Marty DeAngelo will be giving a presentation at South by Southwest (SxSW)
this year in Austin, TX about the usability of Ipads, desktop or mobile
devices for persons with disabilities. More information about Marty and
the presentation can be found here:
The survey is available here:
• For users with Visual Disabilities » (
• For users with Hearing Disabilities » (
• For users with Mobility Disabilities » (
A synopsis of the presentation is below.
How the iPad Can Save Accessibility
A long time ago, in a galaxy before HTML5…
Usability has come a long way since the dark days before “Designing with
Web Standards”, with advocates pushing web usability to the forefront of
almost all web design projects. Now, nearly all companies see the value of
UX in their digital designs. But despite heightened focus on user-centered
development, accessibility hasn’t had quite the same level of acceptance –
noted, understood perhaps but ultimately implemented as a matter of
convenience when it didn’t affect ROI or timing.
So, those who have accessibility needs have persevered and pushed, gaining
traction as advocates pushed the envelope in creating sites that were
beautiful, compelling AND accessibility. Still, users struggled through
image-heavy sites missing alt tags, functional sites that required a mouse
to use, designs that they couldn’t read and videos they couldn’t understand
because there was no text alternative.
Enter smartphones like the iPhone and Android … and then the iPad. With the
proliferation of non-desktop devices and browsers, suddenly a more people
were finding that the web wasn’t as nice and clean as they remembered.
Broken formatting, too small text, buttons and functionality didn’t work
because they couldn’t hover. And entire swaths of the web rendered as
Flash-based wastelands that millions couldn’t access.
The people cried out and developers listened, and things began to change.
They called them ‘iPhone versions’, they tested in a wider range of
browsers, they made things work better. And strangely, when they made these
fixes, they actually also made things better for accessibility. And as
we’ve figured out how to make our sites & web apps work better on the new
splinter web, we’re figuring out that helping our iPad users helps all
For better or worse, by solving for many of the issues that iOS and other
mobile users have with our websites, we can address the same needs that
have always been there but are now more exposed. Better yet, we can take
advantage of the accessibility capabilities that are built into mobile
devices to in some cases make these newest devices in some cases better
than the old web.