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Make yourself familiar with different problems people face when interacting online.
Try these activities to gain some insight. You can do them at home, or at your desk:
- Not everyone uses a mouse so unplug your mouse (or disable your trackpad). Try using only your keyboard for an hour.
- Change your browser zoom to 400% and check the effect of resizing on the webpage you are viewing.
- Try some of the built in Microsoft Windows accessibility features, such as Windows Narrator.
- If you have an Apple device, try the Mac accessibility features, such as VoiceOver.
- Try this game accessibility through a maze.
Before you begin using it, it's important to remember that simulation software:
- is not a replacement for testing your online service with people who use assistive technology
- does not cover all eventualities
But used correctly, simulation software can be very helpful by raising awareness.
This is because it allows people to experience some of the every-day challenges faced by people with disability.
Simulators we use include:
NoCoffee Vision Simulator - a free Google Chrome extension.
It can be helpful for understanding the problems faced by people with slight to extreme vision problems, such as:
- low contrast sensitivity
- visual snow, glare, ghosting and cataracts
- rapid, involuntary, oscillatory movement of the eyes
- obstructed central vision (glaucoma)
Metamatrix Web Disability Simulator - a free Google Chrome extension.
It allows you to simulate:
- colour blindness
- issues with concentration
- low vision
NVDA screen reader is free but does need to be downloaded. Download NVDA screen reader (NV Access).
If you've never used a screen reader before, learning all the keyborad shortcuts can take time. For guidance see NVDA keyboard shortcuts (Deque University).
A good start is to:
- use tabbed browsing to see if things are announcing as they should
- test heading structure (hold down 'Insert' and 'F7' to bring up the element list)
- check how links are displayed (hold down 'Insert' and 'F7' to bring up the element list)
Accessibility and me is a series of interviews with people working in the UK Government.
Also provided by the UK Government, the following user stories provide excellent insight:
- Story 1 - Autism
- Story 2 - Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
- Story 3 - Inflammatory arthritis
- Story 4 - Retinitis Pigmentosa
- Story 5 - Chronic migraine
Profiles of users with disability helps understand how accessibility affects individual users.
Explore the impact and benefits for everyone through the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) web accessibility perspectives video series.
Here are some suggestions of things you can do where you can make a difference.
- Be My Eyes - bringing sight to blind and low-vision people. Be My Eyes is a free app that connects blind and low-vision people with sighted volunteers for visual assistance through a live video call. Read an article on how a Be MyEyes volunteer can help.
- See our join the community page for groups and resources the community has found helpful, inspiring or influential.