Category Archives: Accessibility

Accessibility and Reading

Another useful JISC article to follow up in due course!

So, you want me to read for my degree? Considering a Universal Design for learning approach to reading through the use of audiobooks and accessibility tools

By Jisc accessibility and inclusion on July 20, 2019

 

Missing the Point: a Question of Accessibility

I’m not an accessibility expert, but as an academic librarian I’ve had opportunities to work with disabled students, and to attend workshops about best practice in terms of accessibility.  Some years ago I published an article on the subject which – to my surprise, since I’m hardly a specialist – has probably attracted more attention than most of my musicology papers!

McAulay, Karen E.  ‘Studying with Special Needs: Some Personal Narratives’ (Library Review 54(8), Oct 2005), 486-491

A couple of things in the past week prompt me to commit a couple of thoughts to a quick blogpost.

Visual

Visual disturbance

Why would anyone think that black-on-red is a good combination for a poster?  I’m a bit long-sighted with good corrective specs, but I’m thinking of people with poor vision, or dyslexia.  If I can’t clearly read a gig announcement on Twitter, then what about folk with greater challenges?  Please! Don’t do it.

Aural

My ears are a bit worse than my eyes – not much, but I do wear hearing aids for minor hearing loss.  If I’m in a noisy place, even using the ‘noisy place’ settting on my hearing aids, then I am not going to hear everything that’s said to me.  The noisier it is, the more I’ll miss.  Imagine missing maybe two words per sentence, or more if it’s very noisy.  After a few sentences, the effect is cumulative – I’ll begin to lose the gist of what’s being said, and eventually, I’ll zone out.

I’ll say that again, missing out every tenth word …

My ears are a bit worse than my eyes –     much, but I do wear hearing aids for minor         loss.  If I’m in a noisy place, even using     ‘noisy place’ settting on my hearing aids, then I    not going to hear everything that’s said to me.      noisier it is, the more I’ll miss.  Imagine missing       two words per sentence, or more if it’s very      .  After a few sentences, the effect is cumulative – I’ll       to lose the gist of what’s being said, and            I’ll zone out. 

Now, if it gets noisier – say I’m missing every eighth word …

My ears are a bit worse than    eyes – not much, but I do wear         aids for minor hearing loss.  If I’m in a       place, even using the ‘noisy place’ settting    my hearing aids, then I am not       to hear everything that’s said to me.      noisier it is, the more I’ll miss.          missing maybe two words per sentence, or       if it’s very noisy.  After a few          , the effect is cumulative – I’ll begin to      the gist of what’s being said, and           , I’ll zone out. 

Of course, this is a rather artificial example because some words are harder to catch than others, and some voices are easier to hear than others, but you begin to see the problem! (YouTube: Hear Me Out)

Additionally – and this is a layperson’s observation, but I think a valid one: if someone’s concentrating on the process of hearing (or reading) something, then there is less cognitive power available to process what the message actually is, so understanding won’t be as deep as it might otherwise have been.

I don’t have any answers to suggest – but I would just like to put the thought out there – ‘breakaway groups’ in different corners of a room are really difficult for someone with poor hearing.  (It can also be tricky hearing ‘questions from the floor’ if we’re part of an audience. Sitting near the front to hear the speaker, anyone at the back of the auditorium is very hard to hear without amplification.)

Featured Image by Robin Higgins from Pixabay