Robin Christopherson - Accessibility in Web Design

A talk I attended at this years Future of Web Apps conference

Robin Christopherson works at Abilitynet and gave an excellent talk last year at FOWA Dublin 2009 about some of the traps to avoid to keep your website accessible to all.

This year he was talking about pretty much exactly the same thing, which would be annoying only the need for accessible websites hasn’t went away and people are still making the same mistakes.

I won’t go through every example he gave but here are some of the important notes I took from his talk entitled Accessibility in Web Design.

  • Adobe Flash is getting more accessible but a lot of the older sites are still completely out of reach.
  • Youtube is in the process of moving to HTML5, whilst it is still using flash it is unaccessible.
  • Chrome currently doesn’t play well with screen readers.
  • Google allows you to add captions in Youtube videos really really easily, this would really improve the experience of video for people who are hard of hearing.
  • Lots of mobile websites such as are very accessible because they need to be for mobile devices.

One really cool thing I learned was that Opera Mini as a force single column mode, I have been a user of Opera Mini for ages and didn’t know about this, one setting change and my experience on most websites using that browser has improved dramatically, vertical scrolling is eliminated.

Robin talked about Project Canvas, the following snippet is from their website and it seems like an interesting an worthwhile project.

Project Canvas is a proposed partnership between the BBC, ITV, C4, Five, BT and Talk Talk to build an open internet-connected TV platform, subject to BBC Trust approval.

Finally here are a few links he shared with us;

He mentioned some really valuable stuff and it was a very enjoyable presentation.

If you’re interested in making your website more accessible, I’ve shared some free tools to improve your website.

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