Thing to learn about: accessibility

This tweet reminded me of a story and by extension, an interest.

After we got our first computer in 1993, my dad felt that I was spending too much time playing on it and resolved to prevent me from using it unsupervised. He began by taking the power cord with him to work, but I quickly discovered that any number of other power cords around the house could be subbed in. He then would lock the keyboard (anybody else remember those?), but I figured out how to pick it. Then he took the mouse. Not to be fazed, I quickly learned how to do just about everything with the keyboard, from entering “win” to playing Solitaire.

Eventually I was figured out, and he took the keyboard instead, which defeated me. It’s just about impossible to get very far with just a mouse on the computer. To this day, though, I still use the keyboard to navigate quite often. Call it a habit. There are some things that I find to be more difficult on a Mac than it was on Windows (home and end keys come to mind), but perhaps eventually I’ll adjust.

All of this reminds me that I don’t know nearly enough about accessibility on the web and that I want to learn more. One of the things I’d really like to push in for WordPress 3.4 is the pulling out of color schemes (currently just blue in core) into plugins, and then to get a high contrast theme in as a canonical plugin, maybe with an XL option/variant. To do this, I’ll need to learn about guidelines for contrast levels and consider font and click target sizes, along with what I’m sure are plenty of other things I don’t even know about. I’ve also resolved to see what I can do to learn more about screen readers and try using keyboard navigation more often in the WordPress admin. Should be good for me, especially since I’m attempting to also ease into Dvorak as of yesterday.

Note: upon trying to publish this post, I realized that I have no idea how or if I can do so with just the keyboard. Already frustrated!

3 responses to “Thing to learn about: accessibility”

  1. Jennison Asuncion Avatar

    Just came across your blog post. Glad that my tweet has inspired an interest in accessibility. Feel free to get in touch if I can answer questions.

  2. Martin Courcelles Avatar
    Martin Courcelles

    I would suggest starting with NVDA:
    It’s a free screen reader which functions very well.

  3. Martin Courcelles Avatar
    Martin Courcelles

    I just realized you mentioned the Mac in your entry. You can turn on voiceOver on the Mac by pressing command+F5.

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