This video from the Universal Design Centre California State University explains the importance of providing multiple means of representation – documents and information in alternative formats. The video is an example of universal design itself, and is something we should all strive for in our communications and documentation every time.
Rather than using a PowerPoint presentation, an actor with a script written by the researcher, Steve Daunt, communicates the results of his study. The script compares the difficulties older people face with everyday technology such as a mobile phone with the alarm pendant. It highlights how these pendants may not be as effective as the designers might think.
The study uncovered many device design issues that the users struggled with – such as buttons being the same colour as the device casing. Contextual use of the device was found to be an issue for the older users; for example, where reduced mobility and dexterity made it difficult to reach down to and operate a DVD player placed at a low level relative to the ground.
One major finding from the pendant alarm technology was that the older people assessed were mostly unsure or unaware of what steps would occur after they had pressed the alarm button.
Many of the designs that older users struggled with in their “difficult technology” made no allowance for users lack of technical knowledge or exposure. Some of the designs were found to be extremely poor and it is likely that other user groups would also have had difficulty with the technology. For example, some devices lacked labelling or feedback which are violations to basic usability principles.
Initial findings from the study were presented as a “dramatic reading”at the ActivAge 2012 conference. You can access the 15 minute video at the bottom of the webpage.
The Centre for Excellence in Universal Design in Ireland has developed a very useful resource for web developers and website managers.
To find out how to improve the accessibility of a website you must establish its 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.
Go to the CEUD website to download the resources.
The title of this research paper is “DREAM work package: Monitoring the Implementation & Enforcement of eAccessibility law and policy at the Member State level”
E-accessibility refers to the design of information and communication technologies that are usable by persons with disabilities. The principle aim of this study was to identify how different intermediaries (e.g., policy approaches, participatory processes and commercial incentives) impact the monitoring, implementation and enforcement of e-accessibility policies. DREAM is the acronym for a group of member states interested in this endeavour. The findings revealed:
- The need to develop an international procedural standard
- The need for a web accessibility professional association
- The need for a procedural accreditation