I want to make We Can Do accessible to as wide an audience as possible–but particularly for people with disabilities, and for people in developing countries. To make this possible, I need YOUR help. If you notice any accessibility problems at We Can Do, please alert me. Please also let me know if you are able to help with specific technical advice or other assistance. Read the rest of this post for specific areas in which I can use help or advice. You can contact me via the comments area below, or you can send me email at ashettle [at] patriot.net.
Table of Contents: Areas in which I can use advice or other assistance: Pictures and graphics; tables for showing data (PLEASE! HELP!); videos; accessibility to people with all disabilities (i.e., not only blind people); accessibility in developing countries; accessibility in languages other than English; accessibility for people without Internet connections; accessibility to people who cannot read; other.
Pictures and graphics: I use very few pictures or graphics at We Can Do. To be honest, this is partly because I have only very recently learned how to incorporate visual images in my posts at all! But this does have two advantages: it makes We Can Do more accessible to users who are blind or have low vision. And it also helps We Can Do load faster. That can be helpful for people who are using slow computers, or slow connections, or both.
However, I do want to at least have the option of using the occasional picture or other image. Now that I know how to add them (!), the other thing I need to learn is how to make them accessible to blind people. I know there’s something called an “alt” tag that’s supposed to help but I don’t understand how to incorporate it or what kind of information I should write in descriptions of pictures. If you have the tech skills, please advise.
Tables for Showing Data–HELP! I also have avoided using tables (for example, tables to show data). This is primarily because I don’t have the first clue how to create tables in html code. This can be a real problem when I want to publish certain research or other academic papers because it makes it harder to present data in a comprehensible way. If you know how I can create tables in html at a wordpress.com hosted site, please advise.
I also welcome advice on how to make tables accessible to blind people. Because even after I learn how to create tables, I still don’t want to use any tables until I know how to make them accessible to blind people.
Videos: I also don’t know how to post videos. Right now that isn’t a major issue because I don’t have any videos on hand that I want to post. But that might well change in the future. I welcome any advice/assistance/instruction in posting videos. I also welcome advice in how to make videos accessible to both deaf people (yes, I know, captions–but how to incorporate them?) and to blind people (yes, I know, audio description–but how to incorporate?). Or even better, if you’re willing to be on hand to volunteer to caption or audio-describe videos, please let me know. (Though it could be a long time before the opportunity arises to do anything.) As a deaf person, I’m not exactly the best person to listen to a video in order to write captions for it! And although my speech is not bad, I would want someone with better quality enunciation than mine to do any audio description as well.
If I ever do post a video, I also would want to post a full transcript. That means a transcript with NOT ONLY the spoken portions of the video BUT ALSO descriptions of ALL SOUNDS and ALL VISUALS (as described in the audio description track). This would help make the contents of videos accessible to people who are both deaf and blind, or to people who cannot download videos for any reason (e.g., slow Internet connection, etc).
Accessibility to people with ALL disabilities: People with vision impairments tend to face the largest, most pervasive barriers on the web. But they’re not the only people with disabilities who encounter accessibility barriers. I welcome any feedback from people with mobility impairments, specific learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder, or any other disability on how I can make We Can Do easier for you to use. (And, yes, Deaf people too. Though I’m already in a position to evaluate that directly.)
Accessibility in developing countries: Most web sites are designed on the assumption that users have high-speed connections, high-speed computers, and the most recent web browsers. But people in developing countries may be using older computers with older software with slow modem dial-ups. If you have any suggestions how I can make We Can Do more accessible to people in these conditions, please advise. I know minimizing pictures and graphics (which I already do) helps.
Accessibility in other languages: As you can plainly see, We Can Do is currently accessible only in written English. If you have the time, skills, and commitment to run a mirror site for We Can Do in translation to some other language, please get in touch.
We Can Do without the Internet: One of the biggest barriers in developing countries, however, is that most people don’t have Internet connections at all. I can only overcome this barrier with YOUR help. If you see any resources or information on this web site that might be of interest to people you know who don’t have access to the Internet, please feel free to print it out and share it with them. Talk to the people you know to find out what kind of information or resources they’re most interested in. Help them by looking for the information they want at We Can Do–or elsewhere on the Internet (explore some of the many web sites and organizations in the blog roll at We Can Do, both in the far right-hand navigation bar and at the very bottom of every page). Print it out for them.
Or, if you work with a Disabled People’s Organization (DPO) that does not have Internet access, maybe you could make a regular habit of printing every We Can Do post. Don’t forget to follow all the links from We Can Do pages and download the resources that I link to. Put together a binder with these printed materials and give it to the DPO. Keep adding to it on a regular basis. (Make sure you don’t miss any new posts–subscribe to We Can Do.) With this binder, DPO members could read and explore the relevant resources at their own leisure.
We Can Do without literacy skills: People with disabilities in developing countries very often have no access to a good quality education. This means many disabled people in developing countries cannot read. Only YOU can help overcome this barrier. If you know disabled people in developing countries who cannot read, talk to them about what kind of information or resources they would like to find. See if you can find this information or resource at We Can Do or elsewhere on the Internet. Share or summarize this information to them in their preferred language or mode of communication.
What accessibility issues have I overlooked?: Please tell me. Add a comment below or send me an email at ashettle [at] patriot.net.
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