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Even Grounds Blog
In this blog, I will reflect on issues which effect the accessibility of technology. I would like to bring certain issues to my readers attention which are either interesting, directly effect our lives, or bring issues into our attention which we would have never thought of.
Tom Babinszki, Director of Even Grounds
We all know by now that blind people love accessible web sites. But what most people are wondering about is how exactly do blind people surf the Net in the first place. Do they browse web sites like sighted people? Do they have different techniques?
Here, we’ll explain in detail how blind persons read and navigate web pages. Helping us out in this discussion is Ed. Ed is totally blind and is currently learning how to read web pages. Today he wants to visit a few web sites, but first, there is something he needs to run in his computer.
What if I told you that Rosa Parks was just making a fuss about sitting at the front of the bus? Didn't the bus take her where she wanted to go anyway? Couldn't black kids walk to school when the school bus wasn't available to them? They all made it, right? So why did Rosa parks still become a symbol of the Civil Rights Movement? The answer is simple, because it is not enough just to get there. It is also important that we should not be discriminated against based on anything, we should have equal rights in a democracy.
Fifty-five years later, believe it or not, we are dealing with the same thing. Instead of African-Americans, we are discriminating against people with disabilities. Namely, there is no such legislation that would require web sites to be accessible equally to all people, including those with disabilities. One out of six people in the United States in average is cut off from lots of information because the designers did not put any effort into making it accessible to all. Fifty-five years after Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus, we still have hidden discrimination in our society, because we lack the understanding of what people's needs are. We believe in the existence of equality so much that we fail to reevaluate our situation and neglect to see that something is going wrong, or if anything is getting out of hand.
It’s so easy for us to rely on colors to enjoy our activities and do our tasks, that we often take this ability for granted. But without this basic ability, you would find that the simplest of tasks can become very difficult.
There are, however, techniques and devices that can help you if you can’t recognize colors. Below we look at the most common ones and discuss their strong points and issues.
“Web accessibility? Sounds like a technical thing! I think I have to learn programming for it, right?”
Well, the answer to this relies on a few factors. Here we will take a Look at each one to help you figure out the answer for yourself.
Have you wondered why is there Braille on a drive-through ATM machine? Blind people, after all, won't drive there to use it.
The answer is not legislation, even though in general ATMs have to be accessible to people with disabilities. The solution is cost effectiveness.
Throughout recent discussions with the blog readers, I found that small business owners or bloggers would love to make their web sites accessible to people with disabilities, but they don't have the finances. Today, I am starting a contest, where you can win a free accessibility review of your site every month. I would like to help these people by providing a free review of their web site. I would like to achieve two things with this initiative. Help one person a month to make a more accessible web site, as well as contribute to a more accessible internet to people with disabilities.
Here is how it works:
I will reward people who contribute to this web site by leaving comments on the different posts.
Your web site is not the only one that will benefit from web accessibility.
Yes it’s true that accessibility can improve a site’s compliance with international standards and its search engine rankings. However, practicing web accessibility can also cause improvements in you as a person.
Here, I’ll discuss how making your web site accessible can actually help you develop your personality.
Hearing the name New Zealand may often conjure up thoughts of beautiful scenery and highly developed cities. However, New Zealand is also a country of equal opportunity and equal access. And this is best shown by its efforts to make the World Wide Web accessible to everyone including persons with disabilities.
Here, we will take a look at how New Zealand works to improve the accessibility of its web sites. We will talk about legislation and standards made by the New Zealand government to ensure that its sites are as accessible and as visitor-friendly as its top destinations.
This is the first post in a series focusing on the challenges of persons with disabilities in using the Internet.
If you have read several of my posts, you’d know by now that blind people can indeed browse the Internet. If this is your first time here in Even Grounds, you can check out our post about how blind people use the computer. Remember to return to this post after reading that article.
Below we will talk about some of the issues faced by blind people as they browse specific websites. I’ve also included possible solutions you can take to make sure your site wouldn’t have these accessibility-related problems.
Joining us in this discussion is Lisa, the lady we met in the post entitled A Day Through the Eyes of a Blind Woman.