Inclusive New Media Design

including people with intellectual disabilities in the WWW

Nothing about accessibility at AnEventApart 2009?

I recently attended new-window-brown-miniAnEventApart (AEA) in Chicago. AEA, spin-off of new-window-brown-mini AListApart (‘for people who make websites’) and baby of the two founding fathers / gods / gurus of standards-based web design, new-window-brown-mini Jeffrey Zeldman and new-window-brown-mini Eric Meyer, fields a higher class speaker than your average web design event. This year’s bunch included Zeldman and Meyer themselves, and others known to have something of substance to say, like new-window-brown-mini Andy Clarke and new-window-brown-mini Dan Cederholm. Lesser known but nonetheless making an impact were new-window-brown-mini Whitney Hess on users,
new-window-brown-mini Kristina Halvorson on content, and new-window-brown-mini Luke Wroblewski’s entertaining and eye-opening talk on the many, many, many things you can get wrong in web form design.

No session on accessibility, though.

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What did we find out on INMD?

You can download a summary or full version of our INMD report as pdf files by clicking on the links below. Below them is a summary of what we found.

summary of INMD report

full INMD report

As a result of engaging in INMD, all participants took action in relation to ID inclusion, passed on what they had learnt to others, or planned future action. The kinds of action taken include: adapting use of imagery to support text; using large fonts and simple text; re-checking previous work for ID accessibility; passing on information at work, or through blogs. Thus INMD succeeded in contributing to the inclusion of people with ID in the WWW, but mainly for people at the mild end of the ID spectrum. Participants recognized that adaptations for this audience – such as simple text, nice graphics, simple choices and a clear message – could widen and benefit all audiences. In contrast, accessibility measures for people with severe or profound ID may be intrusive to non-disabled audiences. Consequently, participants acknowledged that it would be less likely that they would attend to these audiences’ needs in their future work.

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