Posts Tagged ‘visual impairment’

Mike Thrussell is a technologist at Henshaws College in Harrogate.  He’s developed an accessible interface for the YouTube website.  Many of  the students at Henshaws have a visual impairment and additional difficulties so Mike has created  an interface to address the complexity of the standard YouTube website by simplifying the functions to search for and play videos. He has blogged about it here and will be a guest blogger on our new ISC blog – part of the main Techdis blog which is currently being re-designed by Laura in our team.

The home page is simple and easy to use.  Access YouTube home page

Although the most popular searches are listed at the bottom of the home page it works for any search.  Below is the result for the search RSA.  The search result page also has a large ‘home’ button taking the user directly back to the main page.

Search results for RSA animate in YouTube

Mike has stripped the pages of any unnecessary content and ensured that all the links are correctly named to give a clear indication for users of screen readers.

Once the video is chosen the player has clear and simple control buttons.

Kaiser Chiefs video showing control buttons

You can create permanent links for specific searches that a particular student likes – so http://access.mwjt.co.uk/youtube/index.php?v=take%20that  will take you directly to a page of links for Take That videos.  Mike is keen for others to comment on the site and you can contact him at  mike.thrussell@googlemail.com .  You can follow him on Twitter as @mikethrussell or follow his blog which has videos demonstrating the use of the site.

Well done Mike – a good example of working with students, listening to their needs and creating something which makes it easier for them to be more independent.

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Nokia Labs have produced a application that reads sms messages in braille.  No it doesn’t produce raised bumps on the screen but vibrates for each letter according to which of the 6 dots in the braille cell are raised.  The buzz will be loud or soft according to the status of the dot. This in effect means that there are 6 different ‘buzzes’ for each letter.

Braille users are very enthusiastic about using braille but I wonder how difficult it will be to wait for 840 buzzes for a full 140 character text message.  the application is free to download here. As I’m not a brailler, I’ll wait for feedback from those who are.

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