Several organisations have developed simulations which illustrate some of the barriers that may impact on accessibility and ease of use. Simulations cannot give true representations of disability, but can promote discussions around the subject – it is important to know when and how to use simulations.
WebAIM: Screen Reader Simulation
This simulation provides a way to experience what it is like to use a screen reader. A web site, the University of the Antarctic, is presented as a screen reader user would experience it. Keyboard shortcuts are provided to navigate within the site and find specific pieces of information.
WebAIM: Distractibility Simulation
This simulation demonstrates how difficult it can be to navigate even a simple site when operating under an intense cognitive load.
WebAIM: Speed Read muddle text
You are given 60 seconds to read a paragraph aloud. The letters in this paragraph are reversed, inverted, transposed, and spelling is inconsistent. There will be two questions to answer at the end of the 60 seconds, so you must decipher the words as best as you can.
WebAIM: Low Vision Simulation
This simulation provides an opportunity for users to experience a web page using simulated visual disabilities. While it certainly does not simulate low vision itself, it can be used to help understand how visual disabilities can impact web content and how web content can better designed.
“If you are not suffering from a colour vision deficiency it is very hard to imagine how it looks like to be colour blind. The Colour BLIndness Simulator can close this gap for you. Just play around with the sample picture or upload your own images. Please make sure that you just use JPG, GIF or PNG images with a size below 600kB.” (Daniel Flück, 2007)
Sim-dis for more simulations “This site contains a collection of computer based artifacts that simulate aspects of disability. It is intended that the simulations will be used for training and awareness raising activities with staff and for teaching students in areas where an understanding of disability is required.”
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