Accessibility is My Passion

by Reads (7,386)

Imagine going online and being unable to view a web site because the Flash animation cannot be skipped, there are tons of pop-up ads, and to top it all off, there is only one paragraph of content on the page and you have to scroll all the way down to find it. In general, I am the kind of designer and developer who see web pages like that and then wants to go in and fix them.

This passion for making sure that content and presentation extends to me and PDAs too. Even though I like my Treo 650, the buttons are not distinguishable from each other so it is hard to type without looking at the keyboard. I do like that the screen is easy to dim, or outright turn off, but I do not like that the colors all have a blue tint. If there was a way that I could adjust to color of the screen, like a good ol’ CRT monitor or cathode tube TV, that would be great, too.

What am I getting at is the subject of accessibility within the world of mobility and the Internet. For me, it is not enough that I have a PDA; I have to have one that gives as few compromises to a full laptop or desktop as possible.

Probably even more so than the OS, I think it’s the applications within the device that extend its functionality.

Like Blazer, the web browser; it has an excellent ability to “optimize” a page so that it’s easier to view; however, trying to navigate that optimized page (no zoom, quick pan, or skip to navigation/content features) really hinders the speed that it can move.

It’s not alone; I wonder why speech recognition is not built into Windows Mobile. Sure, there is Voice Command, but you are asking one program to assume that another is coded to be accessible by voice. Unfortunately, that is not something enforced within WM developer standards, and therefore developers do not always make it happen.

I know, I am shouting at the top of my lungs during a quiet argument. Still, I’m determined that the Web and mobile technology should be usable by those who would benefit most from having open access to the world’s opportunities: people in developing countries. A smartphone is much cheaper than a PC.

It is a shame that more online products and services do not share my passion for accessibility. Maybe if they did, our world, connected and developing countries alike, would benefit.

 

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