Filed under 'accessibility':

Towards defining the nature of the beast

Whilst the term ‘accessibility’ can mean different things to different people, look it up in Wikipedia and it comes up with the following really useful definition:

Accessibility is a general term used to describe the degree to which a product (e.g., device, service, environment) is accessible by as many people as possible. Accessibility can be viewed as the “ability to access” the functionality, and possible benefit, of some system or entity. Accessibility is often used to focus on people with disabilities and their right of access to entities, often through use of assistive technology.

Then look up the term ‘web accessibility’ and it lists the essential factors that should be considered in making not just web resources but all digital resources and materials accessible. More »

Technology can deliver learning for all

networked devicesWhen education only took place in the classroom, pens, books and blackboards were the main study aids. Now you can learn via Smart phones, PDAs like the HP iPAQ and mini laptops. However, the technology must be accessible to everyone, including those with disabilities.

Sending material to devices with small screens should concentrate developers’ minds on what is clear, concise and simple, which benefits everyone.

Accessibility should be a priority from the beginning when designing education software – not an afterthought. More »

The far reach of simple messages

blind folded laptop userThe difference in the way sighted and blind people experience technology is the key to designing accessible and usable resources.

It is tempting to deal with issues like access and usability separately, when they are actually complementary.

If you start with material that is clear, concise, easy to navigate and is written in plain English, this goes a long way towards making it accessible to all and usable by everyone. More »

Making sure your technology measures up

3 wise girlsThe increasing number of pupils with disabilities learning in mainstream schools, and the rise of computer use in education means that testing your product to ensure it complies with accessibility guidelines and best practice makes sense.

This is not just a moral duty, but a legal one, as anyone treating a disabled person less favourably can be prosecuted under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. More »

A Flash in the pan or all things to all people?

Adobe is keen to trumpet the accessibility features of Flash CS3, but there are drawbacks as well as advantages which users need to be aware of.

Since version 6, accessibility features have been built in to Flash, so developers can label elements of the Flash movie, such as buttons or graphics, to expose them to screen readers, along with the contents of text fields. More »

Tools that help disabled people

It is not only sight problems that can limit access to education. Other disabilities can be overlooked, such as:

  • Deafness and hearing problems,
  • Motor skills,
  • Cognitive impairment,
  • More unusual visual impairments such as colour blindness

This mini white paper, produced by Brighton based testing facility ‘Epicentre’, gives some useful facts and figures about who needs help with access, some devices that address accessibility issues and some useful links.

Accessibilty: it’s not just about visual impairment (PDF)

Vivid resources