Online Content for People with Learning Disabilities: Opening Doors
Online content for people with learning disabilities Opening doors
Why opening doors online for people with learning disabilities is important.
Thank you. Hopefully the people I worked with will seem like they are in the room. Not representing all people with learning disabilities of course, but hope that this will help.
United Response UK charity supporting 1,500 people, range of disabilities. Mostly people with learning disabilities. People living in the community. Person-centred support. Set up over 30 years ago. Supports people across England and Wales.
What is a Learning Disability? Around 1 million people with learning disabilities in England. Wide range of conditions, like Down’s Syndrome or people born brain damaged. Some people affected moderately, some severely. People are born with impairments that restrict or reduce ability to learn as quickly or readily as others.
Learning disability vs Learning difficulty. Different communication preferences. Could be pictures and words. Or just pictures. Some people secondary impairment: physical disability, sensory impairment. Or communication disability like autism. Health condition such as a heart condition. No typical person. No quick fix.
Someone with a mild to moderate learning disability may live independently in the community and hold a job. Someone with a severe learning disability could do those things but would need some support. Someone with a profound learning disability might find it very challenging to do those things without high levels of support. Wouldn’t use language to communicate.
About some people I have worked with recently… (video coming soon)
Barriers: Some closed doors Log in/ out. Captcha. Navigation/ Information Architecture. Content: what is a website is about? What can you do there? Control: using things. Search. UGC/ Interaction.
How people use the web? Innovation around A.T. for people with learning disabilities. The Rix Centre doing some very interesting work. Channel 4 News piece. Often with someone else. Often hand on hand. Clear for everyone. More people coming online. Living independently.
What do people say about barriers? (video coming soon)
Key points from video Many people like to receive information as pictures. Or pictures and text. Information broken down into smaller chunks. Possible solutions: bigger pictures/ less writing . Feel excluded when it comes to accessing websites and APIs.
Players – some problems Not clear separation between the controls and the screen. Controls often not big enough, not clear enough: no labels, graphics too small, no option to repeat etc. = real access denied if people don’t know things are there. Many people need to take time. Don’t want to use A.T.
Easy YouTube I spoke about problems of rich media and players at Accessibility 2.0 Find it at http://icant.co.uk/easy-youtube Documentation at http://icant.co.uk/easy-youtube/docs Christian Heilmann took the YouTube API and created Easy YouTube. What happened next?
Easy YouTube Mix of testing and observational research. And teaching. Interesting to see how quickly some people learnt because it was easy. Opened doors. I tested it with a range of people with learning disabilities. From web/ player savvy to not. Tested by a wide range of people.
“ When is YouTube going to look like this?” Address bar option, even if support was needed to do it Could change the video size easily The volume indicator and controls Control buttons: the right size and easy to understand, colour coded The search function: easy to use. Some things people liked: more control
Key points What could happen next? Easier access to the player. Feedback and collaboration: not just people with learning disabilities. Testing and changing. Ongoing. More testing. Working on enhancing the design. Inform a universal accessible player for everyone.
Into the mainstream What can we take from specialist APIs and websites to the mainstream? How can we open doors? Tension between the two. APIs, adverts, mashups can be problems. Don’t want disability-specific ghettos. Lizzie’s comment about being included.
Specialist vs Mainstream My day job is often about balancing the two. Strengths are: design solutions, content and multimedia. But need to work with people with other skills. Specialist solutions already good. We can make the mainstream a more accessible place. For everyone. By giving people more clues...
Opening doors Desire to include people with learning disabilities in accessibility debate. Work to be done. Lots of great functions. But lack of clarity blocks access. Without access people aren’t included, empowered, enabled. From circles of support on Facebook to web content. How can we change this?
I am sure some amazing things will come out of these two days. Please try and consider people with learning disabilities!
Thank you! Thank you to CHANGE Picturebank for the illustrations [email_address] If this interests you, get in touch. www.unitedresponse.org.uk http://hiantonia.wordpress.com (personal blog) Lots of people doing really good things: Jonathan Chetwynd: http://openicon.org Edit - link for cc licensed symbols as promised: http://openicon.org/icon-ark/mulberry