Chris Ashton

week11y issue 11

week11y is a weekly newsletter dedicated to all things accessibility, 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.

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