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Disability Arts Online

DAO sub-editor Marian Cleary asks how we can become more accessible when it comes to content on the site / 31 May 2012

As Colin Hambrook reported recently, DAO is soon to have a facelift. As well as responding to your comments made via our recent reader survey, we are also keen to build on our previous successes regarding accessibility to the site.

After the site was last overhauled in 2008, DAO received a Commendation for digital access in the prestigious 2009 Jodi Awards. It’s no surprise really since the web company DAO works with - Surface Impression – have long and established relationships with many organisations who prize accessibility to their web content as much as valuing what they are putting out there.

You though, the readers of and audience for our content, are the ones who can really give us an extra layer of insight into the process of making our journal more accessible. And for that reason, we are asking you for comments about how you think we can make things even better.

Bear in mind, we aren’t so much talking about the current site, but we need to know about the niggly things that bug you about accessing things on the web generally, perhaps with a screen reader, or when engaging with images or navigating external links. It might be that you would like some extra ways of opening content or you have a bit of computer kit that doesn’t work with the way DAO currently does things. Or perhaps you simply want more video and audio.

From my point of view, as sub-editor at DAO, speaking as someone who didn’t cry when she saw her babies for the first time after giving birth, but did boo tears of joy when I scored over 80% in my National Council for the Training of Journalists subbing exam, I’d like to know a bit about what works for you specifically when it comes to how text is presented.

It might be that you want more things in bold, such as titles and names, or you think that single quote marks for speech and quotes works better than double quote marks. Should we cap up acronyms like ATOS or should we follow Guardian Style and present them like this: Atos? Are our paragraphs too short? Too long? Do we present the inevitable mix of styles and tones of our writers effectively so you know what to expect? Do you want more text on a page or less?

We aren’t doing a formal survey on this but I would really appreciate your thoughts. You can either comment below this item or send me an email to If you are emailing, can you put DAO SUGGESTION in capitals (just like that) so I can keep your ideas together and so I don’t miss anything?

Once I’ve had a good look at what you have to say, I will be feeding this back to Surface Impression where appropriate.

Then I will be completing my own current work in progress: The DAO Style Guide! This will outline where we are currently in terms of making DAO as accessible as possible and will also be a good reference point, I hope, for all the writers and contributors to the site and all those who are engaged in publishing content. This guide will be another way in which we move towards our goal of becoming as accessible as possible.

So whether you are a regular reader of the content on the site or an occasional visitor to DAO, if you have an opinion on all of this, let me know.

Keywords: access,disability arts online,internet,writing


vince laws

31 May 2012

i think the text and style in good as it is, clear, uncomplicated.

could you put the blogs in alphabetical order?!

well done on the 80+%

i find instructions like the one above on how to email and what to put in the subject makes it daunting for me, mental health stuff, so i'm less likely to respond... which is why i doing it this way.

i hope that's helpful. it's a brilliant website, much needed, and does important work.

best, vince