Thursday, October 15, 2020

Get the Funkify Out: A Neat Accessibility Tool/Disability Simulator

 Are you all sick of me yet? Wow, that was a lot of writing/typing/conferring this week. to be honest, I've really missed it. I was happy to participate in PNSQC this year even in the unusual circumstances and challenging technical issues we went through. I will talk more about that in another post and also in the next The Testing Show podcast but for now, I want to share something a little new for me and maybe new for a lot of you all, too.

While I was developing my "Add Some Accessibility To Your Day" workshop, I reviewed the tools that I use regularly and looked to see if there was anything interesting out there I hadn't played with recently. Many of you know my general toolkit:

  • WAVE Browser Plugin
  • AXE Browser Plugin 
  • Accessibility Developer Tools
  • VoiceOver and NVDA Applications (MacOS and Windows 10)
  • NCSU Color Contrast Analyser
  • Hemingway Editor (yes, it is an Accessibility tool. FIGHT ME ;) )
I of course discussed these but I also found a newer tool that definitely interested me and that I've been having fun working with. That tool is called Funkify.

Funkify is a Chrome Extension and it is a little different than the tools mentioned above in that this doesn't really call out errors or find bugs... at least not in the traditional sense. This is a simulator that puts you in the driver's seat as any number of people with disabilities so you can experience your site through their eyes/ears/hands.

Funkify modifies your site so that you can see it as these personas see it. You also have the ability to create your own personas based on criteria that you deem important and you can adjust the level of challenge/disability.

For example, let's look at the W3C Before and After site.

How might this site look to someone with dyslexia? Funkify can give us an idea. Just press the toolbar and select the defined persona (in this case "Dyslexia Dani") and expand to see the options.

You can adjust the amount of jitter/scramble of the letters. Make it mild or severe.

Onvce you've dialed in the level you are interested in, let it run until you are satisfied (or dismayed, or annoyed, take your pick):

There are a variety of disabilities that can be simulated: color blindness, astigmatism, jittery hands, high distraction, macular degeneration, or you can create your own agent/persona with the criteria and level of disability that you are interested in simulating.

Give it a name and a description and save it. It's ready when you are.

This is not too far from my own visual situation. In fact, this looks very much like the page without my reading glasses.

In any event, if you want to have a simulator that will put you in the shoes of a variety of users, specifically those with disabilities, Funkify is worth a look. to be clear, the free version is limited, if you want to have all the options you will need to pay for the Premium version. still, if you want to have the opportunity to see what your site looks like in a variety of Accessibility scenarios, this might be just what yo uare looking for.

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