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Site Design Send Marty E-mail Israelite Origins Defending Illuminating Visual Impairment Set Internet Explorer Copyright Privacy
This site tries to be open to all users. It allows users to set Internet Explorer to compensate for visual impairment as far as possible.
I wanted to use blue text on a white background because blue and white are the colors of Judaism. However, the human eye has slightly fewer receptors for blue than for most other colors, which makes blue text slightly harder to read than text in most other colors. Healthy users hardly notice the small difference, but users whose ability to see the page is already close to borderline might have some difficulty. I compensated by using very dark blue text. I also chose a plain white background, which makes text easier to read.
The most common form of color-deficient sight is red-green color blindness. This site does not require its visitors to distinguish between red and green. More general declines in visual acuity allow the user to compensate by setting his browser to display larger text. This site’s deference to browser settings on font size allows that adjustment.
Some typefaces look better at larger settings than others. This site does not control which typeface the user will see. Instead, the typeface is whatever each user’s browser defaults to. Users who find certain typefaces easier to read than others can easily have their browsers display text in those typefaces.
Blind users often have screen readers that can read text aloud through a synthesizer. To save time, blind users often set their screen reader to read only the “Headline 1” and “Headline 2” text to see whether they are sufficiently interested to read everything on the page. This site uses “Headline 1” type coding so that screen readers can use this timesaving convenience.
Did you ever notice that some web site images have text underneath that the user can see briefly while the image is loading? Screen readers can read that “underneath” text so that blind users will know what is there even if they cannot see it. On this site, when a screen reader comes to a picture of me the screen reader will say the words, “Photo of Marty Barrack.” That way, the user will at least know what is there.
Sighted users with slow online connections sometimes turn off their browsers’ ability to display images, which results in very fast page downloads. They use these “alt attributes” the same way blind users do, to find out whether it is worth their while to turn on image display.
Accommodation technologies have a way of being useful in more ways than their creators ever anticipated. Designers long ago realized that people in their cars have more available time than people in their homes. Car audio systems morphed from AM to AM-FM to cassette to CD to digital radio. Cell phone designers produced hands-free telephones. Telematics systems now combine cell phone and global positioning technologies to, for instance, call for help and identify the exact location after a collision even if all occupants are unconscious. We may soon be using “speech browsers,” web browsers with integrated voice synthesizers and speech recognition to manage our voice mail and gather information. The Second Exodus design strategy of allowing the user’s browser to control page appearance as much as possible will support speech browsers as well.
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