http://store.simplyaccessible.com/virtual-seminar/accessible-maps/A workshop by Derek Featherstone:
What good are maps to blind people?
That's a question we get asked all too often. Back in November, I hosted a talk at a local partners offices about accessibility and how we can use accessibility as a design tool to solve other problems. Because, quite often, when we make something more accessible to people with disabilities, we make it better for everyone.
After the talk, I spent time with some of the audience that was there and I was asked by a number of people about maps. "How do we make maps accessible?" they asked. "Why would we waste all that time on a tool that is so visual and that blind people wouldn't really want to use anyway?" "What value are maps to blind people?"
So let me be blunt. Here's why we put together this course:
Making maps accessible doesn't just mean making them accessible to people that are blind using a screen reader. It means making sure that we do everything we can to ensure that people with any ability or disability can use the maps that we create.
There's generally two kinds of maps in this world. Maps for the sake of maps, and maps that serve a very specific purpose -- to show data; to provide routes; to orient oneself to find a local landmark. Those functional, specific maps are the kind that most teams want in their sites. And that functionality is something that everyone needs, including people with disabilities.
If you think that the companies that create the maps and their APIs are going to make things accessible for you by default, you're wrong. For whatever reason, Google Maps, Bing Maps and others aren't very accessible. If you want to do maps right, you'll need a guide. That's what this course is all about.