denise: Image: Me, facing away from camera, on top of the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome (Default)
Denise ([staff profile] denise) wrote in [site community profile] dw_accessibility2012-05-11 11:47 pm

Assistive tech (semi-) poll

One of the problems we've been running into lately when talking accessibility-focused design is that it's very hard to know what assistive/adaptive tech people are using to access the site. Sometimes this information shows up in the Google Analytics aggregate data that we look at for information on browser capabilities, but it's hard to get an accurate picture that way: a lot of adaptive tech self-reports as something other than it is in order to "trick" websites that do browser-specific design into giving it different results, etc.

So, in order to a) make sure we're testing things in the most commonly-used assistive technology setups out there and b) make sure we're making the right design choices in the future (especially as there are multiple conflicting accessibility-related paradigms), we would like to get a better picture of what kinds of assistive technology our users are actually using to access the site.

Rather than trying to make a poll and listing off various forms of assistive tech (and invariably forgetting half of them), let's run this as an open-ended semi-poll. If you use any kind of assistive technology (screenreader, text-to-speech software, dictation software, screen magnifying software, browser extensions or plugins that change the way web pages display to you -- anything at all), please comment to this post listing off all the things you use. (And, if it's software, include the version number as well, if you can find it -- there are major differences in how different versions of some programs work.)

For "assistive technology", we're taking a very, very broad definition -- anything from "JAWS, version 13" (screenreader software) to "Dragon NaturallySpeaking" (dictation software) to "NoSquint" (Firefox extension) and anything in between. If you use it to help you make the web more accessible for you, we want to know about it, no matter how minor you may feel it is. (And even if your particular assistive technology has been mentioned already, mention it again; we'd rather have something reported multiple times than risk missing it!)

For those who feel uncomfortable talking about this publicly, anonymous commenting is enabled in this community (with the antispam test temporarily disabled) and all anonymous comments will be screened on this particular entry, so if you comment anonymously, it won't be public. We don't need to know who uses what particular setups, we just need to know what setups are being used, if that makes sense!
vanessagalore: (Default)

[personal profile] vanessagalore 2012-07-03 12:37 am (UTC)(link)
The main thing for me is setting the font really large, to around 20pts, and certain color combos are better for me, so I use RSS feeds a lot rather than original web pages. I appreciate that upping my font size doesn't cause issues here, the way it does on other sites (Photobucket, until recently, was a really egregious offender in this area). Also, I found a pair of orange computer glasses recently that help a lot if my severe floaters are swimming around excessively. (A new amazing eye doctor helped too.)

Recently, I've been playing with Lisgo, an app for iPhones (etc.) that reads web pages to you on the go (it syncs with Pocket, formerly known as Read It Later). I'm using it to edit my writing by listening to chapters while driving. The only limitation is that it will only work on entries that are set to public and rated "G" (or whatever it is here). I don't think it works on the dreaded Lisgo's developer is really keen on helping people to use the app in new ways, and he will reply to any comment you make within 24 hours, which is amazing. I find that Lisgo's text-to-speech algorithm sounds more natural than most of the other options out there, but YMMV.

I want to try some of these other things that people have mentioned!