Office XP

Office 2003

Tune Out, Tune In

Alert & audible notification problems?

Turn on SoundSentry

Get visual warnings for system sounds

Use Windows XP to display closed

Talk To Me

Alert & audible notification problems?

Turn on and use Narrator

Converts text and captions to speech

Next step: screen reader

Cursor in a Haystack

Search for cursor or mouse pointer?

Use Cursor Options to change cursor size,
appearance, width, color, or blink rate

Use Control Panel mouse setting to modify

Loosing Your Grip

Mouse pointer control problems?

Use MouseKeys

Transfer mouse functions to numeric

All Together Now

Key Combinations Difficult?

Use StickyKeys

Press keys sequentially not simultaneously

All Shook Up

Tremors or stiff fingers?

Use FilterKeys

Ignore brief or repeated keystrokes

Slow down the repeat rate

Easy on the Eyes

Indistinct or fuzzy images?

Choose screen resolution

Choose a high contrast color combination
to improve screen resolution

Turn on XP Accessibility

Enabling Sticky Keys

Start / Settings / Control Panel / Accessibility

If accessibility icon is missing, install

Enabling Mouse Keys

Start / Settings / Control Panel / Accessibility

Uses the Num Lock part of keyboard

Mouse Keys

Diagram Mapping Operations to Keys


Design for users with disabilities

Understand how people with disabilities
use the web

Employ relatively simple techniques that
increase accessibility

Result is a more usable web site for all

As always, there are specific issues and
problems that can also be addressed