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Denise ([staff profile] denise) wrote in [site community profile] dw_accessibility2013-01-15 10:39 pm

Inaccessible websites?

I'm doing a talk on web accessibility at LinuxConf Australia and would like to give specific examples!

So, gimme your best examples of websites with specific accessibility problems that drive you nuts. Use of tabular data where it doesn't make any sense, sites with horrible contrast or that won't let you change font sizes, restaurant websites that are entirely flash-based, etc, etc.

Also, if anybody knows of good illustrative videos of a) people listening to a screenreader and b) people dictating to their computer, point me at 'em?
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)

[personal profile] deborah 2013-01-16 07:35 pm (UTC)(link)
I have videos of me controlling software with Dragon; I will send them to you. There are great videos of people using JAWS; I will send you my favorite link from my accessibility presentation.

I hate anything that automatically captures the cursor, unless there is seriously only one thing you can do on that page. For an example, http://worldcat.org/ -- incredibly useful site which I use all the time (interlibrary loan for the win), but every single page reload captures the cursor and I have to free it in order to do anything the a keyboard/voice.

luckily restaurant websites that are entirely flash-based are less common, although they and children's author websites are still astonishingly frequently flash only.

Anything that overrides basic keystroke commands without giving you a way to turn them off. I tried using remember the milk -- https://www.rememberthemilk.com/ -- and it was completely impossible, because every single normal keystroke is overridden, and you can't turn them off without turning off JavaScript, which completely breaks the site. I especially get angry at any site which thinks it is clever by overridding keystrokes which are common browser shorthand on common browsers. The demo version of jira doesn't exhibit the behavior where typing "/" automatically takes you to the search box, thus overriding the "/" synonym for ctrl-F in Firefox, which makes me think that they finally fixed it, boo yeah. (We are using an older version at work.)

Any site which is completely broken with JavaScript turned off, not just RTM as above, but how about the entire gawker family of pages. I know it it the latest surveys are saying that most screen reader users browse with JavaScript turned on, but there is more to accessibility than just screen reader users, and for reasons as above (mostly having to do with turning off ways so-called clever designers overrode the keyboard or captured my cursor) I need to turn off JavaScript *frequently*. The fact that I have to turn it on again to visit io9 or jezebel or lifehacker is why I mostly Boycott those sites.

Sites which make information available only via title element, obviously, but also sites which make that same information available only via title or alt. Xkcd comes to mind -- jokes which are only funny if you have access to that. The alt is at least theoretically available to non-mouse users, Say, if they are me, and technically savvy enough to make it really easy to turn off images in their browsers, so that the can read the alternative text. But I'm assuming that most keyboard/voice-only users don't necessarily have that ability; it's non-trivial in most browsers.
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)

[personal profile] deborah 2013-01-16 07:42 pm (UTC)(link)
by the way, the video of me controlling software with Dragon is NOT me controlling a website. I am happy to make a new one of me controlling websites, if you like, both a good website and a bad website.

For what it's worth, such videos are necessarily slow-moving. While experienced screen reader users can move at a speed that non-screen reader users can't even parse (I recently read this interesting study about has screen reader users and accusing a different part of the brain in order to parse sounds faster than non-screen reader users. \o/ SCIENCE), dictation is necessarily a slow process, at least for command and control.

[personal profile] treeowl 2013-01-17 08:54 am (UTC)(link)
It doesn't seem quite fair to blame websites that use Javascript responsibly. It's a key technology of the modern web. Now sites that do absurd things with it, or that present their content in Flash, are a whole different story.
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)

[personal profile] deborah 2013-01-17 03:58 pm (UTC)(link)
D asked for websites with specific accessibility problems which drive us nuts, and I gave her one. That is not "blaming websites"; if we can't talk about accessibility issues we have when we are asked about them, how will we advance? Moreover, I don't believe that one is using JavaScript responsibly if a site is entirely nonfunctional without JavaScript.

When I spent this past year in a key responsibility position for redesigning a website from the ground up, my instruction to the developers was that key content needed to be discoverable and viewable with JavaScript turned off. It didn't need to be pretty, it didn't need to be elegant, it didn't need to be as pleasant a user experience as if javascript was turned on. Clearly all kinds of functionality such as light boxes and sliders didn't need to be reproduced. But what I requested -- and what they easily delivered, even though it took extra time -- was that you could still use the search box and view the text or images on the page.

Yes, it takes more time -- although not a lot more time, if what you are talking about is making a search box work without JavaScript, or the text of your article appear on the page without JS. But accessibility does take more time. Not a lot more, if it's a key element of the design from the ground up.

And of course some functionality will not be available to people who have JavaScript turned off. Heck, some functionality will always be unavailable to people who have Flash turned off.

Not to mention, from a pure business perspective, content which is unavailable without JavaScript is usually invisible to search engines. SEO demands revealing your text content to the stupidest browser available, that is, a crawler. And while you can jump through hoops to make your text available to crawlers, you might as well jump through the same hoops and make your text available without JavaScript.

[personal profile] treeowl 2013-01-17 09:54 pm (UTC)(link)
Touché. I wasn't properly keeping in mind the distinction between using Javascript and relying on it, which is an entirely different matter. Yes, websites should be usable without Javascript and without CSS. Pet peeve: the limitations inherent to CSS make it difficult to impossible to produce certain visually reasonable layouts without mucking up the HTML structure so it's a bit wonky without CSS.
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[personal profile] cellio 2013-01-20 08:22 pm (UTC)(link)
Flash is the poster child for anti-accessibility. Nothing you can do through the browser has any effect on it; you get the colors, font sizes, and content-area sizes that the developer of the flash content hard-wired, and that's that. (Unfortunately, the worst offenders that I know of off-hand are things I'm required to use on our corporate network, which doesn't help for this query.)