ADA Compliency

Curry Kenworthy curry at pair.com
Sat May 30 04:31:19 EDT 2020


Peter:

 > I’m currently working on adding accessibility to my text and
 > media-heavy music application. In trying to find actual information
 > about doing this in a way that is both “compliant” and also good UI—
 > I find very little data online.

Nice project! For the standards side of it, I would keep the DOJ 
Software Accessibility Checklist handy:

https://www.justice.gov/crt/software-accessibility-checklist

(It's good, but not quite up-to-date to the minute - mentions Win95 :D
You could also use the DOE version and the WCAG as references.)

 > making LiveCode compatible with screen readers (software that
 > navigates other software by key commands) is out of the question
 > for me

This would be a GREAT feature for LC Ltd to implement. As important as 
accessibility is nowadays, it should be quite high on the feature 
priority list! Kudos to you and Dan for bringing it up.

And who knows, maybe some funding or tax break would be available for LC 
or others. (Also, good to know for we the companies that use LC.) On the 
USA side, here's a tax break, not huge but it might help someone:

<https://adata.org/faq/what-funding-assistance-available-removing-barriers-and-accommodating-customers-disabilities>

 > so I have to come up with my own design of a navigation by keyboard
 > control with a voice prompts system along with text to speech.

Excellent! That has a lot of potential.

 > doing this in a way that is both “compliant” and also good UI

I consider the two largely separate, and almost never the twain....

Unfortunately, legal standards are usually big clumsy affairs, 
heavy-handed on enforcement and lightweight on human-readable 
guidelines/advice. Still they can be good, and the checklist is actually 
pretty great! But for that half it's doing things the way of government. 
"Render into Caesar...." (If I can say that here. Not quoting the fuller 
context, LOL. Pretty meaningful historical statement, though.)

 > How do I get on the right track with this without “hiring a
 > consultant” or interviewing and testing with numbers of people
 > with various disabilities, including physical mobility?

For the UI half, it can be your own opportunity to shine and do it 
better, or you could stick closer to existing advice which as you say is 
mostly web-based, but there are a small sprinkling of software pages.

You know me - I would tend to go with the "opportunity to shine" route, 
my own choices, after meeting the legal list. But my personal and 
professional experience is mostly with a range of physical impairments 
rather than sight issues. As I project, I'd love it (hits close to home) 
and do the research and setup needed. As a casual question I'll give it 
a shot, off top of head.

I like big and beautiful buttons for the main features, a very readable 
font size, all buttons big enough (think iOS mobile size guidelines for 
touch, but applied consistently rather than the Apple thee-not-me way) 
and minimal user actions per task, among other things. Much of that is 
the physical again, but some would carry over to the visually impaired.

Navigating your voiced keyboard control is a big thing - make it 
super-easy and elegant! If you have those, and what's possible from the 
gov checklist, it looks great to me.

Also keys can make people tired - typing has made me super tired at 
times, last year especially. (Oddly I seemed to wind up better on typing 
after COVID, but worse in other areas especially breath.) The fewer user 
actions to each particular goal, the better. I could imagine that for 
unsighted people with good strong lungs, speech recognition might be 
even better, so I would want to tie that in too, at least on Mac.

Testing is crucial, and if you can't find free or affordable 
under-sighted testers (there may be some!) you could use a few tricks. 
Try it with eyes shut - but of course you have the developer 
bias/habits/memory yourself, so you could get a sighted person such as 
family or online friend to test that way. There would also ways to 
simulate a few types and degrees of vision impairment while testing, 
although the real thing is better. Compliance should be theoretically a 
best-effort reasonable affair, and a tiny company doesn't have the same 
resources as MS/Google/Apple. Theoretically, that is. The usual caveats.

 > So if the big tech companies with their resources have mixed results,
 > how well can small guys expect to do?

The big guys unfortunately are working with their own set of handicaps, 
much of it self-imposed. We're just the opposite. Empty pockets, open 
minds! Life is funny that way. So we have a chance too. Great project, 
best of luck and I hope it achieves all your goals very affordably. I 
also hope LC gets some accessibility hooks to benefit all users.

Best wishes,

Curry Kenworthy

Custom Software Development
"Better Methods, Better Results"
LiveCode Training and Consulting
http://livecodeconsulting.com/



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