Accessible Twitter

Posted on Feb 8, 2009

Among the more popular social media tools out there is Twitter, a microblogging site where users type momentary updates in 140 characters or less. Dennis Lembrée, the owner of web development company Web Overhauls (formerly CheckEngine USA) and a co-founder of Refresh Detroit, has developed an access portal for Twitter intended to better meet the needs of people with disabilities.

Accessible Twitter works just like Twitter with a few interface tweaks. Upon visiting the site, the first thing one notices is the large default text size and the high color contrast. The layout is simplified and consistent, with keyboard-accessible links and clean markup.

I tested the application with JAWS and a screen-reader emulator, and I found both experiences to be reasonably straightforward and barrier-free. Accessible Twitter is currently in the alpha stage, with direct messaging and replying features complete. Still to come are active hyperlinking, pagination and follower/followee viewing.

As content publishing moves from blogging long posts to short, quick bursts via messaging tools, it’s great to see these options provided for users with disabilities.

Addendum 05/15/11 – links updated per Mr. Lembrée’s kind request.