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Judy’s Blog

What’s in the Future for Browsers and Web Tools?

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.

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Entry by: judy

Unique Requirements of the Medical Sector

Out of 21 projects on my task list, about half are medical-related, and they range from website designs to webcasting to logos to business cards to brochures.

Particularly challenging has been a medical webcast design that has morphed many times due to the process requiring the client to adhere to FDA requirements for displaying certain information. The FDA did not supply the needed information until after we started the designs (in order to meet the client deadline), so major adjustments had to be made after the fact. For example, the website containing the webcast needed to be about one-fourth the size originally anticipated! DDA still needed to stay within the client’s budget and meet the deadline, and we reliably did so.

That’s a perfect example of how medical projects can be unique. DDA has worked with medical companies since its inception, and our diverse experience in this area makes us a great choice for any company.

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Entry by: judy

Dense Black and Smart Color

Before sending a print piece for production, it’s a good idea to proof the colors using the tools provided in Photoshop, Illustrator, and Indesign. Both Indesign and Illustrator have an “overprint preview” and a “proof colors” preview. Photoshop has a “proof colors” preview and CMYK channels that allow each plate to be studied separately. In photoshop, using the channels to proof comes in very handy to more easily see things like banding, which is a big concern in large scale graphics, but can also affect the quality of smaller print items. Banding is both less of an issue than it used to be, since photoshop and printers have become more sophisticated, and more of an issue than before, since photoshop allows the graphic designer to create much more complex files than ever. Banding can occur when multiple layers are used with different layer modes like “overlay” and “color dodge.”  Photoshop now allows more rich textures than ever, but this can create unexpected results. For example, a layer of black on multiply on a layer of black, will produce a blacker black in the overlap area. This can’t be seen by they eye without using the proofing tools. Take a look at this example, a screenshot of photoshop. The black window has two different blacks in it, indicated by the red circles shown in the red and green eyedropper color palettes below it. The black looks solid, but may not print as a solid color.

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Entry by: judy

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