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Dyslexia friendly websites, are you thinking of the 10%?

Dyslexia friendly websites, are you thinking of the 10%?

Lately I have been thinking, if 10% (6.68 million) of the UK population are dyslexic why is making a website dyslexia friendly not as important as providing a site in different languages?

Dyslexia awareness has come a long way since I was a child, I remember being told “you’re just a bit stupid” when I struggled in school, as society’s awareness increases,  I can see that those days are far behind us. Dyslexia affects a persons ability to learn, read, and spell, but it’s not related to intelligence, and charities such as http://madebydyslexia.org/, backed by Richard Branson, have done a great job at promoting and changing public perception.

What’s the problem?
One of the most common traits of people with dyslexia is difficulty reading. Dyslexics read at an average of 50 - 150 words per a minute, the average reading speed of a non-dyslexic is 250 words per minute. There are interactive examples, such as Dan Britton’s typeface that let you experience what reading is like for someone with dyslexia. 

Whether you have an Ecommerce site or a wiki, you want everybody to find it easy to read the content you provide.

What can be done? A few simple steps:
 
Fonts
Research from Dyslexia Help has found that there are certain font types that have an impact on reading speeds for people with dyslexia. A font has been specially developed called ‘OpenDyslexic’ to give optimum reading speed. Although this is down to the preference of the user, some of the best fonts for an increase in reading speed are Helvetica, Courier, Arial, Verdana, CMU, Sans Serif, Monospaced, and Roman Font.

Colours
When it comes to colour, contrast is an important factor for a dyslexic. Generally, people with dyslexia find it difficult to read with high contrast levels and read faster when contrast levels are lower. The standard black text on a white background is not beneficial to people with dyslexia as it can appear too dazzling. Off-whites and pastel colours are generally a good alternative to white and offer a lower contrast.

Icons / Pictures
The phrase; ”a picture paints a thousand words” can most definitely be applied to a dyslexia friendly website. Pictures and icons are a dyslexic's best friend, if you can you use an icon in place of text then this can drastically reduce the time that a dyslexic user spends trying to work out what it is on the page.

Time
In school exams dyslexics are given 25% extra time. Therefore it’s good practice to apply the same rule to moving elements on your site, such as carousels, so that they have time to read and process the content.

These are just some small, simple changes - but there is far more that can be done, just check out the British Dyslexia Association for a full style guide.

Resources:
https://cdn.bdadyslexia.org.uk/documents/Advice/style-guide/Dyslexia_Style_Guide_2018-final-1.pdf?mtime=20190409173949

Dan Stephenson
Dan

Created on Thursday July 04 2019 12:05 PM


Tags: website accessibility disability content contentstrategy screenreader webdesign


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How Web Accessibility can help your business

How Web Accessibility can help your business

Time is money for you business folk so let's answer this quickly and efficently: What is accessibility?

It's designing and developing your website so that people with disabilities can perceive, understand, navigate, interact with and contribute to the web. It's providing the same functionality and experience to users with disabilities as those without.

Disabilities come in many forms, so to break it down for you, these are:

Visual

Blind or low vision users that are potentially using screen readers, screen magnification or even a braille display.

Auditory

Deaf or hard of hearing that may require closed or open captions or transcripts for all of the rich, multimedia content that exists such as audio files or video files.

Ambulatory / motor skills

People with difficulties or inability to use a mouse, that may only be using a keyboard to navigate the website. Or possibly even speech to text software.

Cognitive

People with learning disabilities or the inability to remember or focus on large amounts of information. They may rely on thoughtful layout. They may also be using an array of the previously mentioned technologies.

 

Web content needs to be made available to the senses, sight, hearing and/or touch. Get accessibility right and it can better your business by:

- Improving your brand reputation

- Helping to meet the needs of a constantly evolving market

- Increasing Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

- Improving use across mobile devices and tablets

- Reducing your litigation risks

 

The most obvious financial benefit to building accessible websites and web apps comes from the increased market, the more people you can connect with through your website, the more of your content is being consumed. Resulting in more clients, customers, subscribers, and those seeking your services.

Also, who doesn't like to save money? Well that's what web accessibility may do for you too. Some companies have reported noticeable cost savings in the form of lower maintenance costs, a reduced requirement to provide web alternatives, and even in avoiding expensive legal fees and fines.

Financial benefits are of course a driver to make your site accessible but more importantly, we should all be working towards making the web a hospitable place for everyone, whatever their abilities.

Jordana Jeffrey
Jordana

Created on Friday April 15 2016 09:15 AM


Tags: accessibility disability business


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WECIL Conference Direct Payments and Employing PAs

WECIL Conference  Direct Payments and Employing PAs

After some deliberation, Annette and I decided that two laptops AND an ipad between us definitely wasn’t technology overkill, so we headed off for the BAWA Centre in Filton – the venue for the WECIL conference 2015. The subject of the day was Direct Payments and employing Personal Assistants; an area of Adult Social Care that we both felt we would benefit from learning more about.

We arrived nice and early and set up our stand, right next door to Well Aware and not too far from the tea and coffee. The room filled up and Claire Charras (WECIL's Online Systems Project Developer and friend of Focus) welcomed delegates, following up with an introduction to My Support – a new online PA matching registration service.

Keynote speaker Alex Fox CEO of Shared Lives Plus was up next and spoke about the changes around Direct Payments and the potential effects of these changes; his thoughts on the importance of tackling isolation through Community engagement really struck a chord. SLP appears to take a different approach to Social Care which poses the question - when considering wellbeing, do we need to think less about how much money is needed and more about how much Community is needed? Certainly food for thought!

Throughout the day we had lots visitors to our stand and plenty of interest in ‘what on earth we do’…. perhaps we needed to rethink our banner (!) Once we got over any initial confusion the feedback on our websites was excellent; everyone seemed to engage with the concept of our solutions and had lots of questions for us. We took the opportunity to give demonstrations to on-lookers and hopefully raised awareness of the exciting work going on at Focus.

I think everyone in attendance would agree that the day was an all round success and we came away with an enhanced understanding of the changes heralded by the Care Act 2014. The team at Focus would like to say a big thank you to WECIL and to Claire in particular for inviting us along - we look forward to seeing you all again soon!




Accessibility at the BBC

Accessibility at the BBC

Thankfully the sweatband and spandex was entirely optional when accepting my role as 'Accessibility Champion' for Focus.
I attempted to earn that title by heading along to a well delivered talk from Ian Pouncey - the BBC's Senior Accessibility Specialist (pictured). I had to start somewhere and rumour has it the BBC just might know what they're talking about!

With genuine enthusiasm, Ian talked us through how accessibility is embedded in to the process of delivering websites and applications at the BBC, covering standards, training, philosophy, and organisation.

They've got great training available at the BBC but unfortunately for those of us outside of the 'circle' it's all in-house. I was hoping some of you superbly knowledgable readers might know of any courses available to the public that are similar to these that the BBC have for their team:

- Accessibility for web developers (on-line course, 2 hours)
- Introduction to screen readers (1 day course)

In return I give you my discovery; web aim's colour contrast checker http://webaim.org/resources/contrastchecker/ - da daaaa! It's amazing, simply select the colours you wish to combine and they'll let you know whether they pass or fail accessibility standards.

But back to the BBC, I was surprised to hear that their accessibility team only consists of three members. That didn't make me furrow my brow as much as this did though: 'The BBC are exempt from the accessibility law… providing they exceed the requirements'. I'll leave you alone for a minute with that one!

For a while now there has been an awareness of accessibility and even an understanding of how it works, but many are still unsure as to why it is so important to consider accessibility right from the start of the design process.
These words from Tony Hall (BBC DIrector, 2013) answer that quite simply: "Everybody deserves the best" - we should all remember that. Everybody deserves the same level of consideration. I must confess there was a time when I felt making a website accessible would negatively affect the visual appeal of my design but there is no reason why the two can't go together. Yes, it makes it more challenging but that's all part of the fun and even the ultimate world-saving Champion 'Superman!' came up against a little Kryptonite now and then.

With great power comes great responsibility! Maybe I'm letting this whole 'Champion' thing get to my head but seriously Ian strongly advises companies to nominate a Champion and stressed the importance of such a role. This includes networking, extending reach and spreading knowledge within the company. It's not just for developers and you don't have to be an expert already.

Muhammad Ali started training at the age of 12 to become one of the greatest heavyweights in sport's history. I'm about 20 years late for that kind of a start but I can still be a champion in the accessibility ring!

Jordana Jeffrey
Jordana

Created on Friday February 27 2015 11:31 AM


Tags: web-design focus disability onlinetool


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Accessibility & The Web

Accessibility & The Web

Sure, I was hungry but I wasn't just there for the sandwiches. When I heard Accessible Bristol was hosting an event for anyone interested in the web and accessibility, I saw it as an opportunity to ensure our clients get what they want. Here at Focus we work with a lot of local authorities and for websites such as theirs, accessibility is key.

I was keen to hear from one of the most recognisable and respected people in the web accessibility industry; Steve Faulkner (pictured). An enthusiastic man who has dedicated 15 years to web accessibility. In 2001 he started his career with vision Australia. Today he has kept his accent and is Principal Accessibility Engineer at The Paciello Group as well as being co-editor of the W3C HTML5 specification, and a contributor to other specifications including Accessible Rich Internet Applications (ARIA).

Sitting excitedly in the front row I was pleasantly surprised when the casually dressed, relaxed man sat amongst us took to the stage. This immediately likeable character delivered a highly knowledgeable presentation and although it was very much focused at developers rather than designers such as myself, I still felt included despite being somewhat outnumbered by the 'techies' in the audience.

Steve went through an alphabet themed slideshow; A is for ARIA, B is for Button, C is for Canvas and so on (view slides). Admittedly it was like learning a new language but I always strive to be a better designer, and if learning 'techie talk' and understanding ways I can work more in sync with the development team will help towards that, then count me in.

Once the sandwiches were scoffed and the slideshow slowed to a stop, it was question time. I plucked up the courage to ask a design focused question and felt all eyes on me, then a few more of us admitted to being in the design 'camp' and conversation started to flow. Talk ranged from not knowing where to begin with a blank canvas, to a woman with dyslexia and dyspraxia expressing her frustration when surfing the net.

When it all came to an end, the message that stood out for me as a designer was this;
“Think about accessibility first and foremost, because if you get it right for disabled people, you get it right for everyone.”

If you would like to know more about accessibility, Steve recommended the website http://webaim.org. On there you can find a simple checklist that presents Webaim's recommendations for implementing HTML-related principles and techniques: http://webaim.org/standards/wcag/checklist

You can keep up to date with all Steve has to share by following him over on Twitter @stevefaulkner

Jordana Jeffrey
Jordana

Created on Wednesday January 28 2015 12:09 AM


Tags: web-development accessibility web-design userexperience disability


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Findability Bristol goes Mobile!

Findability Bristol goes Mobile!

Another go-live during our busy Summer was the dedicated Mobile site for Findability Bristol, an online directory for disabled children and their families.

Since the main site went live back in March 2012, we're been monitoring the Analytics, and seen a month-on-month increase in visits from Mobile devices. The figures spoke for themselves - a 481% increase in Mobile visitors in May this year compared to May 2012 - and it was only increasing. This, along with a need by the Family Information Services team at Bristol City Council to make information available and accessible to as many families as they can, made the case for developing a dedicated Mobile site a compelling one.

Key figures:

  • The number of visits made using a mobile device had almost tripled compared to the first 6 months of launch.
  • A 21% drop in pages-per-visit suggests people have grown to expect websites to be mobile compatible - and are losing patience with those that aren't.
  • The average visit duration when accessing via a mobile device had dropped to less than a minute.
  • Almost a 10% increase in new visits being made using a mobile device.
  • 14.36% rise in bounce rate suggests users are getting increasingly deterred as soon as they see the site is incompatible with mobile.

So, we set about developing an easy-to-use site that kept the fundamental features of the desktop version, plus a couple of extras to make full use of the mobile environment - for example, smart phone users who have geolocation enabled, this plots your location and the nearest organisations to you from your search!

Key features:

  • The mobile home page features clear navigation to key area, plus keyword and location search of organisations and events.
  • Search results are displayed along with a Google Map - this links through to view full Google Map and associated functionality - including "show me directions from my current location".
  • The events calendar provides users with a menu offering 'view events for current week' - organised by today, tomorrow, remaining days of that week.
  • Clicking a specific event takes the user through to an individual page for that event, including a Google Map.
  • It's also easy to make contact, provide feedback, and visit the related Facebook (mobile) page.

It's only been a couple of weeks since go live, so we'll be keen to view the analytics in due course and report back on the difference having the dedicated Mobile site has made. We hope this will be more returning visitors, who spend the right amount of time on the right pages, finding what they need quickly and easily.

We'll report back later in the year!

Visit the Desktop site, or the Mobile site (using your mobile for the best experience!)

If you'd like to know more about dedicated Mobile sites, please get in touch.

Annette Ryske
Annette

Created on Tuesday August 06 2013 12:07 PM


Tags: accessibility bristol young-people online-tool iphone disability children mobilewebsite


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Proud re-launch for WECIL

Proud re-launch for WECIL

I caught up with WECIL in the Summer to find out more about their exciting rebrand - how could we apply this to their web site to not only bring it up to date visually, but also bring it more in line with the organisation's needs and objectives? With much of their offline materials already rebranded, WECIL were very keen to get their online presence sorted ASAP!

As a team, we went through the existing site and identified key areas that needed to remain in the new build, and other features to be either removed altogether, or reorganised into different areas.

Suggestions were made for some new features, which were considered against WECIL's available budget. Finally a specification was drawn up and agreed, and we started work on the design. Working with the new WECIL brand guidelines, we soon had page templates created for a home page and inside page templates; along with visuals for new features such as the Events Calendar and YouTube integration. The site needed to be engaging, visually attractive, and accessible. It also needed to provide multiple areas for updated information, to really demonstrate how active WECIL are in their projects and activities.

So as build progressed, the Events Calendar was key - WECIL hold a good number of useful, informative and fun events and needed to demonstrate this to their service users. Users can search by keywords, regions and even different Types of event - all of which WECIL can add to as time goes on. And not only that, but should a particular event be of interest, you can have the calendar email you with a reminder. Handy!

One specific change was the presentation of WECIL's key projects and research work - moving these into a Resources area has meant that although still readily available, the details are not in the way of more current areas of the site such as how to Get Involved, and the Events Calendar.

Feeds from their Twitter and Facebook accounts also feature, with regular updates from WECIL; plus a suite of visual signposts, to reinforce key areas and link directly to them.

WECIL are also benefitting from an upgrade to the latest version of Quantum - our bespoke, Rails based content management and administration system - giving their team a much easier interface to work with including access to the new modules such as the Calendar and Slideshow Feature Box on the homepage.
 They have admin access to update most of the site themselves, which means independance and control for them - but of course we're here to help when they need it!

Over the coming months, we'll keep a close eye on Google Analytics, noting areas of the site which are popular, not so popular, and how users are interacting. We'll work with WECIL to ensure we're getting the most of out the site for them, and make recommendations for updates or additions as they become relevant. Big thanks to the team at WECIL for making this a really smooth and enjoyable project to work on! You can visit the new site here.


"Can I offer our compliments on the site; it looks really good and you have dealt with us with the utmost professionalism and interpreted our requirements perfectly."

Janice Saunders
Resources Manager

WECIL
 

Annette Ryske
Annette

Created on Friday November 23 2012 04:54 PM


Tags: website charity new-web-site youtube analytics quantum launch disability wecil


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Fab new site for Findability Bristol

Fab new site for Findability Bristol

Last week we proudly launched a great new site for Findability Bristol. It’s an online directory for disabled children and their families, offering information about services, organisations and events in Bristol.

We’ve loved working on the site with the Findability team, and especially enjoyed developing some of its more engaging features, including:
•  Changing home page image every time you visit
•  Advanced search, enabling postcode and category filters
•  Scrolling events calendar
•  Site accessibility features such as Text Resize and Text Only
•  Blog – enabling the Findability team to keep in touch with users.

Findability is a Bristol-based portal site for 1Big Database, an online community database we set up for Bristol, Bath & North East Somerset and South Gloucestershire back in 2004.  Findability filters data from 1BD for it’s relevance to disability, and reflects this in the results it shows to the user. It’s an ongoing project, relying on the listees’ details being updated regularly and accurately, therefore providing better and more relevant results for users as time goes on.

We’re delighted to have been a part of such a worthwhile project, and would thank the partnership involved:
• 1Big Database (Bristol City Council, Bath & North East Somerset   Council, South Gloucestershire Council)
•  Bristol Parent Carers
•  BCC Disability Communications Group.

Check out the site here!

Annette Ryske
Annette

Created on Tuesday March 13 2012 10:10 AM


Tags: website accessibility bristol disability


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