After spending a day at Yahoo attending the Yahoo MotherBoard Summit and learning about the different aspects of the brand (more on that later!), one of the most captivating conversations I had was with the Yahoo Accessibility Lab. Through the Accessibility Lab, Yahoo ensures that every product they make is accessible to every user.
Outside our meeting rooms, Lab members Nate and Victor set up a large monitor, keyboard, and filled the rest of the table with devices I hadn’t ever seen before. A large round red button sat next to a smaller blue one, a headset from which a pointer protruded about a foot from the end sat by the man’s elbow, and there was a modified keyboard with 1 inch square buttons that was vertical rather than horizontal.
Nate and Victor shared how they work to ensure that all Yahoo users can have the same experience. They described how the design of the any website should be accessible to everyone because the internet provides us with independence.
person with impaired vision could easily navigate Yahoo
I don’t really think about how the internet is my main source of news and information and take for granted the many ways I use it to communicate. I also never think twice about online shopping.
But what if I was in an accident and lost my sight or ability to use my hands? What if I only could move my head?
My world would change but thanks to the Yahoo Accessibility Lab, my ability to use Yahoo for information gathering, communicating, and shopping would not.
People who have been paralyzed from the neck down can have the same experience on Yahoo as those who have full movement of their limbs thanks to the headset that allows them to navigate the site. The blind may not be able to navigate a web page using a mouse but other devices can assist them in keeping up with current events, communicating with friends, and maintaining a sense of self sufficiency by being able to order groceries online.
Unfortunately, only about 65% of websites are designed to be viewed by those with disabilities. I learned that you don’t have to be a big company like Yahoo to ensure that your site is accessible. Small businesses and blogs can do simple things like adding captions under photos so those with impaired vision can get a sense of the scene in the picture.
The work that the Yahoo Accessibility Lab does has great implications for children in schools. With the internet being such a treasure trove of information and the addition of fabulous interactive educational websites each and every day, students with disabilities can have the same learning experiences as their peers if sites are designed to be accessible.
I spent the entire day passing by the table where Nate and Victor sat, thinking that they were just a couple of Yahoo employees testing out some stuff. I can’t believe that I almost missed out on such a great learning opportunity and look forward to reading the blog that the Lab will be launching in early fall.
The following articles provide more information about how you can make your blog more accessible to all readers and the work that the Yahoo Accessibility Lab is doing:
- Can you hear these images? about adding ALT tags to make your images talk in your blog posts
- Yodel Anectdotal’s feature on DisabilityLand that focuses on the Yahoo Accessibility Lab
As a Yahoo MotherBoard member, Yahoo covered all of my expenses to come to the Summit. I am not required to blog about any of the events or Yahoo sites I learned about at the conference but when I do, all opinions are my own.
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Original post by Tech Savvy Mama