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YOUR MONTHLY WEB ACCESSIBILITY UPDATE

April 2021

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Good morning <<First Name>>,

Hope everyone is happy, healthy and safe wherever you are.

This month's newsletter has some really helpful advice about how to be more inclusive for those with Dyslexia and Dyscalculia from Kristi, some information on upcoming training from Amanda, and a really interesting video clip that I just know will make your day.

We hope you enjoy it, and hope to hear from you soon!

- Emma Murray
This month's author is Kristi Anderson- Mahady. Kristi has dyslexia and dyscalculia, which were only diagnosed when she was 30. Her background is in biology and environmental science, but is now studying web design. Her spare time is spent gaming, reading, and painting canvas shoes for people. Travel is something her husband and her do a fair bit of, usually, as he has family in Germany, Ireland, and Canada. She has two dogs, who are her constant companions, and two lorikeets.

Whitespace, Images, and Videos – tools to help those with Dyslexia

7th of April, 2021 by Kristi Anderson- Mahady

For most people, the way a website is laid out is purely an aesthetic choice, but for those with dyslexia it can be the difference between understanding and not. I have been to many websites that have large blocks of text with little in between and found that even with the accessibility addons I use, trying to comprehend the information becomes a stressful endeavour.
 

White space

White space is not only the space between paragraphs, but also the space between lines and letters. Consistency in how you use your white space not only makes for a cleaner website but is also an aide which can help those with dyslexia. Avoid fully justified text, this creates uneven spaces between words and letters, which can make using your site quite stressful for those with dyslexia.

Keeping your paragraphs short and to the point means people are not confronted with a wall of text, while increasing line spacing reduces the chance of word hopping and sentence skipping, where someone with dyslexia either misses an entire line of text, or words from one line are read as part of another.

Increasing the space between letters and words can also be of benefit. Both OpenDyslexic and Dyslexie fonts increase the space between letters and words allowing for better comprehension.


Figure 1: Dyslexie font spacing (blue) and typical spacing for a san-serif font (red)

Breaking up your information with white space, images, or other media, can often help those with dyslexia, and it makes for a much cleaner site.
 

Images and Videos

Using images and infographics, rather than blocks of text, can often be a great way to get your information across, without causing stress for those with dyslexia. Most people with dyslexia are visual learners and so less text and more images can often be the way to go. If you do need large amounts of text, include relevant images, this allows those of us with dyslexia to rest our eyes/brains by looking at said images. Adding images would be of benefit for all users, as walls of text are not usually engaging.

Videos are another thing that benefit all users, but especially those with dyslexia, and is a great way to get your information across. Just remember, do not have your videos auto play, this can be very distracting when a user first arrives at that page.

Breaking up your information with white space, images, or other media, can often help those with dyslexia, and it makes for a much cleaner site. Remember, 10%-20% of the people using your website have dyslexia, designing with dyslexia in mind often benefits all your users.

To utilise Kristi's expertise as one member of our talented Usability Analyst team, please get in touch with us today.

 

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  General News

Starting at ground zero when it comes to accessibility can be intimidating. One of the things we pride ourselves on here at Web Key IT is making that journey not just less intimidating, but also enjoyable.

When we talk about creating any sort of lasting change, it’s important to find the quick wins, take baby steps and feel successful. Accessibility is a journey and no one (not even us) knows everything. Creating an accessibility plan or framework is an important step to being a more accessibly-mature organisation. Like any business plan, it is a blueprint to your business's future, with the spotlight on accessibility. It helps communicate why accessibility is important, your accessibility goals, where you are now and how you’ll track progress.

In our 5 Day Certificate in Digital Accessibility Course, one of the outcomes is the development of an Accessibility Action Plan for your organisation. We take this opportunity not only to cover a wide range of digital accessibility topics, but also to help you build your own action plan and supporting documentation to use within your organisation.

We are currently seeking expressions of interest for this course, occurring once a day over 5 weeks for an entire day in May. In addition to web accessibility standards, testing methods and principles, it provides guidance in creating and testing digital documents like PDF and Word documents, specific screen reader training and mobile accessibility testing. If you are interested in signing up for this course or would like more information, please get in touch with us.


See you next month!

Amanda Mace
General Manager

Icon of a cup of tea Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist

7th of April, by Emma Murray
My husband is a member of the Royal Australian Airforce (RAAF), meaning he is often away, as he is at the moment. I figure during these absences I have choices on how to handle it. I can keep busy with my two children, get all my projects around the house finished, OR I can drink a lot of wine, eat a lot of food and watch a lot of TV. Usually my day involves all of the above.

However, at the moment I have been enjoying Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist on Stan. It's provided some light-hearted comic relief, mixed with some epic rock ballads and teary moments. Basically- it does what I need it to do!

This week, I happened to be watching an episode which featured a performance of "Fight Song" by Rachel Platten, performed in sign language by Deaf West and Sandra Mae Frank. The clip is below for you to enjoy.

I think what I love most about this, is the immense passion that you can not only see, but feel, however there are no words being spoken. These performers can't hear the music, but they are pouring their soul out into the song, and it's incredibly beautiful. Let's not underestimate those who are different from ourselves. A disability doesn't need to be a hindrance. It can be utilised, it can be empowering, and it can be embraced.

Enjoy.
A clip from Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist (Season 1, Episode 9)

Icon of a calender Upcoming Events 

 

Perth Web Accessibility & Inclusive Design Meetups

20th April, 2021

Dome Cafe, Northbridge, WA

7:30-9:00am

Read more about the Accessibility Meetup group


The Web Conference

19th-23rd April, 2021

Ljubljana, Slovenia (and Online)

More information here


W4A 2021

19th-20th April, 2021

Online

More information here


Edge of The Web

21st May, 2021

Gold Coast, Australia (and Online)

More information here


Australian Web Awards

22nd May, 2021

Gold Coast, Australia

More information here


The Accessibility Conference

26th-27th May, 2021

University of Guelph, Canada (and Online)

More information here


WA Local Government Convention

20th-21st September, 2021

Crown Perth, WA

More information here

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