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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Ground Level   » Accessibility of Web Sites is an emerging issue

Author Topic: Accessibility of Web Sites is an emerging issue
Justin Hamaker
Film God

Posts: 2112
From: Lakeport, CA USA
Registered: Jan 2004

 - posted 10-09-2017 05:13 PM      Profile for Justin Hamaker   Author's Homepage   Email Justin Hamaker   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The president of my company recently came back from a NATO seminar where one of the discussions was accessibility of web sites. Unfortunately there wasn't much clarity on what steps should be taken, but they talked about ensuring web sites adhere to the WCAG-2 guidelines.

After doing some research, it looks like this is going to be a pretty intensive project. It requires making sure web sites are easily accessible to TTS (Text to Speech) browsers, as well as many other guidelines. Just the TTS requirement is difficult because it means ensuring you don't have design elements which get in the way of translation. But it also means ensuring your site doesn't include abbreviations and jargon which can not be clearly read.

As I was checking my sites, I found a problem with dates and times. Specifically the three character day abbreviations (Fri, Sat, Sun, etc) are not interpreted as day - meaning it doesn't expand the word so Fri is spoken as Friday. On the other hand, the month abbreviations do work, so that Oct is spoken as October. With times it seems they need to be formatted as military time or with the am/pm designation on every time. 1:00 was spoken as one hundred hours, while 1:25 was spoken as one twenty-five.

The guidelines also involve ensuring color schemes which are readable to people with color blindness. And possibly making sure to have tool tips for any words which might have more than one definition or non-literal definition.

I'm hoping NATO's tech committee will be able to have a seminar for web developers to give us more insight into exactly what changes need to be made to be compliant.

For those of us who are small operators who do our own web sites, this is potentially going to be a major headache.

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Marcel Birgelen
Film God

Posts: 2610
From: Maastricht, Limburg, Netherlands
Registered: Feb 2012

 - posted 10-09-2017 05:22 PM      Profile for Marcel Birgelen   Email Marcel Birgelen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
A good friend of mine is blind, he has been blind his entire life. He convinced me that most of those "accessibility" stuff implemented on websites is rubbish. He has shown it to me and everybody with a little bit of clue can see why this is.

He uses a special keyboard with a dual, interactive braille strip on the bottom.

He only uses Linux in text mode and uses text-based web-browsers to surf the web.

The problem is, those newfangled, responsive websites which are extremely heavy on Javascript and visual cues. This doesn't work in text-only mode. So he has to switch to Windows or a GUI interface. But every time he switches to Windows, there is no way for him to be productive: Can you imagine a blind person hitting an icon on the desktop with a mouse or even on a touch screen?

So, the irony is that most old-school websites work best for him. A site like the Film-Tech forums for example, would be perfectly usable for him and at a speed and efficiency comparable to how we use it. Give him one of the recently "re-engineered" government websites, which should be perfectly optimized for accessibility and his efficiency grinds to a hold...

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