Good :focus indicators for keyboard and other assistive technology users is a must, and so often overlooked (including by me). The new WCAG 2.1 and 2.2 standards are more strict about how your UI needs to reveal the current tab focus, with the newer spec going beyond what browsers implement in their default user agent stylesheets — thankfully Sara Soueidan has written this excellent guide that breaks down the details!
Notes about accessibility
From Andrew Somers, a great primer on how color vision works and how illuminated display technology maps perception to luminance contrast, color gamut, etc. Especially useful is his writeup of not only WCAG 2’s limitations for determining proper contrast for meeting accessibility needs but also the upcoming standards like APAC (Accessible Perceptual Contrast Algorithm) that will pave the way for more useful and relevant a11y standards.
To advertise their new accessibility-friendly menus, the South African arm of the Wimpy fast food chain delivers burgers to blind users with a special twist: the sesame seeds on the bun spell out a message in braille! While it might be viewed as a marketing gimmick, it’s nice to see a fast food place making efforts to be inclusive, and the recipients in the video certainly seem amused. (a narrated version of the video is also available for the visually impaired)
PS: what’s up with both the Popeye’s and Wimpy fast food chains completely ignoring their namesake cartoon characters in their branding?
PPS: evidently the Wimpy UK mascot, a weird little guy in a Beefeater outfit, got his own platforming game back in the early 1980s! Thanks, Wikipedia rabbit hole.
Mechanical engineering student Terry Garret plays through a few levels of Bit.Trip.Runner, one of my favorite games of the past year. It’s a very challenging game, with simple actions but difficult timings that are set to fun 8-music and sound effects.
Oh, by the way, Terry is completely blind.
Eyewriter 2.0 + Robot Arm = Livewriter. Combining the FFFFAT Lab’s inspirational Eyewriter project (named this week as one of Time’s top 50 inventions of 2010, and now glasses-free!) with their GML RoboTagger Sharpie Magnum-wielding robot arm, kids were able to try out the eye-tracking graffiti system to print out giant-sized tags of their own names. These projects touch on so many of my favorite areas of interest, so very cool.
MyDsReader, Nintendo DS text-to-speech document reading software for the visually impaired. It’s using the Flite synthesis engine designed for embedded devices, implements gesture controls for ease of use and even throws in an integrated email and to-do client. Excellent use of homebrew development.
Real-Time Object Recognition on a Mobile Device. I’ve seen this done for product lookups like books and boxes of cereal at the store, but hadn’t considered the accessibility implications. Not a bad idea, assuming that it produces valid information most of the time. Also seems like it would be limited to objects of a specific scale?