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Accessibility User Testing

Instead of conducting accessibility testing with users with disabilities (asking users to identify accessibility issues), it is almost always more effective to do usability testing (asking users to evaluate overall usability) with users with disabilities. While accessibility testing can be used to identify instances of accessibility – poor alt text here and a missing label there, fixing all significant instances of inaccessibility and non-compliance still might result in a poor experience for users with disabilities. Basic user testing that includes users with disabilities has a focus on the broader user experience with a site, yet still can identify specific accessibility issues. User testing with individuals with disabilities should be part of a broader testing plan that involves compliance checklists, automated tests, manual testing, and assistive technology testing.

Read Articles With Speaky

Contributed by Joel Zimba, Special Projects Coordinator, MDTAP

Speaky is a simple, yet highly effective app which allows you to quickly add articles and have them read aloud.  By supplying the link to an article, Speaky processes the content and reads the text using the available speech engines from iOS.

Much like Pocket, which can source articles to Speaky, only the content of an article itself is read.  A complex website is stripped from the link, so only the document itself is read.  For example, a link from the Baltimore Sun has all of the webpage navigation and advertising removed.  This is a great way to skip having to navigate through a complicated website in order to just read an article.

Another great feature of Speaky is the ability to bring in documents from Pocket.  Many applications have an option for sending to Pocket, or you can forward the link to a Pocket email address which will magically add documents in the background.

Currently, Pocket is free.  Grab it while it’s hot.


The Maryland Interagency Transition Council is now on Twitter! And Facebook too!

Stay current on all the latest news related to students with disabilities, college preparedness and the transition process!

 Follow us on Twitter @MDIATC

Link Type Indicators

It is a good idea to inform users when a link goes to non-HTML content (such as a PDF file or Word document). It can be frustrating to activate a link and then realize that the link requires an external program or viewer. An icon (with appropriate alternative text) or text, such as “(PDF)”, is sufficient. Because screen reader users commonly navigate by links, it is vital that the link type indicator icon or text be placed within the link, otherwise this information is readily available to sighted users, but not presented in the context of the link for screen reader users.

The National Library Service (NLS) and the US Bureau of Engraving and Printing are now offering a free money identifier, the iBill, to all who qualify for the NLS. Check out our review of the iBill on our YouTube station, and let us know what you think!


Get ready to celebrate the 24th Anniversary of the ADA on July 26, 2014 by downloading the ADA 24th Anniversary Tool Kit from www.adaanniversary.org. The Tool Kit has everything you’ll need to join cities and towns across the United States as they hold events honoring the ADA during the week of July 21-18, 2014.  The Tool Kit contains a sample Proclamation; background and history on the ADA; monthly themes; news; disability statistics; case law updates; information about the Supreme Court’s July 1999 Olmstead Decision prohibiting the unnecessary institutionalization of persons with disabilities; and other resources on the ADA – publications, events, videos, training.  Download the Tool Kit now at www.adaanniversary.org.

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