Today (October 12) is World Arthritis Day. I am sure each one of us knows of someone who has Arthritis, with most people having to deal with the pain and limiting movement over a certain age. 

However, do you know there is not an age category, children to pensioners can have some sort of Arthritis?

How can Shaw Trust Accessibility Services help people with Arthritis?

Why would someone who works at Shaw Trusts Accessibility Services want to tell people about Arthritis? The answer is two fold.

Assistive technology for people with Arthritis

Firstly, did you know there are assistive technologies that may assist someone who has Arthritis, especially in their fingers/hands, along with any arm discomfort?

If someone is struggling to use a mouse on a computer, then there are a lot of key commands and navigation techniques to help learn and convey information. There is also speech recognition software that allows the person to navigate and interact with their voice.

Did you also know that many mobile phones have a facility to allow someone to use the phone, not only by voice commands, but by head gestures? Great innovations for people that may find it difficult to keep up with the day to day messages, interactions and information.

For some more information go to Accessibility Services: Physical Impairment assistance for operating a computer page.

Helping people with Arthritis or a physical impairment to navigate a website using a keyboard

Secondly, these great technological tools can only work on web sites if they are designed with accessibility in mind. Some examples of this are;

When using a keyboard to navigate around a website, the person uses the tab function to navigate to each link, or activating element, where the link or element is highlighted to indicate to the person where the cursor is situated. Unfortunately many websites either don’t highlight their elements, or some of them do highlight and some don’t on the same page. This is just like suddenly losing where your cursor is when using the mouse.

Helping people with Arthritis or a physical impairment to navigate a website using voice control

Another example is elements being correctly and individually labelled. For someone who is using voice commands to navigate and activate these elements, if there is more than one link labelled “more information”, then it will take some time to get to the correct one. Acronyms can also cause a problem, when the voice command is not how you would read it, for example: FW, where the presumption will be forward, but the voice command will have to be something like ferwa. Not the best example, but I hope you get the idea. There are a lot more examples of inaccessible features and functions that can be found on many day to day websites.

Here at Accessibility Services we are proud to be able to not only assist companies to make their web sites accessible, but know that we are enabling more and more people, such as those with Arthritis, to be in contact and informed when using the internet.

If you find that there is a website that is inaccessible for you, please contact us and we will ask the site owners if we can help them to make their website accessible for you. Please email accessibility.services@shaw-trust.org.uk