Chris Ashton

fortnight11y issue 6

fortnight11y is a newsletter released every two weeks, dedicated to all things accessibility and curated by developer @ChrisBAshton. Each resource is summarised as a TLDR, in case you don’t have time to read the actual article. Readers are encouraged to read the linked articles and form their own conclusions.

Gaming Needs Some Basic Accessibility Improvements in 2020

  • Article by Laura Dale, explaining some of the most commonly requested accessibility features for console gaming (controls remapping, colour blindness support and the ability to adjust text size). A cautionary note about the new PS5 controller, which will have a “resistive trigger” (become harder to press under certain conditions), which allows game creators to mimic pulling harder against a bow string to shoot arrows further, for example. This feature could be a great immersive tool, but does risk alienating some players who may find it painful to use – watch this space. Finally, a note about VR, which is currently inherently inaccessible to many; a situation that is unlikely to improve much in 2020.

How to Use AirPods as Hearing Aids

  • Step by step instructions from OSXDaily, walking through adding the ‘Hearing’ control to your iPhone’s control centre and connecting it to your AirPods. Once connected, you can use the ‘Live Listen’ feature to amplify your surroundings directly into your ears, positioning your iPhone near whatever it is you’re having trouble hearing. Apple is quick to point out that this is no replacement for hearing aids, but the technology is certainly improving and there are people in the comments hoping that AirPods could prove to be a high quality, low-cost solution in the long term.

Training people to do accessibility reviews

  • GOV.UK blog post by Beverly Newing, describing how she led accessibility testing training at the Ministry of Justice. She created a fake government service and made it deliberately inaccessible, with an accompanying worksheet and answers that can be covered in a one hour session. Interestingly, Beverly has added some impeding issues that wouldn’t be considered WCAG failures, to hit home that WCAG compliance does not guarantee an accessible service.

What’s more expensive than getting sued over inaccessibility?

  • The answer: “getting sued twice”. This US-focused article by Sheri Byrne-Haber follows a report showing that 21-40% of accessibility lawsuits are against companies which have been previously sued. The author suggests that this is because companies may fix problems but then don’t build accessibility testing into their ongoing process, so problems inevitably creep back in. It’s also down to the “Hooters effect”; a decision in Haynes vs Hooters shows that other individuals can sue your organisation even while the first lawsuit is being investigated or the fixes are in the process of being implemented.

How I’m making Maps better for wheelchair users like me

  • Article by Google employee Sasha Blair-Goldensohn, talking about the role he’s played in making the world more accessible to the 65 million wheelchair users worldwide. In his “20% time”, Sasha and other colleagues launched ‘wheelchair-friendly transit directions’ for Google Maps, and worked with the 120 million-strong Local Guides community to crowdsource answers about the accessibility of venues. This initial work has led to a full time team dedicated to accessibility on Maps. He also talks about the curb-cut effect, or ‘universal design’, whereby wheelchair-accessible exits from pavements benefit others such as parents pushing strollers, or tourists pulling suitcases.

How to Create Printer-friendly Pages with CSS

  • Article by Craig Buckler, packed with tips on how to improve your website’s print styles; something often overlooked even by a11y-aware devs. I guarantee you’ll learn something new: there are various techniques for avoiding wasting ink. You can automatically add supplementary content such as URLs after links using pure CSS, or print-only content such as copyright messages. You can define page breaks using break-before, break-after or break-inside. You can limit the number of lines of text that carry over to the next page with widows and orphans properties, and control how an element’s border renders when it’s split across multiple pages (box-decoration-break) . Finally, @page selectors and targets allow you to adjust margins on a per-page basis.

Facts & Figures: Disabilities in developing countries

  • An estimated 1 billion people in the world (15% of the population) live with a disability. 80% of these are in developing countries. 3 percent experience ‘severe disability’ and cannot manage daily life without assistance. Defining & measuring disability is difficult worldwide, with mental health conditions particularly under-reported. Under-reporting is driven by stigma; for example, just 2.2% of Indian residents claim to have a disability whereas the World Health Survey estimates it to be 25%. Disability figures are rising worldwide as a result of aging populations and an increase in chronic health conditions.

Deaf man sues Pornhub over lack of closed captions

  • Yaroslav Suris, from New York, is suing Pornhub, RedTube and YouPorn for allegedly violating the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by not providing closed captions on its videos, on either its free or premium access. Pornhub responds that it has had closed captioning on some of its videos since 2018, and offers a closed caption ‘category’, however concedes that it is not available for the majority of its content.

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