Whether you participate in a public or private event to mark Global Accessibility Awareness Day, on May 18, we encourage designers, developers, usability professionals, and everyone else to take an hour to experience first-hand the impact of digital accessibility (or lack thereof).
Go ahead and unplug your mouse and only use your keyboard alone (tab/shift tab, arrow keys, enter and spacebar) to navigate and interact with your favorite websites and applications. If you use a touchpad, trackpad or similar input method, disable it, and use the keyboard instead.
Check that your page(s) is accessible and usable for low vision/visually impaired users. To do this, use your browser and resize the text to 200 percent. Now look at the screen, and make sure there is no loss of content or functionality. Have all elements resized, including all widgets ? To meet the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines V2.0 Level AA, the only allowable exceptions are captions and images of text.
There are a number of free/open source screen readers available for Windows users. One of the more popular ones is NonVisual Desktop Access (NVDA). Take a bit of time beforehand to download the software and learn some of NVDA’s documented basic keystrokes. Mac users, you have a built-in screen reader called VoiceOver on your systems. Take some time to visit the site referenced to familiarize yourself with how to turn on VoiceOver and some of the basic keystrokes. On May 18, unplug your mouse (blind users do not use the mouse), launch your screen reader, and spend an hour using some of your favorite sites strictly using the keyboard alone (tab/shift tab, arrow keys, enter and spacebar) and not the mouse/trackpad. Why not turn off your screen and depend strictly on the information conveyed by the screen reader.