That was David. He ’
s 26, he supports Manchester United. And he ’ s looking for a girlfriend…He has mild learning disabilities. (Pic removed) Thank you for including people with learning disabilities today. Much of the content of this presentation obvious. But that ’ s the point.
Background information Around 1.5 million
people with learning disabilities in the UK, many with a secondary impairment. Learning disability? People communicate in different ways. No quick fix. Almost 1 in 3 people with learning disabilities say they have no contact with friends.
United Response 1,500 people, range
of people and disabilities. Independence in the community. Many people do not communicate verbally. Find out how they want to give and receive information… My experience = web development + work with people with learning disabilities + rich media. Personal interest.
The power of rich media
offline? Michael (link to video removed) UGC: People generating content. Used in day to day support, people making choices. People with more complex needs having a ‘ voice ’ . DVDs for peer to peer support. Consumers: It can help people with learning disabilities communicate, learn, make concepts real. It can help to organise thinking and memory.
The power of rich media
online? Consumers: rich media for news, entertainment, understanding difficult or new concepts etc. Makes things real. UGC: contributing to sites for people with learning disabilities but tend to be niche, not ‘ mainstream ’ . Mandy and Landrovers (link to video removed) Opens doors to the niche, or the unattainable (e.g. literacy issues)
How people are using websites
David (link to video removed) More people with learning disabilities coming online. Often people are accessing websites hand on hand, or with support. Software/hardware may develop? Videos today = people with mild learning disabilities but I would like you to consider more complex needs.
What did that mean? Still
locking people with learning disabilities out. Many elements of web 2.0 not being accessed but many of those elements could benefit people with learning disabilities.
How could people benefit? Could
increase independence as more elements of life are online. Could network: people use facebook to connect with support circles. Could contribute: rather than receive. Sites for people with learning disabilities ok. Mainstream = work needed.
How can we make it
better? Order and clarity: for instance adopting a modular approach to site development. Many people with learning disabilities rely on things being presented in ordered ways:
Players and layout Great elements
of different players but not coming together as one player for people with learning disabilities. Many people need to take time over what they are doing but don ’ t want to use assistive technology. Lots of people need to repeat information to understand it. Often there is no option to repeat (slider).
Players and layout: building a
player How much control does the user have? Are the player controls easy to use? Are they in a logical order? Are you thinking about labels and the size of buttons? Volume control? Are you giving people the option to repeat? What can people customise?
Players and layout: signposting Embedding:
seems to be the preference. YouTube age. Video or audio inline can be impossible if page not dedicated to the subject matter. But people need to select what they want to receive. Can people find it? Graphics can help people with learning disabilities. But they need to be big!
Players and layout What else
is on the page? How does this relate to the rich media? Using other applications or other content on the page? Are they distracting? You could use a still – it ’ s instructive. What are we up to?
These sorts of things will
help to ensure that people with learning disabilities are accessing rich media. In turn, could open up worlds and untapped markets for people. The more people can do for themselves, the more control and independence people can have. This way of working benefits us all.
APIs and user control User
control one of the most powerful things of web 2.0. Controls: big and bold? e.g. ‘ Do it ’ . Content and function are not separate in layout terms. Be explicit about what an application is for. The terminology you use: is it to do with the code and its function or what the user experience is?
Things that change What is
changing on the page? Something else happening on the page will almost always be a problem for people with learning disabilities. Ajax is immensely powerful. But we don ’ t want Ajax and dynamic content to become the new pop up. Does it need to?
Web 2.0 and social media
Have you built a help section or FAQs? How easy are you making it for people to sign up or find things? Often impossible. Login? Captcha? Search? Problem of access: Is it clear when people can change things or contribute? Can they find it? Problem of contributing:
Web LD? No, but it
can benefit everyone and business sense. At the moment, not benefiting people with learning disabilities but there is some good progress! We support standards and guidelines, but it ’ s not really about ticking boxes. Real time: people with learning disabilities are online and need access.
Push It tick We need
to be more creative. This will make us more accessible. Bad usability can mean no access. Develop from the outside in and inside out. Focus needs to go back to layout and design particularly regarding mashups.
Push It Enable! People can
have control, contribute and network. Engage: advocates and self-advocates. IMHO: If we are not considering this group as we develop, we are not being accessible. Future? Would like to see possibility of more useful customisation.
Dave is laughing. But none
of us, as developers and designers wants people to be unable to control things. And ultimately desperate to get off the pages we have created.
More? [email_address] If this interests
you, get in touch. www.unitedresponse.org.uk People are doing really good things: advocacy/ self-advocacy groups, voluntary sector, industry professionals, research.