week11y issue 157

Your weekly± frequent11y newsletter, brought to you by @ChrisBAshton:

± ok… not quite weekly at the moment. I’ve recently started a new job, and also had a bit of annual leave, so I’m still figuring out what kind of cadence I can commit to for this newsletter!

The five types of people who produce inaccessible code

Eric Bailey shares his thoughts, which can be summed up as follows:

  1. People who create inaccessible code, but do not realize they are doing so.
  2. People who create inaccessible code and realize they are doing so, but do not know how to fix it.
  3. People who create inaccessible code, and do not care about fixing it.
  4. People who create inaccessible code that they think is accessible.
  5. People who create inaccessible code that our industry thinks is accessible, but experientially is not.

Eric says that he has been type number five more than he cares to admit.

The blog post doesn’t go into more detail, but I think it’s interesting to categorise the different reasons behind why someone may have built something inaccessible. Someone should take this idea and present a corresponding “cure” for each symptom!

The case against banning italics

If you ever have a well-meaning accessibility advocate argue that all of your italics should be removed… this is the article to show them.

It’s widely accepted that blocks of italics are poor for readability, and that should be avoided. But italicising single words, be it for emphasis, to denote works (books or document titles, etc), to denote foreign words, or for editorial styling (“see also“), is completely fine.

The article goes into a bit of the research that has been done in this area, and ends on a slight tangent about text customisation for PDF (worthy of a separate article itself – I wasn’t sure it was even possible to customise PDF text as a reader, being more familiar with the web platform instead).

Getting VoiceOver to shut up

Martin (known as “tempertemper”) describes how to quickly pause VoiceOver’s speech:

  • Press the (Control) key once to hush VoiceOver immediately
  • Press again to get VoiceOver to restart reading where it left off

You can also just move to the next bit of content on the page and it’ll start talking again from there.

This is useful to know if you’re just wanting to demonstrate something and talk it through with a colleague – you don’t need to wait for VoiceOver to finish what it’s saying!

You can also do this with the trackpad: “Trackpad Commander also has a gesture to do the same thing: double tap with two fingers”.

Next, Martin walks us through how to mute VoiceOver’s speech permanently, instead relying just on the ‘subtitles’ it overlays on the screen. You could of course mute your sound entirely, but then you wouldn’t be able to listen to music, etc.

Finally, Martin suggests altering the verbosity setting in VoiceOver: “Uncheck ‘Speak instructions for using the item in the VoiceOver cursor’. This turns off the instructions you get immediately after VoiceOver has read you the content, such as “You are currently on a link. To click this link, press Control-Option-Space” when you land on a link.””

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