What is audio description?

logo for Audio Descriptions. black bacround with white upper case letters AD and three curved lines indicating soundIf you’ve ever wondered what audio description is, then the Microsoft video below is a good example. Audio descriptions tell people who are blind the visual information on the screen during natural breaks in dialogue. In the Microsoft example, the speech of the audio describer is a bit fast in places, but it shows the type of describing they do. The video was developed as a staff training video on disability awareness and the first three and a half minutes are dedicated to basic information. The video descriptions start at 3 mins 27 seconds into the video. They use different case studies to show where audio descriptions work well in enabling people to be productive in the workplace.

You can find out more about audio describing from Media Access Australia, and an article on a trial of audio describing with ABC iView.

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Mobile banking for everyone

two male icons showing how a disability can excludeBarclays Bank has been a leader in inclusion and accessibility of their branches and now taking the next step to mobile banking. The short video below explains clearly how inclusive design is good for everyone as well as the bank’s profits. The video ends with a call to action: “Accessibility – make it your mantra”. Mark McLane from Barclays Bank will be speaking at the AND national conference on diversity in Melbourne in May. There is a great line-up of speakers.

 

Link to AND National Conference in Melbourne in May – speaker from Barclays

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Time for the inclusive revolution

book cover showing outline drawing of an older couple with an iPad tabletThe sub title from the e-book “Ageing, Adaption and Accessibility: Time for a revolution!” says it all. The book includes chapters from UK, Denmark, USA, Slovenia and Norway. The theme is the digital age and how to include everyone. It covers the economic case, putting people at the centre of the design, keeping it simple, and user testing.

In the foreword CEO of BT Retail, Gavin Patterson, says, “The experts interviewed for this book have given all who are involved in developing technology food for thought. It sets out the opportunities, challenges and impacts that communication solutions present to users, to help ensure that what we develop in the future does not end up excluding people whose lives we actually set out to improve. “

Ageing, Adaption and Accessibility is published by the Engineering Design Centre at the University of Cambridge and is free to download. Several well known authors are featured, including Valerie Fletcher, Roger Coleman, Ger Craddock, Hua Dong, and Baroness Sally Greengross.

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Seeing Red – or is it Green?

Colour diagram showing the three different types of colour vision deficiencyNot everyone experiences colour in the same way, yet the use of colour in illustrations is rarely questioned in terms of universal design. If people with Colour Vision Deficiency (CVD) are not included when illustrations, charts and images are designed, what colours should a designer use to include the 8% of the population with CVD? There are three types of CVD as shown in the image: green blindness, blue blindness and red blindness. People with CVD also have other difficulties in discerning some types of text, shapes and lines.

Preparing Images for All to See explains in detail how people with different versions of CVD experience colour. The article also gives some great guidelines for illustrators, map makers and others who communicate using coloured images. Included is a summary of the most frequently cited best practices for publication, presentation and instruction. Here is a synopsis of their recommendations.

  1. Select graphic styles for accessibility and use bar charts instead of pie charts 
  2. Distinguish items by more than color. Use circles and squares and solid and dashed lines. 
  3. Red and Green usually have the same hue (density of colour) and can’t be distinguished. Dark red–dark green, blue–violet, red–orange, and yellow–green are also not good. Magenta and turquoise are good choices because people with RedGreen-CVD can see the blue component.
  4. Make fonts and lines thick bright and with contrast.  
  5. Avoid rainbow color maps as this is the worst possible choice

You can also find out more about CVD or colour blindness from going to the National Eye Institute website

Three circular charts showing how people with colour deficiency see different colours on the colour wheel

 

 

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Web Accessibility

shows six types of social media iconsEver wondered what “W3C” means on websites? Web accessibility is becoming increasingly important as we move ever closer to reliance on computers and other internet devices. Web accessibility is not just a matter for people who are blind or have low vision. The online AFB Access World Magazine gives some background to the W3C organisation and includes easy to read information for making websites more accessible. The webpage begins:

“As society continues to become increasingly more reliant on the World Wide Web for essential products, services, and information, the importance of inclusion and accessibility in the digital arena has rapidly become a right and a necessity. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) plays a leading role pertaining to digital access and the Web. W3C represents an international community consisting of member organizations, full-time staff, and participation from the public related to Web standards. At the helm of W3C is none other than the inventor of the Web, Tim Berners-Lee. W3C launched the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) in 1997 with endorsement from the White House and W3C members.”

All webpages, blog pages, or uploaded documents or pictures should be accessible and this information is a good start – not just for website managers, but others who provide newsfeeds, documents and pictures for their website. You can access more information in the ICT and UD section of this website.

 

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Scrolling, scrolling, scrolling: images of pack shots

Image showing the design and content of good product labellingAs an adjunct to the Inclusive Design Toolkit, the Inclusive Design Team at the University of Cambridge are publishing success stories of inclusively designed products and packaging in a regular bulletin. Included in the latest bulletin is a really interesting demonstration video of e-commerce image recommendations (see below for video). When the shopper is trying to work out the brand, the format, the variant and the size of a product on a mobile phone or tablet, the images just blur and it is often pot luck with choosing. They claim Mobile Ready Hero Images are better than conventional pictures of packages in fast vertical scrolling. The video was made by Cambridge University in conjunction with Unilever. More detailed information and image recommendations can be found on this link.

Woolies supermarket trolley showing two types of handle gripsAlso in this latest issue they have published an article based on the final panel session from the 2016 Australian UD conference, The Economics of Inclusion. It showcases the Woolworth’s supermarket trolley with two types of handle grip and a cup holder.

Note: I found the upright grip good for controlling an empty trolley and the horizontal grip good for controlling a heavy trolley. So having both types of handle was great – very convenient and easy to use! Jane Bringolf

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Writing your material for websites

logo of Centre for Excellence in Universal Design in Ireland, purple colour circular design.It’s all very well having web designers familiar with the accessibility requirements in their designs, but what about the people who post content on the website? In many organisations staff write their own material and send it to the webmaster for uploading. But is their writing also accessible? It is easy to post a document that might have been originally meant for another reader, such as a submission to a government body, but perhaps an Easy English version should be considered for the ease of access for all readers?

The Centre for Excellence in Universal Design in Ireland has some easy tips to follow for those who write content or upload documents. 

Another good example is the Easy English version of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

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