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December 2015

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Designing for Mobile and Accessibility

Designing for Mobile and Accessibility

Making websites accessible for people with disabilities is an integral part of high quality websites (in some cases, it's a legal requirement!).

As a designer at Focus, that's a big responsibility. It's easy to get overwhelmed by all the things to consider when designing for accessibility. I'm an active member of the web accessibility community in Bristol and often attend presentations that can get very technical and propel me far from the safety of my design knowledge. It's at this point that I call on a skill I've had my whole life: empathy. An important thing to remember is that accessibility is about understanding people and the barriers that they face.

Many of the barriers people with disabilities are faced with, also effect people using mobile devices when interacting with web content. Some examples of this include the fact that mobile phone users will struggle if a website's navigation requires the use of a mouse. Similarly, desktop computer users with a motor disability will have a hard time using a website if they can't use a mouse.

Some shared experiences are comparable to temporary disability; If you need to use your mobile to access a website when you're at a concert, the noise that surrounds you likely means you are experiencing the website similar to how a deaf person would. Equally you may struggle reading small text as those with low vision do with most text. The iPhone is less than 10% of a typical desktop screen. 'Fat fingers' denying you all accuracy could equate to difficulties faced by those with hand tremors. A 40 pixel finger is big on a small target! Mobile is disabling for everyone.

There are guidelines to help you keep accessibility in mind, such as the BBC's mobile accessibility guidelines and of course Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0

Getting your own experience of accessibility helps you to put yourself in the shoes of others and keep accessibility in mind when building and testing your website.

So next time you wonder whether a design feature is accessible and immediately rely on tools such as a colour contrast checker, first consider disabilities of all levels and the struggles faced by others and maybe even yourself . Surely I'm not the only one who's complained of 'fat fingers'?


Jordana Jeffrey

Created on Thursday December 24 2015 10:24 AM

Tags: accessibility webdesign

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Christmas 2015 Office Closure

After a record breaking year, the Focus team deserve a bit of time to put their feet up.....

So our office is closing from 12pm on Christmas Eve and will remain closed until 9am on Monday January 4th 2016.

We are running our emergency support email address:

This email address should only be used for business critical emergencies and whilst we can't guarantee any response times, we'll do our best to monitor incoming emails.

All that's left is to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas from the entire Focus team, we look forward to catching up in the new year.

Neil Smith

Created on Wednesday December 23 2015 12:27 PM


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In focus: 2015 reviewed

Apart from Noddy Holder, nothing shouts "Christmas" like an end of year review; so when Jordana asked if I preferred the 'snowman' or 'reindeer' themed version of the Focus logo, I knew it was time to start looking back over the last twelve months.

The headlines make impressive reading. The Focus team has expanded; we have welcomed lots of new clients on board; our work for local authorities has gained significant national recognition; and our accountant is very happy, as 2015 has seen revenue up approximately 60% on the previous year. It's been a record breaking year for Focus in many ways; and by far our most successful trading year since we started in a small kitchen in Redland in 1996.

Success has come quickly and we are open and honest enough to admit there has been the odd hiccup. We have certainly learned some lessons along the way.

Jenny, Stefano and Jon have all joined the team during the year. Jenny has raised our profile within local government and led our presentations and workshops at the NAFIS 2015 Conference in London. With his years of web development experience, Stefano has bought a measured and calm presence to the studio and I'm sure Jon won't mind me describing him as akin to a Jack Russell - whipping through work and nipping at our heels for more.

It's been fantastic to welcome lots of new clients to Focus. We've built new software for Alive Activities, who do great work to improve the lives of older people in care. We've launched a new web site for KDVI - global suppliers of management and leadership coaching - and there's lots more work with the KDVI team lined up next year. We've been busy automating processes and improving communication 'behind the scenes' at Barriers Direct which has helped them achieve their most successful trading year in history. And with our good friends at the Watershed we launched Rife Guide - Bristol's newest guide to events and activities for young people.

We have also had the opportunity to see the impact that our work has had. In the summer we met parents and young people at the launch of the SEND Local Offer for the London Boroughs of Kingston and Richmond, where as well as chomping through several ice creams we met the SEND Champions, a group of young people who have been contributing videos, blogs and other content for the site. October saw Annette and Simon make the trip north to help Hartlepool Borough Council officially launch Hartlepool Now, a web site based around duties from The Care Act 2014. The Borough Council's Chief Executive Gill Alexander said the web site 'put Hartlepool far ahead of other local authorities' when it came to information and advice around social care.

October also saw the Department of Education note our work for the SEND Local Offer as a 'benchmark'. Cue lots of high fives in the office that day.

We passed our annual ISO audit with thumbs raised and flying colours. Our only 'area for improvement' noted centered around MD Simon's induction documentation - a week on the naughty step for him followed.

All in all it's been frantic, a little edge of seat at times, but great fun and the team at Focus should really grab a moment to step forward on the stage, and take a quick bow.

And so what's next? 2016 is going to be based around two key phrases for us: innovation and impact. It's going to be worth keeping an eye out for and we're looking forward to getting stuck in.

In the meantime, a massive thank you to all our clients for their continued support and custom, we hope you all have a restful break over the festive period and look forward to putting the world to rights in 2016.

Merry Christmas to everyone from the entire team at Focus.

Simon Newing

Created on Tuesday December 22 2015 03:24 PM


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Meet Jon, our newest team member

We are chuffed to shout a big, if slightly delayed, hello to Jon Wait, who joined the technical team at Focus in October.

Jon graduated from UWE with first class honours in Multimedia Computing and brings a solid background in a wide range of web technologies including HTML5, CSS3, SASS, JQuery and Responsive Design.

He's already got stuck into several projects including new sites for Bristol Balloons, BrunelCare and Hartlepool Borough Council.

Jon's interests away from the office include exploring the Far East and its language and culture.

Neil Smith

Created on Tuesday December 15 2015 12:54 PM


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