Site for Young People with Intellectual Disabilities: A Review

Mencap is an advocacy- and service agency for people with intellectual disabilities living in The United Kingdom.  It also has a service to produce “Easy Read” content.

Its primary Web site, Mencap, is designed for the population it serves.  It has a newer site that is too, and which targets teens with intellectual disabilities.  This review is about the latter.

Site Design

The home page of the Young Mencap Web site, pictured below, exemplifies its bright, colorful look.  It uses cartoon- and photographic imagery.  Three big buttons, front and center, present content choices.

Web page with colorful imagery & 3 big buttons for site content

Features for People with Intellectual Disabilities

The Web site’s development and testing were led by a group of young people with intellectual disabilities, aged 14 to 19.  It has the following accessibility- and usability features for that population.

  • contextually-relevant navigation images persistent throughout the site;  (They use mouse roll-overs for text labels that appear above them and, at least on the home page, photos of related activities that appear in place of the them.)
  • pages that focus on two or three content choices;
  • content choices represented in every case by big, relevant-photograph buttons;
  • text that meets the guidelines suggested by WebAIM;
  • videos with simple controls and accompanying instructions on how to use them.

Accessibility Issues

Unfortunately, the site has its problems.

  • Its text-to-speech feature is broken.  Even if it were working, its activation button (top, right of each page) does not indicate what it does.
  • Its videos do not use an accessible player, and are not closed-captioned.
  • There is no integrated method to enlarge text size, nor are there instructions on how to do so using Web browsers.
  • Its accessibility statement is simply written, but mentions only two such features.
  • It has minor accessibility errors on every page I tested.
  • To notify the site managers about the Browse Aloud problem, I had planned on using its Contact Us page.  Unfortunately, it required me to enter my age to submit a message, and I consider that personal information.  (Also, the form is inaccessible.)

Conclusion

I hope I can design a site as attractive as this one.  I do like the site’s usability features, and have learned from them.

Note: I found the Mencap Web sites through a referral from Inclusive New Media Design.

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