Hash Tag a11y
One Social Media topic that is near and dear to my heart is Social Media Accessibility (Accessibility in general). #a11y
As an Assistive Technologist and a person with a disability accessibility is important to me for work (I and the clients I work with) and every other aspect of my life.
Working in the Centre for Students with Disabilities has given me hands on experience with accessibility success and challenges. Out of close 20,000 full time students at Algonquin College my department works with over ten percent of the students.. I am not sure that the college population reflects Canada’s or the World’s population but here more than 1 in 10 students have identified as having a disability. Surprising? I have heard the stat – 15% of Ontario’s population has a disability.
I am not trying to build a business case for accessibility (many other people have already done that – The business case for accessibility – MaRS Best Practices – This is a really interesting video). I want to explore Social Media and Accessibility, the barriers, some of the popular solutions.
Because of the nature of technology and Social Media this could be a perpetual stream of Blogs, as new technologies are used new problems are found, new ways to use tools emerge, tips, tricks and solutions eventually emerge etc.
I am not interested in going on a rant about specific accessibility compliance laws, rules and guidelines but may mention them or parts of them from time to time.
Some important accessibility guidelines:
AODA – Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act
What is a disability
Sounds like a simple question and it can. The Ontario Human Rights Code (one of the many layers of law that apply to my workspace and where I live) says.
“Ontario’s Human Rights Code
The Ontario Human Rights Code (the Code) provides for equal rights and opportunities, and freedom from discrimination. The Code recognizes the dignity and worth of every person in Ontario. It applies to the areas of employment, housing, facilities and services, contracts, and membership in unions, trade or professional associations.”
– See more at: http://www.ohrc.on.ca/en/disability-and-human-rights-brochure#sthash.jM2UaZAo.dpuf
What does accessibility mean to Social Media
I like to think of this question in terms of the WCAG standards
- Provide text alternatives for non-text content.
- Provide captions and other alternatives for multimedia.
- Create content that can be presented in different ways, including by assistive technologies, without losing meaning.
- Make it easier for users to see and hear content.
- Make all functionality available from a keyboard.
- Give users enough time to read and use content.
- Do not use content that causes seizures.
- Help users navigate and find content.
- Make text readable and understandable.
- Make content appear and operate in predictable ways.
- Help users avoid and correct mistakes.
- Maximize compatibility with current and future user tools.
WCAG 2.0 Theme Song Web Content Accessibility Guidelines
These standards address electronic information which seems to cover all aspects of modern Social Media.
Questions to explore next time
- What are Social Media access barriers?
- Possible solutions to the barriers – content format, delivery technology, etc.
Social Media Accessibility Awareness
If one person becomes aware of this issue because of this post than the post is a success.
Accessibility starts with awareness and although the idea is not new it is news to a lot of people.
Are you thinking of Social Media Accessibility?
Is this the first time you’ve heard of the idea?