Assistive Technologies5:09 with Aisha Blake
We tend to think first of visual impairments in conversations around web accessibility, but there are tons of different types of disabilities that affect a user’s access to web content and therefore several forms of assistive technology to help bridge the gap! It’s important to understand how your users might be approaching the web.
We tend to think first of visual impairments in conversations around web 0:00 accessibility. 0:05 But there are tons of different types of disabilities 0:06 that can affect a user's access to web content, and 0:09 therefore several forms of assistive technology to help bridge the gap. 0:12 You should have some familiarity with 0:17 at least the most commonly used assistive technologies. 0:20 So we'll have a look at a few over the course of the stage. 0:23 Let's start by checking out an example of Switch controls. 0:27 This is pretty awesome tech, allowing you to control a device with only 0:30 a single button or simply tapping anywhere on a touch screen. 0:35 If you've got an Apple or Android phone, the easiest way to get started is going to 0:39 be to get your phone out and start playing with its built-in accessibility features. 0:43 I'll walk through the steps on an iPhone, but check out the teacher's notes for 0:48 a link to instructions for setting up Switch access on an Android device. 0:52 In your settings, tap General, 0:57 then Accessibility, this will open up a ton of options. 0:59 You may recognize the first one on my screen, VoiceOver. 1:04 We'll talk more about how to use VoiceOver in a later video. 1:07 For right now let's scroll down to the interaction section and 1:12 check out Switch Control. 1:16 By default this is set to off, but 1:18 we can configure it to do some pretty fantastic stuff for us. 1:20 We can configure settings to adjust the phone's volume, switch apps, 1:24 navigate home and activate Siri, to name a few. 1:28 You should see a little explanation at the top and then lots of other options for 1:31 you to customize. 1:35 The most basic customization that we need to 1:36 do to get started is to set a switch for the select item action. 1:39 This will allow us to complete a selection as we scan through the options 1:43 on the screen like tapping an app's icon to open it. 1:47 Let's hit Switches, Add New Switch, and we've got a few options here. 1:50 The first is external, 1:56 that's going to allow us to connect a bluetooth Switch device. 1:57 A person without much control over their hands might choose this option if they 2:00 wanted to control their phone by actually hitting a physical button or switch. 2:05 Sadie Paulson, a video editor highlighted in one of 2:10 Apple's videos explaining their accessibility features. 2:13 Uses a device like this mounted to her wheelchair, 2:16 tapping buttons with her head in order to operate her computer. 2:19 We can also use the camera to track head movement. 2:22 Setting a switch using this type of control will cause the phone to 2:25 use the built-in camera to look for movement either the right or left. 2:29 Each of these can be set independently to refine your switch controls. 2:32 It takes a little bit of practice to get the movement right, so 2:36 that you don't get any false positives. 2:39 Or cause the camera to think you're bobbing left when you're trying 2:42 to bob right. 2:45 For now, we'll choose Screen, then Full Screen, and finally choose Select Item. 2:45 Now once you go back and 2:51 turn Switch Control on you'll see your options highlighted sequentially. 2:53 You have the option to slow the scanning down, add sounds and 2:58 pauses, configure loops, there's so many possibilities. 3:02 Play around with it, try and get familiar with the different options. 3:07 This basic form of selection is called item scanning and is the default for 3:10 switch controls. 3:15 You might like to try using point scanning as well, rather than highlighting items or 3:16 groups of items one at a time. 3:21 Point scanning uses crosshairs to narrow down your selection. 3:22 You can turn Point Scanning on from the menu that appears when you select 3:26 something in Item mode. 3:29 Selecting Point Mode in this menu 3:31 will cause those crosshairs to appear once it's closed. 3:33 You'll see first wide vertical crosshairs, tapping the screen will cause a small 3:37 vertical crosshair to appear in the region selected by the wide vertical crosshairs. 3:43 Tapping again will start the same process with horizontal crosshairs, 3:48 allowing you to refine your selection. 3:53 Switch controls are amazing and can be operated in a number of different ways. 3:56 Try adding one that is triggered by head movement. 4:00 It might feel a bit funny at first, 4:05 but it will allow you to operate your phone entirely hands-free. 4:07 Assuming you can place it in such a way that it'll pick up your movements. 4:11 You should also check out how to setup manual scanning to 4:15 customize the way you move through menus. 4:18 And recipes, which will allow you to perform more complex actions like 4:20 turning the pages of an e-book. 4:25 We've only just scratched the surface of the assistive technologies out there. 4:27 Others include voice recognition software, braille displays, 4:32 sip-and-puff systems, which are activated by inhaling or exhaling, and 4:36 pointing devices which might be physical or electronic. 4:41 Each person who visits your site is going to have a unique experience and 4:45 many will have faced some challenge some barrier to entry. 4:50 While each user determines the type of assistive technology 4:54 best suited to their needs. 4:58 We as developers need to do our part to make sure everything we build 4:59 works as well as it can in conjunction with those assistive technologies. 5:04
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