Why go mouseless? Blind users do not use the mouse. As part of Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD), two members of the Health Sciences IT Department, Cathalina Fontenelle and Vivienne Houghton, briefly attempted to go mouseless in order to get some understanding of the difficulty in navigating a computer with just a keyboard.
The purpose of GAAD is “to get people talking, thinking and learning about digital (web, software, mobile, etc.) accessibility and users with different disabilities.” Besides going mouseless for an hour, you could participate by:
- Surfing the Web with a screen reader for an hour
- Captioning a video
- Publishing a blog post about GAAD and your organization’s commitment to digital accessibility
The bad news is, we failed miserably at using the computer without the mouse — we didn’t make it past 15 minutes. The good news is, participating in GAAD made us even more motivated to make the Health Sciences Library website more inclusive of all users of varying abilities. Our goal is to improve accessibility to the HSL site according to the W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines by GAAD 2014.
What can you do today?
- For an hour, take the challenge and unplug your mouse, launch your screen reader, and surf your favorite sites strictly using the keyboard (tab/shift tab, arrow keys, enter and spacebar). Leave a comment and let us know how you did!
- For an extreme challenge, you could even try turning off your screen and depending solely on the verbal information conveyed to you via screen reader.
- Know anyone in web design or development? Help us spread the word and have them check out Global Accessibility Awareness Day.
“We not only believe in what we’re doing, we know through our research and our work here that technology makes a difference in the lives of people with disabilities and that fuels our energy that’s what gets us out of the bed in the morning and that’s what keeps us pressing even when the funds aren’t there or even when it seems like it’s an insurmountable problem. We’re determined to make it work here.” — Cathy Bodine, PhD, CCC-SLP, Associate Professor and Section Head, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Colorado, and Executive Director, Assistive Technology Partners
[Vivienne Houghton, Web Services Librarian]