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

Accessible websites: debunking the myths

Stylised picture of a group of computer monitors in various shades of blueIn a straightforward fashion Cris Broyles addresses five common myths about what you can and can’t do to make websites accessible. So no, they don’t have to be boring with just plain text and no images. Yes, you can use images, videos, and audio clips. And no, it is not enough to ask a blind friend to check the website. And it doesn’t have to be difficult – with the right resources it can be done. 

Cognitive disability digital accessibility guide

Front cover of the cognitive disability media access guideMedia Access Australia has produced yet another great media guide for including people who have a cognitive disability. The Cognitive Disability Digital Accessibility Guide is designed to provide practical, step-by-step information for designing and delivering effective best-practice web and digital communication. It provides useful information on:

  • Guidance on policies and technical standards that best apply to people with cognitive disabilities in an organisational context.
  • Creating websites that support people with a cognitive disability.
  • Developing documents structured and written in ways that support people with cognitive disabilities.
  • Preparing communication messages for people with a cognitive disability.
  • Understanding how best to support people with cognitive disabilities in their ability to use computers and mobile devices.

The Guide also covers traditionally-implemented accessibility guidelines of WCAG 2.0 Level AA as well as looking at the increasing relevance of Level AAA requirements. It also delves into the role of affordable consumer devices such as tablets and helpful apps.

Of course, if the design is suitable for people with cognitive disability, there is a very good chance it is going suitable for everyone.

People with cognitive disabilities or impairments include: acquired brain injury, autism, dementia, developmental disability, Down syndrome, intellectual disability, dyslexia, attention deficit disorder, and learning difficulties in general.

Media Accessibility Guide

Front cover of service providers accessibility guideMedia Access Australia has produced a comprehensive quick reference guide for accessible communications.  Although the target audience is service providers that deliver support to NDIS participants, it is useful for all organisations that want to make their information accessible. The contents include information on how people with disability access online information, producing and distributing messages, publishing content online, accessible emails, and engaging with social media. Examples of where this Guide may provide useful information include:

  • Setting up a new computer for a person with a disability.
  • Formatting internal documents in an accessible way to help employees with a disability.
  • Creating an accessible website.
  • Ensuring that people with disabilities can access important social media messages from a service provider.

The original guide was funded by Australian Government Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs in 2013.

Communication Accessibility Guidelines for Events

Picture shows a speaker with a live captioning screen behind showing several rows of text.Event organisers not only have to consider physical access – they also have to consider communication access for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. However, while one in six people in Australia have a hearing loss, this aspect of events is often forgotten by event organisers and venue managers. Communication accessibility is covered by the Disability Discrimination Act. While some venues claim that a hearing loop is installed, this may not be sufficient, particularly if it is not functioning as is often the case. Also, not all deaf people wear hearing aids with the requisite “T” switch.

An Auslan interpreter stands next to the speaker on stage.Deaf Children Australia have produced a comprehensive set of guidelines for event organisers covering Auslan interpreters, live captioning, and hearing loop technology. At the end of the guidelines is a useful checklist.

People who have a hearing loss often choose not to reveal this A large captioning screen can be seen over the speakers right shoulderaspect of themselves, consequently organisers receive little, if any, feedback about the efficacy or otherwise of hearing loops. People with and without hearing loss often find captioning useful particularly if they have English as a second language, or if the speaker has an unfamiliar accent. More technical detail on hearing loops can be found on the Clearasound website.

Choosing an IT system and designer

computer screenThe Centre for Excellence in Universal Design in Ireland has a comprehensive Toolkit that takes potential purchasers of IT systems through the process of procurement, inlcuding assessing potential suppliers, and overseeing the successful implementation of accessibility features. It also shows how to build the skills required to manage the accessibility of the resulting system and user interfaces once the set-up phase is complete. This means ensuring that documents staff produce for uploading to the website also meet the accessibility criteria.

Download the IT Procurement Toolkit here.

Web accessibility auditing

A computer screen sits on a desk. It shows a web pageTo find out how to improve the accessibility of a website, you must find out the current level of accessibility. A web accessibility audit measures the accessibility level of your website against accessibility standards. It should lead to a list of actions to make your site more accessible to all users. This useful resource from Centre for Excellence in Universal Design will help demystify the auditing process, and help identify the actions you need to take.