Promoting web accessibility

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Invitation

Share your tips and guidance. WAI has some formal resources, including Business Case and Contacting Orgs about Inaccessible Websites. Let's gather anecdotes, experiences, and suggestions to help everyone understand and embrace accessibility.

Business Case Examples

Experiencing Accessibility

One suggestion is to encourage developers and others to try not using a mouse for an hour. In my experience, an activity such as "going mouseless for an hour" can be a good exercise, but it is important that people be offered a brief cheat sheet of basic keyboard commands. See #Caution below. {- Jennifer Sutton}

Sometimes, when trying to teach developers to imagine what it is like to use a screen reader, people encourage them to use one; however, screen readers are quite complex, and a person is not going to be able to get a real-life experience without significant training. An alternative is to watch videos of people using a screen reader, such as those listed on the following pages:

Note that these video resources include demonstrations of people using other assistive technology.

Even better is to have real screen reader users provide demos. This is introduced in Involving Users in Web Projects for Better, Easier Accessibility and Involving People with Disabilities in Your Project. {- Jennifer Sutton}

Another technique is to switch off the monitor, or ask the group to close their eyes, and listen to a screen reader. Then, ask the group if they could summarize briefly what the page was about. {- Vicki Menezes Miller}

Watching a piece of news, a video clip in sign language (with no captions or transcript available) also makes impact. Websourd {- Vicki Menezes Miller}

Caution

Like disability simulations in training exercises that are not properly framed, sometimes, these experiences can result in people concluding that "accessibility is too hard," since they don't have appropriate coping mechanisms. Specifically, I'm referring to disability simulations where sighted people put on blindfolds, use wheelchairs, put in ear-plugs, etc., and then perform a life-activity, such as getting lunch at a mall in a food court. Such exercises can be helpful, but they can generate unnecessary fear. {- Jennifer Sutton}

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