Keyboard-accessible links, audio cues and simplified layouts are some of the features present in ‘Accessible Twitter’, a new application under development to make the popular microblogging service more accessible to disabled users.
Users sign in to the application
( www.accessibletwitter.com )
with their regular Twitter username and password and are then presented with a tweaked version of the service with improved usability and accessible alternatives to many features.
These include headings and page titles which are designed to work with screen-readers; a large default text size and high colour contrast for easy viewing; and audio cues to alert the user when the character limit of 140 is almost reached when writing a ‘tweet’.
The application’s creator, US-based web developer and accessibility advocate Dennis Lembree, told E-Access Bulletin he hopes Twitter will eventually incorporate the accessibility features he has highlighted in his work. He is not optimistic this will happen in the near future, however. “I think very gradually [Twitter] may improve, but not [through] anything significant soon. Twitter is happy with other companies and developers using the API [application programming interface] and creating a wide variety of applications.”
Lembree said that disabled users of technology were “almost always” overlooked by developers.
Though still in the ‘alpha’ development stage, Accessible Twitter is currently available for anyone to use and is supported by all major internet browsers. The ‘beta’ version of the application will include more of Twitter’s features which have been adapted to increase their accessibility, including “Open Authentication, uploading photos, and better error handling”, said Lembree.