Figuring out Accessibility

My journey started back in 2013 when I received a link to the Israeli Justice department’s Web Accessibility laws.  The guidelines are in Hebrew and are based on the international standard of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.

Reading all this material plus the info that non-compliance leads to a fine currently set at 50,000 NIS seemed overwhelming. I also did not fully comprehend how inaccessible the internet was for handicapped users.  I went in search of a local blind person who uses the internet on a daily basis so that I could better understand his experience.  That is when I met Yossi, the librarian at the school for the blind.

Yossi lost his sight in his early teens, but that has not slowed him down. He works as a librarian and is busy raising a family.  When he asked me to assist him to the train, he literally ran the whole way. He knew the way well and I had to hurry to keep up.

Yossi and I met a couple of times and he took me to his favorite websites, which were mostly news and music sites. He then explained how he was trying to use his cellphone company’s site, but he kept getting stuck. We went through the site together and his screen reader did not know how to proceed at a certain point.  Pressing tab which is his way of scrolling through the links on a page, resulted in an endless loop.  Surprisingly, at the bottom of the page was a link to the company’s handicapped accessible page. Unfortunately, Yossi could not get there. Together we wrote to the company and then went on to explore his issue with banking online.

If you are interested in finding out more about how blind people use the internet, visit Webaim’s page on visual disablity. Another great resource I found at this time is Deque, a company that beyond its services, offers free tools and webinars on accessibility.

Please note: The video above is for illustration purposes. If you click on the cc – you will be able to view the captions as does a hearing impaired viewer.