Activity 2: Walk in their shoes

If you can access a computer with a shockwave player and speakers use the simulation at WebAim
    Try to find the phone number for the University of Antarctica

.    If you can't access this, with StickyKeys on: put tape on the fingers of one hand, so that you can use only one finger. Sit on your other hand. Type a short letter.
Q3.    Post a message in the Topic 'Accessibility' based on the following -There is considerable difference between reading about a handicap and putting yourself in that person's shoes. In your message describe the experience of using a computer for a typical task without the use of your familiar abilities. Suggest ways in which we might be able to make the public more aware of this issue. Copy the post to your Weebly site.


A1. Despite my best efforts, I was unable to find an easy way to either navigate, select links or do any of the other things I normally take for granted when browsing a web page using the screen reader simulation. As such I found it near impossible to find the phone number of the University of Antarctica but I eventually found it (1800-576-2653) located within a screenshot.

A2. As a single finger typist I did not find using StickyKeys (while all but one of my fingers was taped together) that hard or frustrating compared to using an assistive device i.e. screen reader simulation. That said, it is still not an easy thing to do. For a short document it might not be too bad but for anything larger it would be very frustrating. Many functions and actions are very hard to perform and take much longer to complete this way. Productivity is greatly reduced.

A3. No matter how empathetic a person thinks they may be, there is a considerable difference between reading about a handicap and putting yourself in that person’s shoes.

Just consider the difficulties faced doing the simplest of things on your computer such as sending an email if you were blind. Firstly, think about the steps this involves –

    •    Finding your email client application on your hard disk
    •    Opening your email client
    •    Selecting the “New Message” icon
    •    Entering a destination email address
    •    Selecting which from address to use (especially if you have multiple accounts)
    •    Selecting the right frame to type text into
    •    Typing the actual email message
    •    Perhaps trying to apply HTML formatting
    •    Maybe adding a Signature
    •    Pressing the “Send“ button

Seems easy enough but try and follow all those steps while wearing an eye mask so you cannot see what you are doing. Not so easy now, is it. Without lots of practice, special training and much frustration I doubt that anyone would be able to do it.

Now consider this amount of effort and resulting frustration that would be felt given this applies to every single task they carry out on a computer. Similarly think of the obstacles that the blind must face each day just to carry out the routine tasks that we do not even think about during our day-to-day life. Maybe now you will begin to feel something of what these people must feel every day of their lives.

Solving the problem is not easy; there are no quick fixes. The first step is to make people aware of the problem, but the question is which people?

    •    Those that set the web standards (WC3) need to include a broader and more expandable range of accessibility components as part of the framework and language associated with any future web standards they may approve. It is recommended that these additional feature sets follow closely along the lines of the current 508 Legislation
    •    Web Developers need to stop designing sites just to work in Internet Explorer, which was designed to support the use of proprietary Microsoft code rather than being built to follow standards. These web developers need to consider all the varying platforms out there including Linux, Macintosh, mobile phones or assistive devices such as screen readers
    •    Web standards need to be created and approved that cover not just how a page is presented (e.g. using XHTML and CSS) but also includes additional code elements that will allow developers to better control how their sites are interpreted by accessibility devices. This could be very easily implemented using different style sheets for each assistive device type e.g. screen reader, Braille device etc
    •    Once standards are set and seen to be getting adopted by cutting edge hand coders large software houses such as Adobe in an effort to compete will want to add this functionality into their software. This also means that they will be spending a lot of money promoting these new features to their customers
    •    Once large corporations decide to adopt the latest in standards compliant features and update their software they will need training for their staff. This means books, videos, and classes. This means advertisements, promotions special events etc
    •    Certification is the next logical step, meaning the creation and maintenance of accessible sites becomes a necessity in the eyes of CEOs not just a wish

To be honest, all that the end users can do for now who require the use of assistive devices is write to their local member or newspaper and keep the issue in the public eye.

However if standards are set by the WC3, major software companies adopt these standards, web developers follow these standards and governments and corporations make compliance with these standards compulsory the public will as a part of the whole process become more aware of the issues being faced by the disabled and the best part is that the government and major corporations would pay for any promotion or advertising as a normal part of their budget rather than expect those suffering the afflictions to pay.

Website Accessibility | Walk in Their Shoes | Accessibility Automated Verification  | Translation | Toasters