Gentoo Archives: www-redesign

From: Chris Case <macguyvok@×××××.com>
To: www-redesign@l.g.o
Subject: Re: [www-redesign] Update of
Date: Wed, 23 Nov 2005 23:33:37
In Reply to: Re: [www-redesign] Update of by Paul de Vrieze
Well, I wanted to give some feedback from an interesting angle. I deal with
a good number of visually impared people, including my father. I have been
working on switching most of them over to linux, specifically gentoo. After
sending both site to some, these are the problems we all agreed on:

1) Font Size.

The default fontsize on the redesign site is too large. (It's unsable for me
on a 1024x768 machine. I mean usability is kind of hard to define, but I
assure you, that reading and navigating that page isn't fun. Yes, I can drop
the size down in my browser... but I should not have to. If I do, it's a
poorly designed site, IMHO.) Now, for my father, the lareg text size
represents a new problem. He is legally blind, and uses a screen reader. The
large text size had no helpful value for him, and actually poses a problem
for a screen reader. The text is just large enough that reading lines with
the mouse becomes difficult, because there are less words per line, and it's
rather a pain to move the mouse down every line of text, just to get the
point of a paragraph. For people with screen readers, the more words on one
line, the better. Chances are they only have limited sight anyway, so while
they will be able to see the larger fonts marginally better, the ability to
get more infromation with less work is much more desirable.

***(As a note, I strongly recomend that before this site goes live, someone
downloads the demo of Window Eyes from and goes over
the site with a fine toothed comb. You will be amazed how unusable a good
deal of sites are for people with screen readers.)***

2) Headline highlighting/background color

This is something my father brought up to me. Looking at the main page of
Aaron's site, you see that the news items are given a purple boarder, and
purple text. He said that made a world of difference for him in finding the
headlines for the news. He said that the current site he couldn't tell where
the headlines started. Also, the background color of the current site
doesn't provide enough contrast for him to be able to discern The purple
titles of the current site from the regular text. When I forced the
background to be white, like aaron's, he could find it, but it wasn't as
easy for him as finding the title and start of each article on aaron's site.
Also, We both agree that there should be two news itesm on the mian page be
default, not one. Only having one doesn't give any indication to a visually
impaired person that they should even look for more. If there's two, then
it's understood that somewhere on the page will be an archive button; so
perhaps they should take the time and effort to look for it. (Don't kid
yourselves, when you're blind, and using that little voice from your
computer to read the screen to you, you will not exort any extra effort to
find the 'More News' button. Either you find it by shear accident, or you
never see it at all.)

3) The Side Advertisements.

These *need* to be greyed out, like on aaron's site. They are so large and
colorful that any visually impared person will instantly move the mouse over
to them, and try to figure out what they are. My father was convinced they
were some sort of navigation icons, and was getting very confused when they
were taking him to non gentoo pages.  I had ot explain to him what they
were.. and that was within the first minute of visiting the page. I have
sent the site to five other visually impared people; they ALL had the same
problem. I tried sending Aaron's site to a few more I knew... no problem.
Everyone who's tried both sites agree: they greyed out ads remove 90% of the
confusion visually impared people have when visiting the site.

This is a very important concern here. Windows doesn't lend itself to
visually impared people the way linux does. While most visually impared
people do run windows, because that's what they were taught, *most* make the
switch to linux as soon as they find out there's a modern command line based
OS out there that does most of what they need. Gentoo is one of the biggest
distros out there, and it's one I recomend to any visually impared person as
a linux distro to try. I hand them a modified live CD (added a screen
reader) and let them play. In ten minutes most of them are hooked, and want
to install it on thier own systems. The gentoo website is the major reason
why most of them never do. I've tried to help mostof them out. but the old
site, and the current one both are a nightmare for visually impared
people... The new one's better, but need work. By far, aaron's reference
site is the *BEST* site most of them have seen in a long time, although even
that isn't perfect. No site is, but I really think that some of those
guidelines and decisions need rethought.

I hope this feedback is helpful to you.

Oh, as an after thought, I see a good deal of comments about "If you had a
problem, why didn't you speak up a year ago?" I personally have kept quite
because there wasn't much for me to see, until aaron posted that reference
site. What I saw there was fine, and worked well. The current one now is
rather broken from a visually impared person's standpoint. I couldn't have
spoken up a year or so ago... I didn't have anything to test.


Christopher S. Case
SUNY Fredonia
Computer Science / Computer Engineering
(509) 432 - 4725 (Cellphone)
"To err is human. To forgive, divine.
To fix mistakes, now that's an Engineer."


Subject Author
Re: [www-redesign] Update of Paul de Vrieze <pauldv@g.o>