Archive for the ‘Accessibility’ Category


Gmail Zombie Feedback pop up: personal annoyance or nagware?

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

Gmail launched a new look a few weeks ago. In my mind it was nothing particuarly revolutionary, just a general tightening of the design. Still, in essence, the same old Gmail.

Since this launch, I’ve noticed that Google is keen to hear my feedback on the new design.

Really keen.

At first I just hit the close button. The second, third and possibly fourth time I did the same. Possibly the fifth time it appeared, I actually gave them feedback, telling them not to worry — the new design was fine, but please stop pestering me with the pop up.

Gmail feedback

Yet it kept coming back. It’s like a zombie: it won’t die unless you shoot it in the head. But the problem is, I don’t know where the head is.

Resident Gmail
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Flags and languages: Redux (Part I)

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

If you search for ‘using flags to represent languages’, you’ll get a swathe of wisdom as to why this is a really bad idea. This really bothers me whenever I see it; which unfortunately is really quite often. I blogged about a language selection screen in the Steam client last year which again fell into the trap of presenting users with a selection of flag icons in order to choose their language.

I went to the Tate site today and a little UN-style gathering of flags caught my attention.

Tate homepage

What really bothers me about what the Tate have done here is that they’ve obviously put some thought into this design decision, but the logic behind the decision is broken.
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TED Translations: free to the world

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

TED Talks are wonderful. Yesterday I watched this fascinating video by Eli Pariser, entitled Beware online “filter bubbles”:

While watching the video (on the TED website) I noticed the subtitle options. TED has a fantastic translation scheme where users can transcribe translations for videos — a staggering 18,265 translations so far. But user experience-wise, this scheme has some critical issues.

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Why is Flash so lousy at localisation?

Saturday, May 7th, 2011

Originally I intended this post to be a series of examples demonstrating some of the hassles involved when dealing with multi-lingual content in Flash. But it occurred to me that the issue isn’t so much that Flash is difficult for this purpose, it’s more that it’s lousy. It’s way behind the curve considering where the rest of the web is today in this regard, and incredibly the situation was far worse not much more than twelve months ago (before Adobe released Flash CS5 and the Text Layout Framework).

The rationale for this post came after attending a talk at SXSW 2011 — ‘Flash is Dead, Long Live Flash!‘. The presenters, Elliot Chong and Toby Miller, gave a great overview of strengths and weaknesses of both Flash and HTML 5. However, one point of debate they missed was localisation. Not that I expected to hear it, but I feel strongly about such things considering this is a big part of my day job. During the Q&A session, I brought up the point of localisation — but explaining technical trivialities on the spur of the moment in front of a large crowd of peers can be tricky: hence this post.

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Accessibility guideline #1: Don’t claim it if you’re not

Saturday, July 14th, 2007

The Google Blog has a recent post entitled ‘Overview of our Accessible Services‘. Last time I looked at Google’s search code (which was only last week actually) I remember it being a particularly messy mix of invalid HTML and table soup (but this is Google: who for some reason are exempt from producing structureless mark-up on their main website in the 21st century, unlike almost everyone else on the planet).
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Stuck!

Thursday, May 3rd, 2007

Looking for hotels tonight on Radisson Hotels website and I quite literally got stuck. Trying to select a date range, the pop up date picker conveniently hides behind the big flashy Flash banner like some shy child cowering behind a parent’s leg.

Screenshot of Radisson homepage

Manually entering dates is also frustrating as some part of the Javascript intermittently clears the field when changing focus between the fields. Initially I honestly couldn’t get a date in. I’ve since tried again and it worked (barely). Just as well there’s a fairly obvious Reservations link in the top bar.

By the way, anyone know of any good hotels in Calgary?

Transport for London Redesign

Thursday, April 5th, 2007

Transport for London (TfL) has recently designed its site. I was hoping they’d try to make their journey planner a bit smarter, but alas, it remains the same.

Smarter? I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve put in a tube station then a postcode (or vice-versa) and hit ‘enter’, only to have to re-specify my respective input as postcode. The form defaults to stations or stops: that’s fine (it has to default to something), but why isn’t there a simple Javascript check on each field entered to check for postcodes?
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British Design Museum and Accessibility

Friday, March 3rd, 2006

According to the British Design Museum website, they are:

…well-equipped to welcome visitors with disabilities. Our facilities include: lifts, wheelchair access, adapted toilets, and audio guides for selected exhibitions.

The irony of all this is that in the HTML version of the site (as opposed to the Flash) this text is rendered in a GIF with no alt text (and not considering the fact the site launches several pop-up windows). So unlucky if you’re visually impaired.

Or does this raise the question of whether you could truly appreciate a Design Museum if you were visually impaired? Or an art gallery? Or museums in general?

Regardless I do love the irony of disability services information appearing in probably the most inaccessible way possible.