How are browsers going to change? My prediction is that some changes will be related to accessibility for the blind. The percentage of people who are blind was a hard statistic for me to find in a few minutes, because of the misleading term “legally blind”, which simply means that your vision is 20/200 (mild myopia) or worse, which is easily corrected with glasses. Currently, mac’s browsers do not display alt text, which is very important for the blind and visually impaired. Without it, a blind person can’t tell if an image is a logo, a photo, a link to another page, or something else. Videos and animated elements are also problematic for the same reason. A quick and probably inaccurate search (because I don’t have several hours to write this blog) suggests that many more people own macs in the United States than are blind, which could be part of the reason why mac browsers lack this capability. I have been in the habit of adding alt text to all websites that I create, because it is part of DDA’s optimization process. Browsers read alt text, which is how images turn up as search results. DDA has created accessible websites, but it is not a frequent request. Newer versions of Dreamweaver now automatically prompt the web designer to add this text when working with images, but the prompt can be ignored. I add alt text even though, since I work on a mac, I can’t see it unless I look at the website on a pc. This means I need to be very careful about spelling, and this isn’t made easier by the fact that the field to enter this text in Dreamweaver is tiny so I can only see a word or two at a time. Hearing how my friend’s life has been enhanced by the ability to use the Internet with an audio reader is exciting. She can now read the news in real time instead of waiting for it to be translated, she can do research on anything anytime, and she can shop more easily. She works on a computer all day, doing IT. Hopefully, it won’t be long before mac browsers and web tools like Wordpress (which is problematic for alt text) will improve their alt text capability so audio readers will be able to interpret those images.
Entry by: judy