Radar Hill Blog

Tag Archives: deaf users

How to Have an Accessible Website

A great website only matters if it works for everyone — but what does that really mean?

For many of us, it’s as simple as reading and clicking, a user experience we presume to be universal.

In reality, there are myriad ways a website can be inaccessible to people.

Whether it’s visual impairment, hearing impairments, neurodivergence, or countless other things — the notion of a universal user experience can be a harmful myth, that prevents everyone from enjoying and using your website. 

To have a fully accessible website there are numerous factors that need to be considered. This post will take a look at some of the examples of how accessibility works in practice, and what can be done to make websites more accessible.

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Transcense: Empowering the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Young woman with hearing aidFor a deaf person, a group conversation is a difficult situation. For most people, it’s a great opportunity, with ideas flowing and all kinds of social cues going out. For a deaf person, it’s usually an exhausting confusion as they try to hold the thread of a conversation that’s changing every instant.

Over the years I’ve heard of and investigated lots of options for solving this problem. The usual ones are:

  • Get an interpreter (I don’t know sign language though)
  • Hire a live captioner (120 bucks an hour makes for a pretty expensive Friday night at your buddy’s house)
  • Get a friend to help you (not a single person on earth who has a long enough attention span)
  • Only hang out in small groups (makes for a dull social life)
  • Say “what?” a lot (at least my friends find it entertaining, even if I don’t)

When I heard about Transcense’s IndieGoGo fundraiser and beta program, I contacted them right away. They’re making a phone app that captions speech in real-time, separating different speakers with different coloured speech balloons. Continue reading

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Accessibility for Deaf Users: Why it’s worth it.

I (Shannon) am a programmer here at Radar Hill and I have been hard of hearing since, as far as I know, age 5. I was blessed to be taught how to read and speak before my inability to hear made it too difficult, so written text has always been my workaround for communicating with a hearing world.

Young woman with hearing aidAs the internet becomes more and more an extension of our lives, that method has gotten easier. My favourite TV shows have captions provided by enthusiastic volunteers, are hosted for free at addic7ed.com or opensubtitles.org, and all the major video players have the ability to use them. The brightest minds of our generation have provided videos of their best ideas at TED.com, all of them are captioned in multiple languages with transcriptions provided. Even web series, which aren’t legally required to provide captions for deaf users (as public TV shows are), often do. Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee, for instance, has captions for every episode in the most recent season. Continue reading

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