Instructables

Making the Web More Accessible for People with Disabilities

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Reports indicate that at least 2.1 million of the estimated 54.4 million Americans with disabilities use the Internet. For people with disabilities, accessing and fully experiencing materials presented on the Internet can often be difficult.

According to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), “not all…disabilities affect access to the Web, but problems with vision, hearing, dexterity and short-term memory can have a significant impact on a person's ability to use online information and services.” For individuals with motor impairments, low vision or blindness, low hearing or deafness, and/or language or cognitive disabilities, assistive technologies or other accommodations can make it possible to access information online that would otherwise not be available to them.

 
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Step 1: Motor Impairments and Disabilities

Motor disabilities can range in severity depending on the level of movement that the individual maintains. While some motor disabilities are due to a traumatic event such as a brain injury or the loss of a limb, others are the result of a disease or congenital condition, including muscular dystrophy, Parkinson's disease, ALS, and cerebral palsy.

Despite the wide range of motor disabilities that might impact an individual's ability to use a computer and access the Internet, there are a few assistive technologies and devices that are frequently employed. Which device is most useful depends on the severity of the individual's disability, as well as their personal preference and what they find most helpful.
  • For individuals with limited movement, tools like mouth sticks or headwands may be useful. Mouthsticks tend to be inexpensive as well as being easy to use for most individuals, making them quite common.
  • These devices might be used in conjunction with adaptive keyboards, keyboard auto-completion software, or oversized ball mice.
  • If movement is even more limited, individuals may chose to use eye-tracking software to allow them to control mouse movement by following the movement of their eyes, or voice recognition software.
To make sure that content can be navigated easily by people using these devices or others, it's important to make sure that a user's movement on a website can be controlled by using a computer keyboard (either the tab key, arrows, or both).
Thx for this. Making sites more user friendly for those of us with disabilities is an awesome thing.
kelseymh3 years ago
I thought I had seen a similar I'ble a while back, but the Instructables search didn't find anything. Finally, I looked in the RELATED column (duh)...Did you see this one?
shesparticular (author)  kelseymh3 years ago
I honestly hadn't even noticed it and didn't think to check before making mine. I suppose it's always good to get as much information about making the web accessible out as possible though.
kelseymh3 years ago
This is most excellent! I especially appreciate that you used Instructables' own Web site as examples of what needs to be improved. We have a number of users on the site with disabilities of various kinds.
shesparticular (author)  kelseymh3 years ago
Thanks so much!
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