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Fascinating new way of entering text

Dasher is a really fascinating interface that allows you to write by browsing through letters using a finger, mouse or some other pointing devise.


  • Demonstration of Dasher Open link in new window
  • Try Dasher yourself Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - December 27, 2007

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See also: Cases and Examples (28) 



Free report on accessibility from Jakob Nielsen

As a holiday gift, Jakob Nielsen and co. has made their 148 pages report on online accessibility available for free download.

The report contains:
- Results of usability tests of 19 websites with users with several different types of disabilities who are using a range of assistive technology
- Test data collected mainly in the United States
- 75 detailed design guidelines


  • Beyond ALT Text: Making the Web Easy to Use for Users With Disabilities Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - December 18, 2007

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See also: Tips and guidelines (95) 



30% of web users have low literacy

According to Jakob Nielsen 30% of web users have low literacy and the number will probably grow to 40% in the next five years.

Unlike higher-literacy users, lower-literacy users don't scan text. They can't understand a text by glancing at it and must carefully read word for word. Scrolling breaks their visual concentration and they start skipping text as soon as it becomes too dense.

Some recommendations:
- Use text aimed at a 6th grade reading level on important landing pages
- On other pages use an 8th grade reading level
- Place main points at the top of the pages
- Make search tolerant of misspellings
- Simplify navigation
- Streamline the page design
- Avoid text that moves or changes

A study showed that revising the text of a web site for lower-literacy users made it perform significant better for both lower- and higher-literacy users.


  • The article Lower-Literacy Users Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - March 17, 2005

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See also: Text (24)  Tips and guidelines (95) 



Accessible doesn't equal usable for people with disabilities

The Communication Technologies Branch of the United States National Cancer Institute has cunducted usability test with blind people to learn how they work with web-sites and what that means for designers and developers. They conclude that meeting the required accessibility standards doesn't necessarily mean that a web-site is usable for people with disabilities.

The authors describe how blind users work with their screen readers and present 31 guidelines based on their findings.


  • The article Guidelines for Accessible and Usable Web Sites Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - January 17, 2005

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See also: Research (130) 



Accessible pop-ups

Pop-up windows are prohibited by the WCAG accessibility standards. To quote:

"Until user agents allow users to turn off spawned windows, do not cause pop-ups or other windows to appear


  • The article Accessible Pop-up Links Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - June 15, 2004

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See also: Javascript (3) 



Accessibility humanized

The Q1 2004 issue of GUUUI is about accessibility. The article is motivated by an evaluation of a governmental health care project, where we had both an accessibility consultant and a blind tester to evaluate a website. The outcomes of the two test where disturbingly different. While our blind tester was fairly content with the site, the accessibility consultant judged the site "A bad site in terms of accessibility." Conclusion: Official accessibility requirements might not be the most important thing when designing accessible sites. Instead, accessibility should be approached from a user-centred perspective.


Henrik Olsen - February 03, 2004

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Attitudes to web accessibility

During the summer of 2003 Birmingham Institute of Art and Design ran an online questionnaire, conducted interviews and carried out a literature review on web accessibility.

Some key findings from the questionnaire:
- 86% of respondents agreed that "Developers do not have adequate training" in Web accessibility.
- A "lack of expertise" was given as "the main barrier to developing accessible Web sites".
- 48% disagreed that "most development lifecycles are too short to incorporate accessibility".
- 64% of respondents agreed that "management is unaware of the importance of Web accessibility".
- 94% thought that "clients ask for their sites to be accessible".
- 67% of respondents agreed that "some WAI guidelines are difficult to implement".

In the article, the survey findings are discussed on the background of the interviews and literature reviews that were conducted during the research.


  • The article Attitudes to Web Accessibility Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - January 17, 2004

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See also: Research (130) 



Dive Into Accessibility

Mark Pilgrim's online book Dive Into Accessibility answers the why and how of website accessibility. It starts out with a presentation of five fictitious internet users with different kinds of disabilities and presents 25 tips on how to make their online life less tedious.

The book is focused on how to make popular weblogging tools more accessible, but the tips apply to all types of websites.


  • The online book Dive Into Accessibility Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - January 04, 2004

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See also: Books (47) 



Building Accessible Websites

With his book Building Accessible Websites, Joe Clark has done an amazing job in explaining how disabled people experience the web and how we can improve their online life. The book is a thorough, practical and pragmatic guide, with a mission to teach us to do accessibility the right way - opposed to the "correct" way.

Clark's book is engaging, informative, amusing, frequently provocative and available online for free. But you should consider buying it, since Clark deserves every penny he gets from it.


  • The book at Open link in new window
  • The book at Open link in new window
  • The book at Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - December 20, 2003

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See also: Books (47) 



Screen reader simulation

Ever wanted to know how blind and visual impaired people surf the web with their screen readers. Here's your chance. WebAIM has designed a screen reader simulation of a fictional web site, which includes a few tasks that you can try out. It's designed with some common accessibility errors to illustrate what users of screen readers have to put up with.


  • The screen reader simulation Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - December 16, 2003

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See also: Tools (106) 

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