Participate in The Helen Project

You can now use a free toolbar application to rate web sites on web accessibility. The toolbar is part of The Helen™ Project, hosted by the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB). The project is in a public beta so AFB is asking for feedback. All internet users, especially people with disabilities, are welcome to use the toolbar.

From the AFB:

We offer you a free downloadable, fully accessible, web site rating toolbar application (which we affectionately named “Helen™”) that will enable you to have your voice heard as you experience problems and/or success in using any web site. And, most importantly, Helen™ will enable the collective voice of the user community to be heard by web site providers…

If you are already a registered user of afb.org, you are ready to participate. Simply download the Helen Toolbar Application. Not a registered user? Register with afb.org and The Helen™ Project for free.

5 comments

  1. Jason Michael

    There is no way I’ll participate in “The Helen Project”. I’m all for usability, but I’m not going to support a project that could possibly take the data and use it against my website. Plus, why couldn’t the fault been put on the browser for not translating the website better for blind people?

    Maybe there should be a project that grades sites on how well they work on mobile phones, and then use the data for suing because of mobile phone accessibility issues… Ha, better yet, sue because its too hard for blind people to browse the site’s mobile phone version, (lets see how Target’s mobile version looks)…. better yet, blind people can sue the mobile phone companies because they can’t browse the internet better on a mobile phone…

    So for purposes of collecting data for this group of people, forget it…..

  2. Dennis Lembree

    I’m sorry you feel this way, Jason. Your web site must be pretty inaccessible and unusable. Also, I hope you don’t get low vision, arthritis, or loss of hearing when you get older, because then you won’t be able to use the web very well.

  3. Jason Michael

    Well, I’m still going to support the American Foundation for the Blind, and agree that its good to have websites usable for blind people. I suppose I need to read a bit more about the Target case, and see if it was due to them not wanting to cooperate with website changes or ignoring requests.

    Nonetheless, how are as webmasters supposed to know what makes a website “blind people” friendly? Is there equipment we need to buy?

    Do we need to have our articles in audio format? Plus I assume there’s certain degrees of blindness (just as in deafness – my wife is partially deaf), and we need to have our sites accessible from 10% to 100% blind?

    I suppose the Helen Project data *could* help in gathering data in this regard for blind people, using whatever software and hardware they use (perhaps data should be gathered on the users, to help correlate that info with the voting results), but I just hope its not used for further litigation purposes and instead used constructively.

  4. Dennis Lembree

    To learn about web accessibility, I suggest this blog and podcast, WebAIM, Accessify, AccessMatters, and studying the W3C’s WCAG. You can also follow the work of Joe Dolson, Mike Cherim, and Derek Featherstone.

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