Chris Ashton

week11y issue 93

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

Picture of bump labels for keyboard. There's a bumpy red X over the right arrow key.
Image: Microsoft

Surface Adaptive Kit makes Microsoft’s laptops more accessible

  • Microsoft is creating a “Surface Adaptive Kit” for its range of laptops/tablets, to better accommodate people with disabilities.
  • The kit includes “keycap labels, bump labels, port indicators and device openers”.
  • For example, a device opener includes a pull tab and ring, to make it easier to open the laptop lid.
  • There’s no pricing information yet, but it is expected to launch this year.

Tips for Making HTML Lists Accessible

  • This article is a quick reminder on HTML list markup.
  • First of all, decide whether you actually need a list; sometimes it is better to format your content as paragraphs with headings instead. This way, assistive technology users can easily skip to the heading that they want to read.
  • If you do use a list, decide whether it should be unordered (<ul>), ordered (<ol>) or a description list (<dl>). The latter is useful for glossaries or recipes, e.g. <dl><dt>Chicken</dt><dd>A small bird that lays eggs</dd>...</dl>.

10 Video Games That Have Great Accessibility Options

There are some really interesting accessibility options in the games in this article:

  • Uncharted and The Last Of Us Part II are famously accessible, and are called out here.
  • A Blind Legend is a game that “can be played entirely through sound and only asks for touch screen or mouse input”. It does not incorporate visuals.
  • Grounded has the player shrunk to the size of an insect and having to find their way home across their back yard. The developers have considered arachnophobia – the intense fear of spiders – and thus offer an Arachnophobia Safe Mode Slider, allowing players to edit in-game spiders to have no legs, no eyes, or even no textures or sounds at all, without sacrificing the enemies’ difficulty.
  • Hyperdot is a game “where the player avoids incoming attacks by darting around the screen”. The game can be played on any controller, including eye trackers.

Does WAI-ARIA even work with WebXR?

As someone who has recently bought an Oculus Quest 2, this is really exciting technology that has come a long way in a very short time. It’s crucial that we address accessibility needs as this technology matures.

  • Thomas Logan writes about his experiment with ARIA and Web XR (“Web Extended Reality”, or VR).
  • He uses aframe-gui, a GUI component framework for A-Frame, which is a web framework for making 3D experiences. Here is Thomas’s demo.
  • Using ARIA to add the necessary role and aria-label to elements, as well as tabindex and onfocus handlers, Thomas has made an XR experience that is navigable via keyboard and by some assistive technology (AT) such as voice assisted navigation and screen readers. The full list of tested AT is in the article, which describes the usability issues encountered. For example, “Voice Control” on iOS/Safari does not detect the link or button in the demo.

This Brazilian pianist uses ‘bionic gloves’ to play

  • Pianist João Carlos Martins lost the use of his right hand in a mugging in Bulgaria in 1995.
  • Industrial designer Ubiratan Bizarro invented the “Bionic Extender Gloves”, which have rods that make the fingers spring back up after they depress the piano keys, allowing the pianist to continue playing.
  • The first pair of these gloves for Martins cost less than $100 to make, and are made by a 3D printer.
  • It has meant that Martins has been able to play his favorite Bach sonatas once more.

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