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RailsConf talk: Rails, Ajax and Universal Design - Jason Kunesh

Let’s chat accessibility, shall we

  • For web design, big things are beautiful, and the center of the screen is the most important.
  • If you take one thing away from this talk: Every 20 minutes, you should look up from the monitor for at least 20 seconds.
  • The computing experience for the blind is mad different than we think. This guy told us that experienced users of screen readers often use playback speeds of 300 words per minute. He played us a sample of a screen reader at 100 wpm and it sounded ridiculously fast.
  • Screenreaders really tend to struggle with ajax.

Personas

  • When trying to figure out usability, use personas to smooth out the rough edges; individuals are quirky and don’t usually represent the masses.
  • You’ll figure out primary, secondary, and negative personas – the primary one is the loyal customer that you want to build for.

The Usability/Accessibility Conundrum

  • Accessibility is not necessarily usability (fat phones with fat buttons aren’t very usable for anyone).
  • Usability is not accessibility (car seats work for everyone except someone in a wheelchair).
  • But accessibility can certainly help with usability (easy grip kitchen utensils are hard to complain about).

Do your best

  • Think a little bit, follow web standards, and you’ll be a good part of way towards creating accessible sites.
  • Download a screen reader! See what it’s like!