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My accessibility nightmare! Part2 Error Reporting

Having acquired a print disability at the age of 35 I was introduced to a world of assistive technology and was trained in a technology called a screen reader. This technology enabled me to access the digital world with the help of a text to speech interface with destop/ smart phone applications/ websites navigation aided by keyboard/ touch.

The screen readers that I use are:

On my desktop/ laptop: NVDA (Non Visual Desktop Access) and JAWS (Job Access With Speech)

On my smart phone: VoiceOver for IOS

However, to enable complete accessibility of applications and websites the applications and websites need to be WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) compliant; otherwise I am introduced to barriers due to inaccessibility. In this article I am sharing with you a few accessibility barriers and nightmares I have using the many digital resources with the help of my screen reader.


Example 1: Using color or in page messages to indicate error/ action: This is another favorite nightmare for someone who is print disabled or color blind. This barrier is when an error message is indicated to the user on the webpage or has a color indication of the error. For example; when filling up a form you type an invalid mail address and you are unable to submit the form because you made an error. The user who is color blind will not be able to see where the error is because it is being visually represented on the webpage in a color that the user cannot perceive due to his/ her limitation or not being able to see the screen at all. OR perhaps the error message is displayed on the same screen but the user cannot get to it with their keyboard/ screen reader.


Example 2: Action messages that visually indicate the user to perform an action on the webpage/ application; like Click the green button to continue OR the red button to cancel. This barrier can be eliminated by providing alternative ways to indicate to the user about the error. I discuss them below for your understanding.


Pop-Up dialogue box: Any error message can be either represented as a POP UP dialogue box with the list of errors the users needs to fix.


References for further reading:

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) Overview

NVDA Screen Reader Overview

JAWS Screen Reader Overview