Homework for Wednesday

Hi everyone! Next class we’re going to talk about accessibility online, so before then all of you are going to evaluate how accessible one website or piece of online content is. So before next class:

  1. Read through this set of posters for best practices with regards to designing for accessibility. (You don’t need to make note of all of them, just skim them and pick out a few you may not have been aware of, or noticed a lot.) https://accessibility.blog.gov.uk/2016/09/02/dos-and-donts-on-designing-for-accessibility
  2. Find a website or content posted online, and evaluate how accessible it is according to the guidelines. Did you find anything that could be done better? If you didn’t, which features made it accessible?
  3. Post a short comment below describing what you found. Include a link if you feel comfortable doing so. The comment doesn’t need to be super long, just enough to report back on what you found out.

For some ideas for things to evaluate, look at the websites you go to every day. College or ASC sites, blackboard, social media, this class website, your favorite YouTube channel. You can also evaluate your own content, like your posts on social media or on this website. If you have the time and are willing to look up a tutorial or two, consider turning on accessibility features on your device, like VoiceOver on iPhone, and navigating apps using them. It might give you a different perspective.

Happy fall break!

13 Replies to “Homework for Wednesday”

  1. Hi Rose and Katie. Thank you for sharing this fantastic resource! Based on the posters, I thought a lot about the ways in which our class website is and is not accessible to people with different abilities. Our website is built on WordPress, which offers a number of options for creating accessible websites.

    Our website does some things well in terms of accessibility: it uses header tags, includes (most) information on websites rather than downloads, and follows a (relatively) linear format.

    One area for improvement is definitely providing alt-tags for images to make the site more accessible to people using screen readers. This takes only a few extra seconds, and yet is a step I regularly forget to do. I would be happy to do a quick demo in class on how to add alt-text to images in our WordPress blogs — it’s super easy!

    One thing that would be cool (this may already exist, or we could build it) would be a plugin that does not allow you to “publish” your blog post or page if it contains images that are missing alt-text. The user would then have to enter alt-text before publishing their blog post or page.

    WordPress also has a number of free plugins to promote accessibility. I chose to install One Click Accessibility (https://wordpress.org/plugins/pojo-accessibility/) on our site, and now you should all see a blue symbol with a wheelchair user in the upper lefthand corner. Clicking on that icon should make it much easier to adjust the settings on our website. Additional suggestions for improving our site’s accessibility are welcome!

  2. Hi Rose and Katie,
    After reading the do’s and dont’s for accessibility I began to look at the different apps I use on a daily basis and I was surprised at how they mainly cater to those who do not have disabilities. However, one thing I have noticed is that a lot of apps and even the new Apple iOS has a new dark mode feature. The dark mode feature could help users who do have low vision. I personally like dark mode just because I myself have really bad eyesight and I feel like darker screens help me read and see things better. On the iPhone, you are able to adjust the size of your font which allows for people who have poor eyesight to read their texts better. There is also an option on Safari on the left side of the search bar allowing people to enlarge/minimize the text. I’m unsure if people are given that option on apps such as Instagram and Twitter I haven’t been able to find any. I feel like it would be hard for many people who do have disabilities to use certain apps because there aren’t many settings available that they can set for themselves. For people who are hard of hearing or deaf a lot of videos on twitter and Instagram and even Snapchat do not have a closed captioning option. However, I know that YouTube does have the option for closed captioning so it would be great for other apps to allow that to be an option for people who are deaf or having trouble hearing.
    Down below I am attaching a link for you guys to see the dark mode (for those unfamiliar for it) on the iPhone which I think is amazing.

  3. Hi Rose and Katie, I hope you both are enjoying your fall break! Thank you for sharing these posters that consist of the do’s and don’ts of designing for accessibility.

    I found the six posters to be very straightforward and eye-opening. Before our digital divides class and reading these helpful posters, I never thought about how difficult it can be to navigate a website/app for someone with a disability. Now, I am aware this matter and I have general guidelines for websites/apps to make them more user friendly.

    The app I chose to evaluate is Pinterest because I constantly use this app. I used the posters to help me decide how Pinterest is accessible to users with disabilities and how it is not. I found that Pinterest is a “visual discovery” app that heavily relies on photos and GIFS. This made me think about the difficulties people who are blind or visually impaired might face as they try to use this app. After doing some further research on how visually inclusive Pinterest is, I came across an article from 2018 titled “Inclusive for all levels of vision” (https://newsroom.pinterest.com/en/post/making-pinterest-inclusive-for-all-levels-of-vision). In this article, Pinterest announces how they have changed their app for Pinners with visual disabilities and different vision levels. Some of the changes consist of “better screen reading support,” “color contrast sensitivity,” and “focus indicators”. They further use before and after pictures of their website to show the difference between the changes they made to make their app more friendly towards people with visual disabilities. I found this announcement to be awesome because it closely relates to digital accessibility and it is great that Pinterest is trying to improve their app for users with disabilities. At the end of the article, they state “We’re continuing to make Pinterest more inclusive of everyone”.

  4. Hi Katie and Rose, I think this was a really great idea for a lesson plan. It really got me thinking of things that I never had to before. I decided to look at Twitter under the guidelines for people that fall into the Autistic spectrum. I have a couple of family members as well as friends who are on the spectrum so it always helps to understand what would be better for them. Twitter is pretty good with color since you can change it to dark mode if you want. I know that if you go on twitter from your laptop or desktop you can also change some colors from white to whatever you’d like, mine is orange. Most people write in their own language, but a lot of the time people on twitter will use different fonts or emojis. I can see that that might be difficult for some people to understand, I know that a lot of the time I can also have issues with the sarcasm levels on twitter. Depending on what the latest twitter trend is, there will most likely be tweets that can be difficult to read until you get into the idea of reading it a certain way. For example, something may need to be read right to left instead of left to right, or reading two lines down and then jumping over to the right side of the tweet and reading the other lines. But these issues can’t really be fixed since it seems to be user-based. You can report things that are abusive or harmful, but you can’t really report things just because you didn’t understand it. Twitter seems to be pretty clear on how to use the app, you hit the heart to like something, you hit the arrows to retweet. When you first make an account for twitter it brings you through a tutorial, because of this you shouldn’t have any issues using the app. The twitter layout is always the same and I think that’s very helpful.

  5. Hi Rose and Katie!
    I really enjoyed this lesson idea! The posters that this website showed I really liked for a few reasons. One, I like how direct and easy to read they are. Two, I really like how simply they were linked. I could see these being hung up in schools to help educate people! I thought a lot about Facebook while reading this! For example, making links more predictable. Often times, Facebook tells you to click a link especially in the Ad section and it is a fake website or a scam, so for people on the spectrum this can be confusing. I also think a lot of the coloring, especially the harsh white and blue scheme of Facebook could be altered for those with low vision!

    I did mess around with the different accessibility options in my phone. I have not used these before. I feel like they are limited for how much money and knowledge apple has, I would love to see more development happen.


  6. Hi Rose and Katie!
    I really like this idea for a lesson plan! I decided to take a look at Buzzfeed News on the Buzzfeed app. I also decided to look at how helpful they are in terms of users with dyslexia.
    On the main news page, Buzzfeed has each new news segment with a picture attached. The layout is consistent and continues in this way for the entire page other than the ads that are listed in between. The app also allows viewers to click on each picture to get more on the article, which usually involves other sources of context such as short videos or podcasts. In the settings portion of the app, there were also options for dark or light mode, but there weren’t any specific options for contrasts other than those two. However, if there is an issue with the site, the settings page includes a link to an email address designed to help with technical issues, so they are prepared for any type of issue.
    The Buzzfeed News App includes many options for further accessibility, specifically for users dealing with dyslexia. Of course there are always many ways for websites and apps to improve their layout, but for the most part they have a cohesive website that has many different ways that it is made to work for all kinds of users.

  7. Hi Rose and Katie!
    I really like this homework idea. These posters are an extremely helpful way to examine different social media platforms to truly see how most of them are not inclusive. The poster about designing websites for users who may have Autism really stood out to me, and instantly made me think of Twitter. Even though Twitter has a pretty simple color scheme (with the choice of switching to night mode to make reading tweets easier on the eyes), the slang on the website would not be okay for someone on the spectrum. Many of the words are abbreviated on Twitter, which is not something that is easily accessible, or easy to understand if someone is not familiar with the lingo. Users who may have dyslexia also may have trouble using this site for the same reason. There are also many tweets available to read on the homepage, which could be overwhelming and hard to read for someone with dyslexia. For screen readers, there aren’t options for transcripts for videos that may be on Twitter, nothing is structured with HTMLS, and it is not built for just keyboard usage.
    I never really thought about how inaccessible Twitter is until doing this homework exercise. Looking over these poems truly made me realize how many other websites function in the same way, which can make it extremely hard for people with disabilities to feel included on these sites.

  8. Hi Rose and Kate,
    This blog post and link were eye-opening and definitely changed how I viewed social media’s structure. I think this sort of social media structure should definitely be the beginning stages and focuses web designer’s focus on to include everyone. The social media app I selected to analyze was Instagram. Instagram has had an upgrade and how there’s a dark screen mode, which is great for people who have difficulty with brightess. However, according to the poster Instgram does lack in the criteria for screen users. Instagram does not provide subtitles for the videos posted, letters cannot become enhanced, there are more advertisements that say “click here” or “learn more” switching to a different browsing app. Instagram does have audio options when looking at videos, but there are no subtitles provided. Instagram is straightforward as a social media app designed to view photos and videos, however the complication here could be Autistic users viewing bright contrasting colors. Perhaps having a settings area to switch for sensitive eyesight to bright contrasting colors could be effective which would allow a warning label to pop up before viewing the image. An example from instagrams upgrade of “Sensitive Content” warning viewers on the content that will emerge, if viewers accept they click on “See Video/ Image.”

  9. Hi Rose and Katie,
    This was a great knestic exploring activity that made it real for me to see how certain websites aren’t as accessible as I thought they were. Ever since my little sister was diagnosed to be on the autism spectrum, I have been more aware of how important the topic of accessibility is in her daily life. A website and app that my family and I use every month are Amazon- we have an Amazon Prime membership. Amazon prime has a major theme of being descriptive. The buttons are detailed to the specific function. There is a lot of English written on the sight, even if the object is from a place other than the United States. There is English practiced in non-formal forms to persuasive sales writing. The layout does consist of simple colors to highlight each individual item for sale, yet the layout is extremely inconstant on the home page. While shopping, the layout is smooth, but at first glance, things can be very overwhelming which is is something that may disturb users with disabilities. Most sales items have display photos, customer review photos, and videos. Few videos have captions though, yet the website could be navigated with a keyboard only. The texts do range from size, but are generally set in a small text size. Text can definitely be magnified and the white layout doesn’t interfere much. When shopping there is plenty of room for large clickable actions, yet a lot of the buttons that are needed are set in close promiximity. Overall, I see Amazon being somewhat user-friendly, but it is able to be navigated if the website needed to be adjusted on someone’s personal screen. There is plenty of support on this website in which there are multiple ways to reach the goal of purchasing an item, but there is way too much detail and product shown on this website’s home page.

  10. Hi Rose and Katie. After reading the do’s and dont’s for accessibility, I began to notice that the posters use good color contrast and good design layouts to raise awareness of different conditions. It also made me realize how many different apps I use on the regular basis. These posters are a helpful way to examine different social media platforms to see how most of them are not inclusive. This reading also made me realize how some websites aren’t as inclusive and accessible as others. It also demonstrates how web designers focuses on including everyone. The website I thought of was instagram because the brightness can be adjusted. On the other hand, Instagram does not include subtitles or more audio options. Sometimes in captions on Instagram there may be a long caption that may be difficult for individuals with dyslexia. For individuals, instagram can use diagrams to support the text if it’s difficult to read and keep the content short and simple. In addition, I think that instagram should format their texts differently. In other words, they should align their texts to the left and keep a consistent format. That way, it is easier for individuals struggling with dyslexia to read the information they are seeing.


  11. Hi Rose and Katie!

    I really liked this homework that you had us do and the website that you had us reference. When we go on certain websites or apps, we don’t really look at how accessible it is unless it is for our own needs. Therefore, I liked how this website allows you to notice what it is like for people who do need websites set up a certain way. For me, I thought of Instagram. Instagram is primarily picture based or videos. People have the option to post pictures and on videos on their main feed or their story. For me, and the people that I follow, the posts are typically captioned with something very short, but their are times where people post long messages. More often than not these captions also have emojis. One thing that is good about Instagram is that the layout is fairly simple. On the main screen all you do is scroll through and you see post and caption one after the other. On your profile screen (or anyones for that matter) you can choose to see your (their) posts as a bunch side by side, or one after the other just like the main screen. Something Instagram can improve on however, is the option for subtitles with videos that people post an on IGTV.
    There are pros and cons to every website and app. As for right now, I do not think there is a site that is completely accessible to everyone. But, the creators should always keep accessibility in mind. There are many different people in this world and autistic, hard of hearing, dyslexic, and all people should have the same opportunities in the digital world.

  12. Hi Rose,
    For my website evaluation I chose a website I frequently use for English classes called, poetryfoundation.org. This website is a valuable resource for me and serves as a vast archive for biographies of poets as well as there poems themselves. In doing this evaluation I realized that this website is strongly suited for people suffering from physical or motor disabilities due to it’s large, “clickable” sections. However, this may be difficult for those with dyslexia because it does not contain any pictures or diagrams, simply words.

  13. Hi Rose and Katie i thought this was a great idea for a lesson plan and it could really open my eyes on some more issues that are faced daily by people with some kind of disability. For the website that I choose to evaluate was ESPN.com This website is knows for linking fans to their sports team of all sports and i personally use it everyday so I decided to see if the website that I can easily use is just as easily accessible for others. This website is designed well for screen readers because it uses plain black and white and it has large font with pictures for each article. The website will also provide subtitles in some of their video clips of player interviews for the non English speaking players to make it more accessible. the website also provides multiple ways to access it on a computer or on a phone or tablet.

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