Category Archives: Accessibility Tips, Tricks and Tutorials

The Door to Accessibility: How Widely You Open It Is Your Choice

At times, beginning with a real-life example assists with understanding the nebulous concepts of web and blog accessibility. With that in mind consider this example: one of three options can be offered to individuals requiring assistance with opening a store door: A doorbell to ring for assistance with the door. An automated door that opens…

Sin #2 of Inaccessible Blogs: Using Consecutive One-Worded Links

Glenda Watson Hyatt as a devil

Hyperlinks are the connective tissue of the blogosphere. Oftentimes we scan blog posts and webpages for interesting and relevant links. However, sometimes the link’s purpose is unclear, particularly consecutive one-worded links, as in the following example:

Excerpt text with four consecutive, one-worded hyperlinks

Why are Consecutive One-Worded Links an Accessibility Sin?

Individuals with sight impairments who use text-to-speech screen readers can have the software scan for hypertext links. The destinations of the above one-worded hyperlinks are difficult to determine.

Individuals with mobility impairments navigate using only the keyboard use the Tab key to move from link to link. Following an ambiguous link only to find the information of no interest and then needing to backtrack to continue reading the original post is frustration at its finest; it’s a waste of precious time and energy.

Individuals with shaky hands find clicking on small target areas difficult and might inadvertently click on a link they did not intend. Again, frustrating.

Individuals with cognitive impairments might find such links confusing, and are left unsure whether to follow or not.

How to Absolve this Sin?

When providing several links in a row, consider the words you use for the links, and how these links can be defined in a clearer way. Do the links provide a clue as to where your readers, with or without impairments, will end up if they click?

For more tips and tricks on how to easily make you blog more accessible, check out the Blog Accessibility Mastermind.

The 7 Sins of Inaccessible Blogs

Introducing seven of the most common yet easy-to-correct blog accessibility errors… Sin 1: Using “Click Here” Why is “Click Here” an Accessibility Sin? Individuals with sight impairments using text-to-speech screen readers can have the software scan for hypertext links. However, oftentimes, the destination of the hyperlink is difficult to determine. Individuals with mobility impairments navigate…

Do CAPTCHAs Block Spam or Your Readers?

a screen shot of a CAPTCHAUnfortunately bloggers are inundated with spam comments. CAPTCHAs – Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart – are frequently used to weed out spambot comments from human comments.

However, because CAPTCHAs are typically images of distorted characters, this information is not accessible to screen readers, leaving people who are blind unable to post a comment. As Darrell Shandrow, a screen reader user, said visual CAPTCHAs are “no blind people allowed” signs.

CAPTCHAs do not keep out only people who are blind. With the distortion of characters or extraneous markings, people with learning disabilities, particularly dyslexia, can have difficulty deciphering what the actual characters are. Likewise, with poor colour contrast, those individuals with colour blindness or low vision can also have difficulty getting past the CAPTCHA step.

Personally, my once perfect vision is nearly forty-four years old and those darn things are stumping me more and more. Other times I don’t bother proceeding.

Screen shot of Blogger CAPTCHA with audio option One alternative is the combination of visual and audio CAPTCHA, such as the reCAPTCHA or the one on Blogger blogs. But have you ever tried listening to those ones? Totally garbled audio! If you happen to be hearing impaired and sight impaired – because disabilities don’t always come in onesies – you are completely hooped! Sorry, your opinions, ideas, expertise – or purchases! – aren’t welcomed here.

What is the solution?

Where possible, avoid using CAPTCHAs to block spam comments. Instead, use Akismet or other spam filters to control that unwanted spam. Make it as easy as possible for all readers to participate in your blog’s community.

If a CAPTCHA is absolutely necessary, use a simple text-based question – like “Which is hot: ice or steam?” – with a form field or dropdown box for the response. The key here is to keep the question simple and straightforward so as to not trip up people with cognitive impairments.

This morning I came across the WordPress plug-in is_human() with three verification methods:

  • Standard CAPTCHA Image
  • Simple Math Equation
  • Simple Custom Questions (with Question Generator)

Please do not use the image option! The other two options might be the best solution available to date, if, indeed, a CAPTCHA is necessary.

Disclaimer: I have yet to test this plug-in and am not yet vouching the plug-in is truly accessible; the concept is accessible. Your feedback is most welcomed.

What is the bottom line?

When using CAPTCHAs, be sure you are blocking spam, not your readers from commenting.

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