Left thumb blogging

Glenda Watson-Hyatt writes a blog that discusses Web accessibility (among other things). With her left thumb.

Glenda has cerebral palsy.

I discovered Glenda in a Box of Chocolates. She was visiting Derek Featherstone’s site on her virtual book tour (excellent creative idea), and Derek posed four questions to her. Here is one of them:

We all know that web accessibility for people with disabilities is much, much more than making sites work for screen readers. What parts of using the web are most difficult for you? Can you give us two or three things that we can do to make using sites easier for you?

Yes, it is annoying when web accessibility is seen as an issue mainly for people with sight impairments. Often, it feels like the needs of people with other types of disabilities (and without disabilities per se) are ignored when discussing web accessibility.

With my cerebral palsy, I have an overactive startle reflex; it is simply something that I cannot control. When unexpected music or sound begins once a webpage loads, I nearly jump out of my skin! Unless I can quickly turn down or mute the volume, I hastily hit the Back button, never to return.

Another boobie trap for me are those fly-out menus that require precise mouse movement before they vanish again. Invariably I end up clicking the wrong link and going somewhere that I didn’t want to go. Unfortunately, I cannot tab through those specific menus, which would make navigating those sites less frustrating. Again, I do not stay at those sites longer than I absolutely have to. Similarly, image maps with small clickable areas can require fine hand control. I am grateful when redundant text links are also provided.

Glenda’s site provides another angle to the Big Accessibility Picture. For example, what dilemmas can a website pose to someone with certain physical disabilities?

Do stop by and visit Glenda’s site. You will gain a better understanding about accessibility issues from someone who is definitely “in the know”.