May 15th, 2013 by MDTAP Blog
Most types of form elements (text boxes, text areas, checkboxes, radio buttons, etc.) have a text label adjacent to them that identifies the function of that particular form element (e.g., “First name” adjacent to a text box). Sighted users make a visual associate between a label and its corresponding form element based on proximity and positioning. A user who is blind cannot make this visual association, so the label must be programmatically associated with its form element using the HTML <label> tag. When properly associated, a screen reader will read the text label when it encounters the form element.
<label for=”fname”>First name:</label> <input type=”text” id=”fname”>
For more information, see Creating Accessible Forms
May 14th, 2013 by MDTAP Blog
Prizmo Rides Again
Contributed by Joel Zimba, Technology Outreach Specialist, MDTAP
A few weeks ago, I discussed the Prizmo OCR application for the Mac. In the last few days, there has been a significant update to the Prizmo app for iOS. Prizmo sports a new look and feel. It’s simpler to use and is extremely accessible.
There are also some accessibility specific features which make Prizmo particularly handy. Level detection has been implemented. After clicking the “take picture” button, a series of two tones plays. These correspond to the left and right tilt of the camera. By bringing these two tones into tune, the camera becomes level. When Prizmo decided I was finally level, the shutter click noise played, which I was not expecting.
Also, the “page detection” feature is particularly useful to blind users. Spoken directions are given which help to bring the full page into view. When the page is more or less in the camera’s field, Prizmo says it is ready to take the picture.
One last feature of Prizmo is the “quick View.” Rather than creating a document every time something is scanned, the Quick View will not store the results unless you want to save them. I found this especially handy when figuring out how best to scan a specific page or sorting through documents I had no interest in scanning but wanted to identify.
Just as with other hand-held OCR devices, Prizmo will require practice. In a few short minutes, I was able to identify documents and extract much useful information. If anything could be improved, it would be the addition of a system for bringing the page more into focus. An example of this would the something akin to the KNFB Mobile method of speaking how much of the field of view is filled with the page.
The makers of Prizmo have done a great job, and I commend them on their dedication to making their product accessible and more useful generally to the blind community. There are many other great features in Prizmo. To date, it is the most powerful iPhone-based OCR application I have used.
May 13th, 2013 by MDTAP Blog
May is Better Hearing and Speech Month and we’re happy to share some key links from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA):
Hearing and Speech Resources
Hearing aids, cochlear implants and assistive technology
Assistive Listening Technology
May 9th, 2013 by MDTAP Blog
Job Accommodation Network
If you’re not already familiar with the Job Accommodation Network ,(JAN) is the leading source of free, expert, and confidential guidance on workplace accommodations and disability employment issues. Working toward practical solutions that benefit both employer and employee, JAN helps people with disabilities enhance their employability, and shows employers how to capitalize on the value and talent that people with disabilities add to the workplace.
With information specific to employers, individuals and service providers, there’s a wealth of resources pertaining to workplace accommodations, rights, responsibilities and more.
May 8th, 2013 by MDTAP Blog
Conveying Information Using Color Alone
Avoid using color or other stylistic differences as the only means of conveying information or meaning. Blind users do not care about the color, font size, or styling of text, so long as the visual aspects of that text are not used to convey content. Screen readers generally do not present stylistic information to the end user. Users with certain types of color deficiencies (color blindness) may not be able to differentiate certain color combinations. Users with low vision may override page colors. Each of these may have difficulty differentiating content based on color alone. The following relies on color to convey information:
The green mushrooms listed here are OK to eat. The red mushrooms will kill you.
This can be made accessible by simply creating two lists – one for mushrooms that OK to eat and one for mushrooms that will kill you.