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Thread: Selecting general color themes was Teaching web accessibility...
Number of posts in this thread: 4 (In chronological order)
Aside from the physics of color matching, selecting general color themes and
their role in page presentation is also important. To this end, I taught a
small class of blind and visually impaired high school students how to design a
simple personal web site last year as part of my internship.
To allow the totally blind students to select color themes that reflected
their personalities and/or present a 'mood' or represent the purpose of their
site, I gave explanations similar to this. First, I explained a few basic color
ideas, such as warm colors, cool colors, soft, bright, harsh, garish, etc. Then
I presented the following scene.
"Imagine that the web site is a building. Decide what type of building it is,
a home, office, warehouse, etc. What is the mood or message you wish the site
"Each room has a floor and walls. The floor is the main section of the web
page. The menus are walls/doors. The web colors you select can make the 'room'
have a feeling, much like the difference between walking on carpet or a
concrete floor. Contrasting colors or similar shades could be like a gentle breeze or
a storm, barely noticeable or assaulting our senses and distracting the
Text and graphics represent the furniture. In your web pages, do you want the
sighted individuals who visit it to be able to read it easily and find what
they want quickly? This is like a room being too cluttered, having
uncomfortable or hard furniture to sit on, and so forth. A graphic without text may be
like a piece of modern furniture or art that is so unusual it leaves a person
wondering what the item is and whether they should sit on it or if it's just
something the person who put it there likes?
The students in the class became so enthused and so excited about putting
certain colors and graphics on their pages, it was simply incredible. They
couldn't wait for their sighted friends and family to see their work. One decided he
was 'cool' and that he was the 'Ice Man' and had a great time letting a
sighted classmate or instructor describe blue and white colors and he selected
ice/cold related graphics based on the descriptions given to him - after stating
whether he wanted cartoon style, photo/realistic style, etc. graphics and
thinking of cold items he thought related to his ideas. This may also assist in
determining appropriate alt text.
Before I presented the above to the class, one blind student in particular
didn't care how the site looked to the sighted since he couldn't see them
himself, and didn't want to bother. He quickly changed his mind when I asked him if
it meant that a deaf person could scream near him all he wants to just because
that person can't hear it themselves?
This is probably not appropriate for many of you. I had the impression,
though, that this sort of thing would be useful towards full inclusion of
accessible web design by the visually impaired for the person who initially asked
(sorry, I don't remember who you are).
Further, as a low vision individual myself, as well as not knowing very much
about colors (in spite of my above descriptions), I was truly wishing that
there was a good web site that lists colors in such groups. That is, stating
which colors are warm, cool, etc.
I had found a book or two that explained some of this about colors, but was
really wishing for a chart to this effect or similar info available on the web
for blind students to access via assistive technology. It wouldn't be an exact
science, certainly, but would likely be at least somewhat helpful. In other
words, can purple and peach be used together, and also, which color
combinations may represent specific groups or present subconscious messages or insults to
various cultures? Artists and graphic designers learn this from somewhere and
I would love to have it available to web designers.
I hope this is helpful to some of you, and that others either know of such
on 11/20/03 10:20 AM, = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = at = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = profoundly spewed
forth their very articulate thoughts:
> Further, as a low vision individual myself, as well as not knowing very much
> about colors (in spite of my above descriptions), I was truly wishing that
> there was a good web site that lists colors in such groups. That is, stating
> which colors are warm, cool, etc.
First... I love how you did that! That was a great way of explaining and
making things fun. :)
--On Thursday, November 20, 2003 11:03 AM -0500 Stephanie Sullivan
< = EMAIL ADDRESS REMOVED = > wrote:
> Here’s a list of links from a woman on a DW list I belong to...
> She’s compiled links for her school on a variety of subjects,
> including accessibility and CSS so you may find some really
> interesting stuff here. I have not had time to go through it all to
> see if the idea you had is listed there, but it’s fairly
> exhaustive and you may find some good info:
Thanks for posting the url, Stephanie.
Kynn, these color tool references may also be helpful:
Your new class sounds very interesting. I took D201 a few years ago
from you and learned a lot. I may have to make time for this new class
Laura L. Carlson
Information Technology Systems and Services
University of Minnesota Duluth
Duluth, MN 55812-3009
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Since the W3C has just released Amaya 8.2, is anyone else looking at it? As
a combined authoring/browsing tool, it may be extremely helpful in the realm
of accessibility in design tools. Every significant menu option has a
keyboard shortcut equivalent. Mind you, there are a rather large number of
these, but they are *there*. And the program seems to work fairly well with
Now, Amaya probably does a lot more than the average garden-variety web
designer wants - it contains special editing functions for SVG, MathML, and
all sorts of W3C recommendations that few other packages support.
One thing I like about it a LOT is that there is no distinction between
'browse' and 'edit' mode. You can literally open a web page (graphically)
and type in it, and save your changes locally. What this also allows the
Amaya user to do is open a web page, set his cursor anywhere in the text on
the screen, issue the view source code command, and not only is the source
code shown (in a separate window, a bit troubling), but the cursor in that
window is set to the beginning of the line where the cursor was in the
graphical view - a HUGE timesaver rather than waiting for an entire text
file to be spoken, issuing a 'Find...' command to get to the desired text
(quickly successful only if it is fairly unique text) or guessing how many
lines down one must jump to get to the code in question.
I know quite a few web designers/developers and I know very few who even
know what Amaya is, and fewer still who have it installed or use it. My own
usage of it is limited, but I do use it a lot for 'post-production editing'
after I have generated a page with html-kit.
I'm interested to hear what others think of this. The tool can be found at
http://www.w3.org/Amaya/User/BinDist - the latest release is from 13
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