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Re: An Accessible method of hiding HTML content


From: Mark Magennis
Date: Jun 4, 2004 9:45AM

> people who are hard of sight would be
> more likely to use
> screen magnification software,

My experience is that most people with low vision do not use magnification
software but instead use one or more of the following three methods:

1. Squint.
2. Press your nose against the screen.
3. Give up.

Using methods 1 and 2 is not ideal and, in practice, many people with low
vision simply do not manage to read a lot of stuff successfully or they take
a very long time over it. They may put up with getting the gist but missing
some of the details. The reasons many people don't use magnification
software are:

1. It is not provided on the machine they use (by school, employer, library
staff, etc.).
2. They would have to buy it to use on their home machine.
3. You have to learn to use it.
4. It doesn't exactly make reading a document or web page very easy since
you are, essentially, reading through a cut-out that you have to move
around. In fact, it's usually a pretty awful experience.

My personal opinion is that unresizable content is a much more serious web
accessibility problem than it is generally taken to be. I think it affects a
lot more people than is often recognised. There is a huge emphasis on
blindness but very little on low vision which is statistically far more
prevalent, despite being often undiagnosed or even not admitted. I myself
have 20:20 vision but in June and July my hay fever gets so bad that I have
to wear sunglasses while working at my computer. That makes it difficult to
see the screen, so I bump up the text size using my wheelie mouse.
Occasionally when it is really bad I have to switch to light blue text on
black or yellow on dark blue (it varies which one is easier). Today is not
so bad so I'm not wearing my glasses and I've only bumped up the text one
notch. But I rely on being able to do this, otherwise it is very difficult
to read things. And my vision is classed as 100 percent. Low vision is one
of those things like poor literacy where the extent of the problem is just
not recognised because it is difficult to notice. Did you know that 20 -25%
of adults in Ireland, UK, USA, France, etc. are functionally illiterate
(OECD figures). Most people are seriously shocked by this statistic. After
all, you never seem to see them do you. Same with low vision I think.


Dr. Mark Magennis
Centre for Inclusive Technology
National Council for the Blind of Ireland
Whitworth Road, Dublin 9, Republic of Ireland

<EMAIL REMOVED> tel: +353 (0)71 914 7464