Week One

Assignments -> Exercise -> review
Responses -> Hands on -> Review answers


Online readings:

http://www.awarecenter.org/why/essay_kb_01.html Web Accessibility and Users with Disabilities (K. Bartlett)
http://www.w3.org/WAI/EO/Drafts/PWD-Use-Web/Overview.html How people with disabilities use the web

Hands-on exercise

  1. turn off images, css, colors, fonts, javascript etc.
  2. unplug mouse
  3. look up keyboard shortcuts
  4. Look at five websites using these criteria:
  5. record where you encounter difficulties; and
  6. record your completion by answering the following questions:
    1. What web sites did you visit? (Please include the URLs.)
    2. Were you able to perform your normal tasks there?
    3. What kind of obstacles, if any, did you encounter in accessing those sites?
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Review Questions

  1. What is your definition of "web accessibility"? How would you define that term? answer
  2. Name three distinct groups of people with disabilities and describe for each how their ability to access the web might be affected. answer
  3. In this week's exercise, you were asked to "disable your access." In what ways was your experience similar to those of people with disabilities, and in what ways was it different? answer
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#6 Record completion(hands-on).

  1. The sites I went to were:
  2. &  c.   Predictably, the busiest sites with many images and links were the hardest to navigate - LL Bean and MapQuest.

    I started out unable to consult the windows help, as I got stuck in the left pane and couldn't figure out how to escape to the right pane that had the information I needed :-(

    At the LL Bean site, I tried to order a shirt that I really wanted and got worn out tabbing through about 35 links to get to the main part of the page. Finally I managed to get my information entered, hit Enter - and learned the item was on backorder! I patiently went through the same business for a second shirt I wanted - and it was out of stock as well.

    At Mapquest, I tried to find driving directions from my daughter's house to mine. Here I was handicapped by the fact that the links were blind- no image, and no alt text. However, after roaming around in the dark awhile, I discovered (by cheating) that if the mouse was over a link, alt text showed. Would a screen reader see it? After I turned on images again, I saw the "driving directions" image right near the top of the page.

    The New York Times wasn't too bad. I was able to navigate to the obituaries and easily scroll through the headings to read about a deceased English gardener. I may join her in pushing up daisies, if you can die of tabitis ;-)

    OneLook dictionary was pretty good: when the page opened,focus was in the text box for the lookup, instead of at the head of a pile of links. That was a relief after tabbing around the LL Bean site for 20 minutes. I entered the word parterre which I had read in the gardener's obituary. The next page, which listed several online dictionaries with entries for that word, popped up, and I happily selected the first and got my definition. I was unable to figure out how to select and copy text however. Later when I began using the mouse again, I retrieved the definition: "In gardening, a level division of ground furnished with evergreens and flowers; sometimes cut into shell and scroll work with alleys."

    The Women's Center site is a simple piece of brochureware and mostly very straight-forward. There area couple of pieces of javascript on it, but they are not mission-critical.


Review questions

#1 definition

What is your definition of "web accessibility"? In keeping with the spirit of the web, creating web pages that allow the broadest variety of people, abilities and devices to use them.

#2 three groups with disabilities

a. People with physical limitations (dexterity or strength). Such a person may not be able to control a mouse or use a keyboard effectively. She might need keyboard access only, or the use of a mouthstick, speech-recognition or other type of tool.

b. Someone with sensory limitations, such as permanent or temporary vision or hearing impairment. Such a person may not be able to use visual links, or use voice-recognition technology. He might use a screenreader, or require captioning of sound components of pages.

c. A person with mental limitations, such as dyslexia, poor memory, or mental retardation. This person may need text presented quite simply, with a simple, consistent navigation scheme and supporting images and sounds.

#3 Similarities & differences

My experience was similar to someone with a disability in that some web pages didn't account for anyone using just a keyboard and with images turned off. So trying to use the pages was slow and frustrating.

It was different in two ways: one, I could "cheat" if truly desperate. Two, I was bumped back to the beginning, as a novice user. Someone with more experience would be familiar with the keyboard shortcuts and might have a screen reader that would tell them the links I couldn't see.

I admire those who manage the web for their patience. My first experience with the web was on my old 286 and Lynx. browser. I found Lynx tough to use (unlike Pine email) and just gave up after bouncing around a few pages of [image] [image]. I loved irc though :-)

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Copyright © Pamela Shorey, 2001