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Importance of Website Accessibility

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The internet has become the primary source of information when it comes to healthcare. Many people are now online dependent on getting health-related information since it’s fast and convenient. In the US alone, at least 80% of the population this year searched online for health and medical information, including healthy diet tips, and facts about medical procedures.

However, the question remains whether individuals with disabilities could use and benefit from modern digital mechanisms independently at all times.

What is Web Accessibility?

Web accessibility refers to the inclusive practice of providing all internet (and mobile devices) users the freedom of interaction, navigation, and access to various websites (incl. apps and tools) without fear of diverse accessibility barriers. It simply means that the Web should be able to accommodate all users with or without disabilities to have equal access to all its information and functionality.

What is ADA and How to Become ADA Compliant?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), enacted in 1990, bans all forms of discrimination against individuals with differing abilities. It also requires organizations to implement reasonable accommodations for those with disabilities. ADA’s goal is to provide equal-access accommodation and opportunities for PWDs.

Thus, consider full compliance with the DOJ’s ADA Standards for Accessible Design. This means all electronic and information technology should be accessible to PWDs. Although the DOJ has not yet published a regulation that applies for its full implementation, its absence does not mean that entities engaged in public accommodations may not comply with ADA standards.

This is because websites are considered places of public accommodation as per the Federal Court ruling on several cases. So, compliance is the safest bet to avoid a lawsuit.

Accessibility Guide and Accessibility Statement

An accessibility guide will assist you in making your site more accessible and compliant with the law. While a Web Accessibility Statement helps you avoid legal consequences for non-compliance as well as let your site visitors know your intent and commitment to accessibility.

  • What is Website Accessibility Guide

These are guidelines that you should follow when designing and developing sites such as WCAG 2.1 and ADA Standards for Accessible Design. It usually includes four principles: perceivable, understandable, operable, and robust.

  • What is Web Accessibility Statement  

Web accessibility statement refers to your declaration to the public that you are committed to making your website accessible based on web accessibility standards.  Ideally, it should be a brief yet succinct policy statement. It must affirm commitment and intent to making it accessible for everyone.

  • Web Accessibility Policy Statements: Best Practices

When redesigning or developing your site, or considering publishing a Policy Statement—you should first evaluate your accessibility. Doing so address possible problems or allows you to mention it in your statement that you are working on it. This is the best way to communicate with your disabled visitors that you are committed to making it accessible.

Below are some web accessibility policy statement’s best practices:

  • Make a simple yet clear statement about your intent and commitment to following accessibility guidelines.
  • Make it highly visible and place it in the footer of every page.
  • Offer a clear path of communication so visitors can easily reach you.

Web accessibility standards into UX Design 

Web accessibility standards should also apply as UX design best practices. Simple interfaces, alternative user pathways, and among others makes the web so much more useful to people with disabilities. Ideally, web accessibility UX design should be navigable with a keyboard alone, works with assistive technologies, and are easy to understand.

  • Enable keyboard navigation for web design 

Most users, in general, prefer keyboard navigation, especially with hotkey shortcuts. However, for disabled users, enabling this feature is a must as they rely heavily on it. Hence, it’s crucial to design a keyboard-friendly layout and navigation.    

  • Prioritize text clarity 

Text clarity is a common issue encountered by visually impaired users. As a designer, you should prioritize amplifying clarity of letters and clarity of text blocks (legibility and readability). 

Ideally, 4:5:1 should be the minimum contrast ratio between text and background. While the required body text should be at least 16 pixels. Then, line spacing must be around 25% of the font size. Including the 16-pixel minimum size above, space should be at least 4 pixels.

Additionally, authorizing font augmentation in style sheets by utilizing other measures aside from pixels, like em, pt, or relative sizes.

  • Don’t rely exclusively on color 

Almost 10% of the population suffers from color blindness. While color-coding can be used as a fast and effective communication concerning functionality, don’t neglect to add labels to explain important functions. If unsure, it’s best to try looking at your interface in a black-and-white filter when designing for the visually-impaired.

  • Order content in HTML for screen readers 

Since the inception of HTML and CSS separation, developers can make changes to what users see even without modifying the code structure.

And this is highly favorable to screen readers allowing them better usability. With this change, you can reorganize the code to make it suitable for screen readers without altering the screen layout. The navigation menu can stay at the top while the code stays at the bottom—this is a win-win for both sighted users and visually impaired.

  • Explanatory link text

Text descriptions are useful to users allowing them to better distinguish the links and evaluate whether to follow it. The description should give the user a hint where it leads. A good practice should be to include only the necessary and never too much.

  • Use a 40×40 pt. clickable area for touch controls

People with larger fingers sizes, or use assistive technologies, or are technically disabled, benefit from touch controls when navigating the web. So, when designing, aim using 40×40 pt. clickable area for touch controls because less than that can frustrate some users.

  • Do not forget to follow the accessibility checklist

Above mentioned tips will help to have a better UX in general. However, following everything stated in the accessibility checklist as mandated by WCAG will provide the most meaningful and relevant experience to all users. Don’t forget to follow the checklist starting from images, color, text, audio, navigation, site structure, forms to text elements. 

Conclusion

The importance of web accessibility is to provide everyone, including PWDs, equal access to the web. Developing an accessible site is a moral, ethical, and practical thing to accomplish.

Importance of Website Accessibility

David Gevorkian 

CEO/Founder
David started Be Accessible because of his passion for website accessibility and ADA compliance. He spent much of his career working for financial institutions creating websites and mobile applications. He earned his Master’s in Business Administration from Salve Regina University in Rhode Island. David is an advocate for creating web interfaces usable by all people. He enjoys recording music and playing soccer with friends.

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Education

Four Best Places to Study Computer Science

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Computer Science has always been an in-demand discipline. Many students aspire to study CS to improve their programming skills and commit to technology development. They challenge their knowledge, complete various courses, and practice skills to have ample experience upon graduation. 

Nowadays, numerous educational institutions offer CS courses for students. The most reputable universities have a lot to offer when it comes to core subjects and electives. Let’s look at the best places to study Computer Science in a broader scope.

Criteria for Selecting the Best Institutions

Although a bounty of universities offers CS programs, not every institution provides students with practical knowledge. Computer Science is a rapidly changing field, so it is critical to update curricula annually. Besides, many other factors are pivotal in evaluating the quality of the university’s course. Among them are:

  • A number of undergraduate degrees awarded: Such a number should be relatively low, e.g., less than 2,000. 
  • A number of doctorate degrees awarded: Year by year, it is harder to get a doctoral degree, especially in CS, which is why such a number has to be insignificant.
  • Student to teacher ratio: The fewer students the teacher covers, the better. This way, learners can acquire more skills and google “do my computer science assignment” more rarely. 
  • A number of new students: Students often try to enroll in the course that suits their interests and financial capabilities, which is an excellent indicator when evaluating a college.

Stanford University

Many rankings place Stanford University as the best school to study CS, and it is for a reason. Stanford was founded in 1885; it is located in California’s Bay Area. The University has seven schools that offer graduate and undergraduate studies. The Computer Science department offers both a major in CS and a minor in CS. The University has an individual approach to every student, allowing them to concentrate on their areas of most interest. 

Apart from the CS degree, Stanford University offers interdisciplinary degrees with the elements of Computer Science. Stanford CS students can choose one of the following CS degree tracks:

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Biocomputation
  • Computer Engineering
  • Graphics
  • Theory
  • Systems
  • Human-Computer Interaction

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

MIT was founded in 1861, Cambridge, Massachusetts, Boston. Massachusetts Institute of Technology has five schools. The University offers a wide array of available courses in Computer Science. MIT divides its subjects into 

  • Basic 
  • Undergraduate Laboratory
  • Senior
  • Advanced Undergraduate

The institution offers undergraduate and graduate studies. For MIT undergraduates, the Department provides seven programs leading to the Bachelor of Science. In turn, Master’s students can choose one among five available routes. 

Carnegie Mellon University

Although Carnegie Mellon University is ranked 94 in Global Ranking, it has one of the most potent Computer Science programs. CMU pays close attention to applicants and freshman students, requiring them to complete a batch of preliminary courses, such as:

  • Principles of Imperative Computation
  • Principles of Functioning Programming
  • Mathematical Foundations for Computer Science
  • Parallel and Sequential Data Structures and Algorithms
  • Introduction to Computer Systems
  • Algorithm Design and Analysis

Only after their completion can students choose elective courses related to:

  • Logics and Language 
  • Software Systems 
  • Artificial Intelligence 
  • Domains 
  • Computer Science 
  • Mathematics and Probability
  • Science and Engineering

Aside from these subjects, students can select additional non-lab courses like Thermodynamics, Geology, Fluid Mechanics, Stars, Galaxies and the Universe, etc.

Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH Zurich)

ETH Zurich is a well-known and reputable academic institution. It provides high-quality education in a dozen subjects, including Computer Science. The CS has a terrific and well-grounded teaching staff, which puts ETH Zurich on top of the best places to study CS. 

Swiss Federal Institute of Technology teaches a fundamental knowledge of mathematics, electrical engineering, and, above all, computer science. In addition to core subjects–software engineering, theory, and data processing–students can pick many other courses pertinent to their area of interest. 

ETH Zurich takes every student earnestly and provides a list of essential subjects from the first year. For example, students are expected to establish a sound basis in math, programming, and algorithms. Every student has to attend classes in:

  • Introduction to programming
  • Data structures and algorithms
  • Linear algebra
  • Discrete math
  • Parallel programming
  • Analysis

During the second year, students are expected to brush up on their methodological background, which is why they have to complete the following subjects:

  • Theoretical computer science
  • Minor and Science in perspective
  • Probability and statistics
  • Computer networks
  • Data modeling and databases
  • Formal methods and functional programming

Notably, the second and third year is taught in English, whereas the first is conducted in German.

At the beginning of the third year, students are obliged to choose their specialization: systems and software engineering, theoretical computer science, or information and data processing. 

Bottom Line

The list of outstanding academic institutions that offer Computer Science can go on and on. The mentioned universities are a drop in the ocean. However, this list sheds light on programs along with universities that engage students and help them enrich their knowledge in Computer Science.

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Education

How to Translate more 5,000 characters limit by Google

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Google has added a 5000 character limit to Google translate, which is very surprising. The popular service now lets users translate texts of only 5000 characters in one go, and the rest in multiple tries.

How to Translate more 5,000 characters limit by Google

A small counter is now visible at the bottom right corner of the text box, which now counts and reveals the number of characters as you type them. It shows that the maximum number of characters now allowed in the service is just 5000. The box of translation limit in Google search has also been set as 2,800 characters. It remains unclear why Google has set the new limits.

Google translate has recently completed 10 years of its release. Last month the internet giant had announced that the service will be getting Neural Machine technique which will make it even more powerful. The service currently supports eight languages including German, Spanish, English, French, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Turkish.

The new limits will make it very tedious for people who wish to translate longer documents via Google translate. The above limitation has not been set for web pages that will have a bigger number of characters. However, Google Translate’s API has the same limits of 5000 characters.

https://cloud.google.com/translate

How Google Translate AutoML Translation works

Google may have its own reasons for limiting text translations, but the whole process of translating documents has become very difficult for users.

How to get past 5000 Character Limit with Chrome Extension

Step #1 – Add Chrome Extension

install Chrome Extension

Step #2 – On Chrome Extension and Setup:

Setup extension

Step #3 – Open your text with Chrome Explorer and use Google Translate Extension:

How to Translate more 5,000 characters limit by Google

You can translate web pages or local files without 5000 Limit.

You can open:

  • pdf
  • csv
  • txt
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Education

How e-learning is changing the Education System

Getting an education has never been easier than nowadays. The possibility to access any information online opens up new learning opportunities.

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10 Best Enterprise-level learning management systems (LMS) for 2020

Today, we have instant access to tons of educational information: online courses, books, lectures, podcasts, etc. It seems like it was only yesterday that we were unable to study at schools and universities without our physical presence. But the global pandemic made certain adjustments. Overnight, every educational institution around the world decided to either temporarily close or work online. 

E-learning has become popular very quickly. Even the biggest library mankind has ever seen is now available at our fingertips. We can look up any information about anything at any time. It’s no surprise that e-learning apps have skyrocketed in popularity as they offer convenience and flexibility in attaining diverse skills.

Moreover, those wishing to enter the smart education market got the opportunity to do so in an effortless manner thanks to service companies like Diversido. They create exactly the type of web or mobile application that users would love. This might be a competitive edge that any e-learning business needs in order not to just survive but thrive. 

The future of education: Online vs Traditional

The global pandemic affected the world drastically. Now, having an opportunity to travel, attending concerts or festivals, or meeting with friends sounds like a blessing. Educational institutions were forced to adjust to the new reality just like any other business or individual. 

Although solutions for online education had existed for a while, institutions still preferred the traditional class-attendance system. But in 2020, things changed. Even after the pandemic, the trend for e-learning is expected to persist.

Students can now attend lectures at their favorite universities without bearing the travel and campus costs. In response to the pandemic, most universities began to offer free online courses. Among them are top-tier institutions such as Harvard, University of California, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Yale, and Princeton. This gives people access to resources from the most prestigious learning centers in the world. 

The most popular e-learning platforms are Coursera and Edx. Both platforms offer plenty of courses on different subjects. Some of them require some payment or you can have access to most of the courses’ materials for free, but with some limitations. For instance, certificates, quizzes, and feedback are usually not available if a course is free. Both Coursera and Edx offer Financial Aid if it’s needed.

Coursera offers up to 4000 courses from up to 200 top-tier institutions that are divided into eleven categories, such as Business, Languages, Computer Science, etc.

EdX, in its turn, offers up to 3000 courses from up to 140 elite institutions that are divided into 31 categories. If you’re interested in not only completing a specific course but having a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree, it is also possible, but quite expensive. 

Researches indicate that online education is more convenient and more effective. According to Entrepreneur, students retain information 25%-60% better when studying online. They are also able to complete their tasks 40%-60% faster. For the most part, it happens because students can learn at their own pace. They focus on their individual strengths and weaknesses, which allows them to be more efficient while studying the material. Earlier, it took time to get to the classroom or a study group. Now, the classroom is just a click away. 

Why online learning is efficient  

Expanding on the points mentioned above, let’s consider five key benefits of online education. 

Flexibility 

Online education allows students and teachers to interact and communicate at their own leisure. It means that participants access study materials on their own schedule. This can be beneficial for students that are trying to find a balance between working and studying. Now, there’s no need to skip classes because of the job schedule. 

Accessibility and diversity

Today, most universities offer online versions of their programs. This even applies to Ivy League schools that were once considered too exclusive. A student is no longer limited by geographical location, tuition fees, or any other factors. Now, a student is only limited by their desire to obtain the information they need to accomplish their educational goals. This means that students can study any topic at any time and cooperate with the world’s best professors. And this is from the comfort of their homes. Therefore, the popularity of online education continues to grow at an ever-increasing pace. 

Customized learning experience

Gen Z loves customization. So, it was only a matter of time that they would customize their learning experience as well. Customization may result in smaller class sizes, better student-professor interactions, and thus, more feedback. Also, it allows students to maximize their strengths and work out self-development strategies to overcome weaknesses. 

Money savings

Last but not least, it’s a lot taking online classes is a lot cheaper. Physical presence in the class requires you to live nearby. Getting to the university by public transport may be both time-consuming and expensive. Meanwhile, relocating to the city or country where your university locates involves even more significant spendings. If you live far away, you may have to move to campus, and that’s an expense. You also have to pay tuition, which is too much for some people. The list can go on. But you probably get the gist of it. Taking free classes online saves you not only money but also the most precious resource — your time. So, don’t miss out on the opportunity to obtain world-class education for a few bucks. 

Conclusion 

Long story short, online education has already proved that it is a more efficient and practical option when compared to the traditional approach. The lockdown of 2020 highlighted this and now, there’s no coming back. Online education is cheaper, more efficient, and it gives students access to some of the best universities in the world. It allows even those with a busy work schedule to find time for study. It has revolutionized the way people see and interact with academia. For many, obtaining higher education has now become a reality.

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