Latest Accessibility News on Accessify

Visual Impairment Simulator for Windows

Developed by a senior design computer science student group at the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign, VIS is:

… an educational tool that can be used to inform computer users about what it is like to use a computer with a disability. When the program runs, it manipulates the images on the user’s screen so that it seems like the user has a visual impairment such as colorblindness or macular degeneration among others. The user will be able to pick which visual impairment to use and the severity of the impairment.

You can download VIS from the student group’s project site.

Filed under: Accessibility
Comments Off Posted by Patrick H. Lauke on Monday, March 7, 2005

RNIB study on digital rights management

RNIB is compiling a report on how Digital Rights Management (DRM) can impede access to information for people with disabilities. We’re looking for your examples of how widely used DRM systems block access by blind or partially sighted people.

If you can help, please contact David Mann or Dan Pescod at

Filed under: Accessibility
Comments Off Posted by Patrick H. Lauke on Saturday, March 5, 2005

Allow me a moment of pride …

While having a bit of a browse around today, I stumbled upon a report put together by 29 Digital entitled UK Banking Accessibility Review. I was particularly pleased to see that the report included Nationwide, because often these reports neglect to include building societies and focus only on the big banks (for those not sure what the difference is, here is Wikipedia’s low-down on building societies and Nationwide). I was even more pleased to see how well it fared:

Nationwide takes the "Top of the Class" award, while other well-performing
sites include NatWest, First Direct, Royal Bank of Scotland and Yorkshire.

Of our 19 sites, four (21%) have made the leap to CSS-only layout
(Barclays, Lloyds TSB, First Direct, Nationwide); this is encouraging,
as it is only in the last year or so that this "web standards" approach
to site design has gained in popularity.

As with previous tests, there are some good examples along with some very
bad examples in our group of websites. Many are easy to comprehend in a
text-only view - Abbey, Barclays, First Direct, Coventry, and in particular
Nationwide all work well

Of the rest Barclays, Cahoot, First Direct and Nationwide appear to be
using heading tags as intended.

I was pleased to see that after a year away, when my influence over matters of accessibility at Nationwide would naturally have weakened, the web site is still doing well. There’s always more that can be done (and I could list lots of improvements and changes if I had my way, before you start to pick holes that I already know are there!), but this does prove one thing at least: once the culture of web accessibility has been ingrained in a company, once it’s become part of the development and testing process, once it’s become just another thing that you do as part of your daily job, it’s very difficult to get things too badly wrong!

Anyway, self-promoting (kinda) pride ends here …

Filed under: Accessibility
Comments (1) Posted by Ian on Friday, March 4, 2005

Accessibility consultants - make the most of it while you can!

A report on Digital Media Europe gives a snapshot of the UK accessibility market and comes to the conclusion that there are just a few years’ worth of accessibility consultancy unless people/business start to get clobbered for failing DDA compliance matters:

The consultancy also reports that accessibility spending driven by legal concerns, with the researchers predicting the accessibility market has a limited shelf life of three years or so and that the accessibility market will be threatened if there are no high-profile prosecutions when companies fail to comply with the DDA. The analysts reckon that ongoing growth will be determined by litigations or the lack of them.

Filed under: Accessibility
Comments Off Posted by Ian on Friday, March 4, 2005

Speaking at SXSW2005

A quick reminder - I’ll be speaking at this year’s South By Southwest, strangely enough on the topic of Accessibility. If you are attending, and if you are not nursing the hangover from hell following one of the many social events that will be happening on the Saturday evening, it’d be great to see you.

See me speak at SXSW

Filed under: Accessibility
Comments (1) Posted by Ian on Thursday, March 3, 2005

Local authorities failing on e-accessibility

I’m totally up to my neck in work right now, so I can’t really do this post the justice it deserves, so I’ll simply point you in the direction of a story published in yesterday’s ZDNet Uk: Local authorities failing on e-accessibility. Insert your own pithy comment here where you’d normally expect that from one of us lot. Thanks!

Filed under: Accessibility
Comments Off Posted by Ian on Thursday, March 3, 2005
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