Aunt Bertha is committed to reducing barriers so that people can easily find and connect to social services. A critical part of this work is ensuring that our site can be navigated by anyone looking for help – including individuals who are visually impaired or navigate sites without using a mouse. In early December, we launched some exciting changes so that our site can be more easily used and viewed by all people. Read on to learn what accessibility changes we made to Aunt Bertha.
Aunt Bertha’s mission is to help ALL people in need, and adapting our system to our users helps us reach large and often underserved populations. Our database has information on hundreds of programs designed to help these specific groups, all of which are now easier to find, contact, and use! Our new release makes navigating Aunt Bertha easier for people with both visual and physical disabilities, including users with lifelong disabilities, users with temporary injuries or illnesses, and users for whom age makes it difficult to see or manipulate a mouse. People with these needs often have a harder time using the internet to find services. By increasing the accessibility of Aunt Bertha, we are working to make a big difference in helping them find the programs they need.
Accessibility & Design
Going forward, the principles of accessibility will inform all of our new features. We subscribe to the principle of General Design - the idea that designing tools and interactions that help users with the most limitations will also make the Aunt Bertha experience better for everyone, not just people with disabilities. For instance, when people on our system are filling out a form or trying to get to a page fast, they may want to keep their hands on the keyboard instead of switching back and forth to the mouse. When our users are tired from a long day, it’s important to display the information they need in an organized, logical way, with a clear hierarchy showing what is most important. People who print our pages on black and white printers need to be able to understand every button and icon without any color. We can use General Design to build accessible interfaces that also make our site better for everyone.
Accessibility Changes to Aunt Bertha
For people who are visually impaired:
- Icons and images now have text that reads with screen readers for blind and visually impaired users
- Form fields and labels are now better linked so that screen readers accurately read the labels when someone is filling out a form, and some labels are elaborated for users with screen readers
For people who can't use a mouse (physically disabled or visually impaired)
- There is now a skip navigation link to move the cursor past the top menu and directly into results
- Our categories menu can now be more easily used with a keyboard
More to come!
We will continue to improve visibility and coherence as we design new features and redesign old ones, keeping accessibility at the forefront. We’d love your feedback, so if you have any thoughts about our accessibility, send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on web accessibility, check out http://webaim.org.