An interested party left a comment on a post I wrote back in November of last year, called The frustrations of VoiceOver. The commenter wondered if the situation I described in said post was the same for VoiceOver in Safari on iOS (meaning on both the iPhone and iPad). Problem being, I had a one helluva time testing the “bug” with VoiceOver on iOS.
Long, and somewhat uninteresting (for the scope of this piece, at least), story short, I was able to clear the biggest impediment I had toward testing this quirk in iOS yesterday. How do I even turn VoiceOver on to test? It, as in iOS, will not recognize my double taps when it asks for confirmation for turning VoiceOver on. “Is this really what you want to do? iOS’s gestures change when VoiceOver is turned on” (I’m quoting from memory, it’s more than likely that isn’t what it says). So I put a call out on Twitter asking how I might overcome this.
Although the solution isn’t all the intuitive to discover on one’s own, that doesn’t necessarily make any solution any less liberating or powerful. Read “The Split Tap” in its entirety
When I wrote Regaining focus I figured, from my past experience using user defined style sheets, things would be as straight forward as I remembered them being. Why isn’t anything as simple as the utility demands? And for the record, I know relying on memory alone is largely a sloppy move to make. And I hope to correct myself with this post today.
But I didn’t fully realize my error until I went to write up the README for a Github repository I wrote for a solution for such a problem. Using the bit of code I provided in my post I linked to above, I wrote a style sheet (FOCUS.css) that would provide a user the same experience in the same browser from one site to another.
The problem being the ways to implement user defined focus styles vary quite a bit from browser to browser. From easy to complicated. Read “Defining focus” in its entirety
During the latter part of this past week, I performed an accessibility “audit” for an organization I’ve done this type of work for in the past and unfortunately haven’t done much for in recent months. It feels good to be at it again.
And the web developer’s work I was evaluating was missing one of the most basic concepts of accessible web design. They removed the focus indicator from their links. I thought I’d share how I got around this potential show stopper with a little browser feature I’ve had to use possibly a couple other times for situations not quite as serious as this proved to be, but I think this will be worth the effort.
But before I drone on, it seems this needs to be said at least one more time. You really should avoid removing the focus indicator from web sites. Now I understand why one would do it. In some browsers the outline shows when you click on a link and that complicates certain aesthetic goals. And there are ways around this (largely).
But, as the link above demonstrates, this isn’t a new concern. This is merely me taking my sweet ass time at getting to a point. Which isn’t my main point, bear with me, I’ll get there. Revisiting practices that have since passed “pressing” relevancy can sometimes help your current processes. Take my “audit” this past week as a perfect example. Read “Regaining focus” in its entirety
So for quite some time now, much longer than is even remotely justifiable in fact, I’ve been having my share of difficulty both with using and understanding how to use Screen Reader Technology. Or more to the point, I just don’t get how this particular technology is usable to Blind and Low-Vision users.
Just to be crystal clear, I’m not knocking the technology or anyone who uses it, I’m only speaking towards my experience with it. And since my experience is limited, take this for what it’s worth, which isn’t a hellva lot.
Using said technology is an almost maddening endeavour each and every time I try to use it. I cannot wrap my head around making personal, productive use of it — and when I refer to “it,” in the interests of full disclosure, since I design and develop on a Mac, I mean VoiceOver. Read “My life with a Screen Reader” in its entirety
I’ve thought, for quite sometime honestly, that most of a persons success in using technology, and the internet specifically, is directly related to both a person’s willingness and ability to adapt. And while parts of my thinking still reflect this belief, large parts of those thoughts are not so much changing (in the sense my opinion is flipping), as they are evolving.
Before I proceed I’d like to define what it is that I meant by “success in using technology” above. Just for the record, I’ve never thought a persons perceived (whether it’s an internal or external perception) failure to interact with any given piece of technology was the fault of the user. It’s not. It most definitely is the fault, or better still, a short-sightedness of the creator. Nor do I think the word “failure” is valid in this context either. Failure and it’s implications would suggest this is a black and white issue. And it’s not. Not by any stretch of the imagination. As with anything there are shades of grey. As there are varying degrees of success.
That said, I’d very much like to alter what it is that I meant when using the word “adapt.” How I was using the word wasn’t entirely fair. It placed too much of an expectation on the user. It’s not any users job to adapt to technology. It’s technology’s need to be used by us. Otherwise why was it thought of and built? I’d simply like to swap “adapt” for “learn.” Most of a persons success in using technology is directly related to both a person’s willingness and ability to learn how to use it. The trick is to make that initial learning curve as inviting as possible. Easier said than done. Read “Adaptive web design” in its entirety