Welcome to User Perspectives on Website Accessibility, a blog series created by UsableNet as we countdown to Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) on May 16, 2019.
Today and tomorrow, we feature excerpts from interviews with Abigail and Kate, real people who also have visual disabilities. While UsableNet is a trusted partner for companies that are working to make their websites accessible and usable, we hope to shed light on the other side of experience and honor the spirit of GAAD by raising awareness.
Abigail is blind and uses a screen reader for Mac and Iphone to navigate the Internet. Kate has low-vision and uses Windows Magnifier for PC. What follows is an excerpt from their interviews, condensed and edited, on their experience navigating the digital world.
Abigail: Losing my sight has created challenges for me, but at this point I view it more or less as an inconvenience. I use lots of tools, especially technology, on my iPhone or computer to do my work.
Kate: Day to day it's just normal life. I use an iPhone as my mobile device. There's a built in zoom option as well as an invert color setting that I use for most websites.
Inclusive DEsign: Desktop Versus mobilE
Kate: I spend most of my time using the mobile version. I'd say some of the main differences are the menus are laid out differently. It takes a little bit more effort to navigate the desktop site, just because it's more spread out.
Abigail: I prefer to access sites on my mobile device or the mobile website versus the desktop version because there's less information or ads or things I have to dig through to get to what I'm interested in. Our current trends are to use pictures and graphics to convey information and it's making it less accessible to people like myself who are blind or visually impaired to keep up with what's going on.
Abigail: I have difficulties being able to complete a full transaction of booking my itinerary and that's because some of their form fields aren't labeled, so not knowing where to place my credit card number or where they're wanting me to place my name and personal identification becomes tricky and I usually have to end up calling the airline directly to complete the transaction.
Kate: When I'm booking air travel, I like to use the desktop version of the website. The options are easier to select. All the information is usually on one screen and it's easier for me to look at multiple options at once. It's really easy when the headlines are clear, the menus are laid out, and when there aren't slideshows of images with links on them because it takes me too long to read the text and by the time I get halfway through the text on the image, it has already moved on.
Best Practices for a Better Experience
Kate: High contrast is something that I really look for in a website. Dark text on a light background or vice versa, light text on a dark background. [Read more on WCAG, ADA and Why it Matters].
Abigail: The top three things that websites could do to make things more accessible is to have more headings, to have everything labeled so all of the links have a label or alt tag and fewer floating windows.
Global Accessibility Awareness Day was created to increase of awareness about digital accessibility. The co-founder, Joe Devon wrote a now infamous blog post and called for a day in which people in tech would test their website’s accessibility.