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Oded Elyada, a developer in the Microsoft's Israel Innovation Labs has created "Digital Lens", "a tool that helps designers, developers and testers check if their application or website is accessible to visually impaired users."

It's a downloadable tool for Windows 7 that adds a tray icon with a menu of the most common vision impairments that can be simulated:

image

If you select one, it filters your Windows display so you'll see what people with those impairments would see.

My employer is big on red/green metrics displays, like a monthly calendar showing red for days when applications had more defects than allowed by the SLA with the customer:

image

I've always wondered what those would look like to a person with red-green color blindness. Using Digital Lens, I was able to see that the colors do look different, but people with that impairment would see the red as light brown and the green as a darker shade of brown.

I'm sorry I can't show what that looks like here (The screen shots snagged with the filter on look normal when it's turned off, and my camera's batteries are dead - maybe tomorrow), but Channel 9 has an interview with Oded, with video demonstrating what Digital Lens looks like.

Do your users a favor and use Digital Lens to make sure your app is usable for people with visual impairments. As Oded says, "If you can see it, you can fix it!".  

Posted on Friday, July 16, 2010 10:41 PM freetools | Back to top


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