Blog

All thoughts and opinions in my blog are my own and do not represent the position of my employer.

People with disabilities use mobile devices, too

I think we web designers know by now that lots of people are going to be using the sites we create on mobile devices. But not everyone knows that lots of these people have a disability. That’s why I was glad to see preliminary results of a survey by the Wireless RERC (Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center) of wireless use by people with disabilities. Their survey of 452 people with a disability found that 92 percent owned or used a wireless device. Here’s the breakdown of those devices:

Smartphones were the most common device owned or used, with a majority of respondents (53%) reporting owning one of these devices. Regular “feature phones” were owned or used by about a third of the respondents (32%). Somewhat fewer respondents (27%) reported using a tablet. … These results generally mirror the rates of ownership and use of wireless devices reported for the general population by the Pew Internet and American Life project, whose research shows that 45 percent of Americans own smartphones, and 25 percent own tablets.

Source: SUNspot – Use of Wireless Devices by People with Disabilities (PDF), January 2013

You can read the full report (only three pages, people) for information on the operating systems of these devices and the survey methodology.

So if you’re wondering, “Can people with disabilities even use a mobile device? And do they?”, the answer is a resounding yes. Mobile accessibility matters. Make your mobile apps and sites accessible. You’ll be helping a lot of people if you do.

If you have a disability of any type, please consider participating in Wireless RERC’s ongoing Survey of User Needs. The Paciello Group is also conducting a separate (and much shorter) Mobile Accessibility Survey. Please help us collect data that will help web and mobile developers make web sites and apps that better meet your needs.

A redesign is coming

Last April 2, I got called to jury duty for the first time in my life. (Smart of them not to call us in on April 1, don’t you think?) I thought I would be done in a day, but ended up on the jury for a first-degree murder and kidnapping trial, and the whole thing lasted five weeks. I had some down time during the trial due to the long lunch breaks and occasional banishments from the courtroom for the lawyers to argue about secret law-y things, so I started working on a redesign of my site in bits of time that I had.

Actually, perhaps “started” is the wrong word; I may have started my redesign even before then.

The point is, it was so long ago that I can’t even remember when I started, so it’s about time I finish the dang thing already!

So here I am, publicly declaring that in the near future this site will have a new look and be completely recoded behind the scenes. I still have a lot of work to do on it, but I’m hoping I can buckle down and get it done by the end of the month. Feel free to hold my feet to the fire on this, dear reader.

Building Responsive Layouts presentation at CSS Dev Conf

Today I spoke at CSS Dev Conference on Building Responsive Layouts. (Yes, I’m in Hawaii. Don’t hate me.) It’s an updated version of the talk I gave at Responsive Web Design Summit. I talked about two of the core components of responsive web design: fluid/liquid layouts and media queries. Much of the talk was focused on fluid layout techniques and tips: how to build a basic two- or three-column all-fluid layout, how to create fluid grids with fixed-width margin and padding, how to create a hybrid fixed-fluid layout, and how to calculate nested width, margin, and padding values. I then walked through adding media queries onto the fictional Little Pea Bakery site from my book Stunning CSS3 to demonstrate how to make a layout responsive to a variety of screen sizes and devices. Finally, I covered how to use the viewport meta tag and @viewport CSS rule to make media queries take effect in mobile browsers and how to use conditional comments or JavaScript to work around the lack of support for media queries in IE 8 and earlier.

You can download the slides here, or view them on Slideshare:

Building Responsive Layouts (PDF, 3.6 mb)

Here are several links to related resources, some of which are in the slides plus many that were not but which I recommend and think you’ll find useful.

Responsive web design link hubs

Responsive web design articles, tutorials, and tools

Mobile viewports

Dealing with IE 6-8 support

Fluid/liquid layout

Responsive web design inspiration and design patterns

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