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Re: Web Accessibility for Cognitive Users

From: David Woolley <david@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
Date: Thu, 17 May 2001 23:55:01 +0100 (BST)
Message-Id: <200105172255.f4HMt1q16980@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
> 
> This small section of our site may be a decent rudimentary example.

I don't really see how this site would help someone who has poor
literacy.  The thing that would help someone who is literate but
has difficulty in learning (e.g. elderly) is not the graphics but
the use of standard links in the main content section.  The other
links follow fairly standard idioms, although it would stil be
necessary to teach a user about text as image side bars and tabbed
dialogues.  (I think the tabs would be particular difficult for
someone to find until they had been taught the convention.)

For someone trying to decipher the link cues## for this site, I think
that Serving America... is simply confusing; it seems to establish
a convention, but is really just part of the title bar.

I also find the original question interesting, as the normal excuse
on this list for heavy use of scripts and images is that the blind
can afford IE aware screen readers.

I'd tend to say that the right approach is to use a screen reader
for people with poor literacy.

> http://www.usmint.gov/faqs/circulating_coins/index.cfm?action=coins
                                                        ^^^^^^^^^^^^^
This, by forcing static pages to be treated as dynamic is simply
a waste of web resources.

The animated icons don't aid navigation, as you have already reached
the page.  They don't provide an alternative to the text, and in some
cases (e.g. washing machine) are almost visual puns, requiring the
user to be reasonably good at understanding metaphors.

The icons don't cover everything that is in the text.  E.g. you have
inspection but not sizing.

I can't decipher the "upsetting mill" even with reference to the text.

I assume the flame is the annealing, not the drying.  It took me a long
time to work out that the halo was a coin.  Annealing is rather a technical
term that needs explaining or replacing with a summary of its effect.

In the blanking image, the coins seem to be being formed from the punches,
not the sheet.

The counter icon is animated too fast; I suspect that someone who needed
it as their prime input might not follow what is happening.

Generally, I'd consider that the images here are used purely to
break up the text and make it look less serious.  That's the same
way as most commercial sites.  I think they may even confuse understanding.

Pallet is not a word that I knew as a small child even though I had
a good reading age - generally the reading age of the text seems
incompatible with someone with poor language skills.

The page has a serious structural error, in that a script precedes the 
DOCTYPE.

You've got a class called SectionHeader.  What is this but <Hn>!  To add
insult to injury, you then proceed to use presentational markup, rather
than using the class to access the style sheet, which is strange given that
you rely entirely on the style sheet for the background colour (or assume
the IE default colour scheme).

You have a smaller than average font set with an absolute size (10pt).

I believe that lower case is easier for learning readers to read, but
your text as graphics is all upper case.

<BR> doesn't mean what you (and probably your browser) think it means.
</BR> does not exist at all - an obvious typo, but it confuses some
versions of Lynx.

The page has the same title as the home page.

## In my view, one of the problems with heavily designed pages is that
you need a lot of experience of the web (or a lot of waving of the
mouse around) just to work out how to identify which features of a page
are links.  In my view, icons will only help here if they are taken from
a very small set of standard icons, not invented or customised by every
designer (and possibly for each of their clients).
Received on Thursday, 17 May 2001 20:13:33 GMT

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