While Blacknegative’s website claims to make the web a better place, further use reveals its flaws in terms of accessibility, specifically for the blind.
(Audio Transcript Provided Below)
At first glance, Blacknegative’s website is anything but average. While its vibrant moving backgrounds and interactive menus offer a definite change from the standard website, further use reveals its major flaws in terms of accessibility, specifically for the blind.
The Web Content Accessibility guidelines place a high emphasis on the principle of perceivability, or the idea that information should be provided in a way that guarantees that all users, despite disabilities, can gain access to and understand the content.
The Blacknegative website, which relies heavily on visual cues, lacks in several of these areas, making navigation and comprehension difficult. Although the website incorporates audio, it is in the form of background music that does not in any way offer an indication of the user’s location in the menu. This leaves users with impaired vision at a disadvantage. The addition of earcons or even direct verbal cues that play when the mouse hovers over different menu options would drastically improve this issue. Also, background music that is distinct for each section of the website is something to consider.
Multimedia content, and in particular, the videos on the website, tend to ignore the importance of speech based communication. For example, the advertisement for BOSE only incorporates music and text. Without the visuals, all meaning is lost, making it extremely ineffective for blind users. On the other hand, the episode of “The Fantastic Adventures of George the Sock” does include speech. However, it too is ineffective since the chosen language is French. This introduces a discontinuity between text and speech, which is something that users tend to correlate with mistrust. In order to correct this fault in perceivability, clear speech that matches the theme and language of the website should be included in multimedia content.
Overall, the Blacknegative website is not tailored to meet the needs of blind users. However, through the incorporation of speech and audio alternatives for the visual cues present on the website, the loss of meaning and perceivability can be greatly diminished.