Accessiblity for the Deaf-Blind and mobile users
|By Jared Evans|
Friday, February 23rd, 2007
The DeafRead staff tries to keep a pulse of what our visitors and v/bloggers want. We would like to thank tactiletheworld for bringing up an important point that many of us have overlooked often in the past. Tactiletheworld , we want to tell you that we have already taken steps to address some of your concerns.
Perhaps it happens too often, but when Deaf people encounter something that is new and exciting, we try to embrace it in a way that fits us as the People of the Eye. We often rush ahead with whatever it is and leave another group of Deaf people behind in the dust: The Deaf-Blind. This group of people must find ways to be part of a world where spoken language requires the hearing sense and signed language is often for those with eyesight. Often, it’s not only hearing people that they must contend with but ironically, it’s also the Deaf people that they can have a difficult time with.
The hallmark design decision for DeafRead was to avoid the use of graphic images and try to limit ourselves to text and whitespace. This not only makes the page more aesthetically pleasant to look at but also makes the page load very fast. Because it’s mostly text, our page is easily accessible to Deaf-Blind with their technology to read the text off web pages.
Upon reflection, we believed that we could take it one step further for the Deaf-Blind. After some technical research and coding, we have found a way to make all the DeafRead blogs readily accessible for the Deaf-Blind. We hope that this will help bring everyone closer together.
We are now introducing a new icon that looks like this: When you click on the icon, you will go to a plain text page of the blog post that has been stripped of all the background image, colors, font sizes, and layout.
While the resulting page will look bland to anyone who uses a graphical browser, it is more easily processed by the additional technology that the Deaf-Blind employ to read the world wide web. Because this service displays the plain text only, the video will not show up. If you want to see the video, you may visit the actual page.
As an unexpected bonus, the mobile users who load DeafRead on their T-mobile Sidekicks or Blackberries, will be able to take advantage of the Deaf-Blind icon to quickly download text-only version of the blog posts to read on the small screens.
While this doesn’t directly address the issue of vlogs with transcripts, this new feature will provide the vloggers with an additional incentive to publish a transcript along with their vlogs. The vlog transcripts will be more easily accessible to the Deaf-Blind as well as all the mobile visitors!