News about Monsido

7 Tech Tools which Help People With Disabilities Access the Internet

If you are not a person with a disability, then you probably take it for granted that you can easily control a mouse, type on a keyboard, or click to select options when browsing online. Now imagine doing these same online tasks without being able to see, or without being able to move your hands. Suddenly, the web is looking like a completely different place – one which is full of hurdles and limited access.

Web accessibility for people with disabilities has been a concern since the birth of the web, and the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) was formed in 1997 by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to establish standards for web accessibility. However, only now is web accessibility really getting any major attention. Most countries still don’t have any laws about web accessibility, which means that people with disabilities often cannot access and use websites, including much-needed services on public sector websites such as for healthcare.

If you want to improve website accessibility on your site, you can start by learning about the WAI guidelines and using tools to check your website’s accessibility. However, this can only take you so far. To really improve web accessibility, you need to understand how people with disabilities use the web. Only then will you be able to make the meaningful changes which allow all people equal access to your website.

Here are just some of the many tools which people with disabilities use to access the web and overcome the challenge of limited accessibility found across most websites.

 

Web Access Tools for the Visually Impaired

Screen Readers: A screen reader is a software tool which reads text on the screen with a speech synthesizer or (less frequently) translates it into Braille.  But screen reader technology isn’t as simple as reading every single word on the screen (most web users only read about 20% of what is on the page, so imagine how annoying it would be if screen readers read everything from the advertisements to the footer!). Good screen reader technology will give visually impaired people options to easily control what is read, such as by finding strings of text on the screen, reading just a line of text, or reading just text in bold or certain color text.   Some popular screen readers include:

  • COBRA
  • Hal
  • JAWS (Job Access with Speech)

 

Braille Keyboards: A Braille keyboard is very different than a standard QWERTY keyboard. There are 8 keys which are used to compose the Braille letters. Of course, there are standard QWERTY keyboards which have Braille letters overlaid on them, but Braille keyboards are made in a way which makes navigation and locating the cursor much easier for visually-impaired people.

braille keyboard

 

Refreshable Braille Displays: This is a type of Braille keyboard which also has output options. It contains small pins which can be raised to form the Braille letters. Displays range from 18 to 84 cells. A cursor allows the user to select which text to translate, and the pins are refreshed throughout the reading process.   Braille displays are fairly expensive but are good options for people who use the computer a lot, need to speak and type at the same time, or who are deaf-blind and would not be able to use a Screen Reader.

refreshable braille display

 

 

Screen Magnifiers: Screen magnifying technology helps people who are visually impaired but not blind to view information on a computer screen.   There are numerous types of screen magnification technology, such as external devices which act like magnifying glasses outside of the screen to advanced software which is installed on the computer. The best screen magnifying technology doesn’t just increase the size of the information on the screen, but has functions like reducing glare, increasing contrast, and improving cursor tracking.

 

Web Access Tools for people with Physical Disabilities

Sip and Puff Systems: Have you ever seen a person in a wheelchair controlling movement by breathing into a straw? This is a puff-and-sip system. The technology has been adapted to allow people with physical disabilities, such as paralyzed people, to also access the computer. The device works similarly to a joystick, but one which is controlled with breath. It recognizes sips or puffs and translates these into commands such as mouse clicks or keyboard characters.

puff and sip system

 

Hands-Free Mouse Tracking: There are now many truly-amazing ways which physically-impaired people can control a cursor without having to rely on a mouse or keyboard commands. One option is FaceMouse, which turns a standard web camera into a mouse operator. It does this by recognizing face or head movements and translating them into commands, like clicks. Basically, you get to use your head movements as a joystick. FaceMouse even lets users set certain movements to certain commands, like “Open Mouth” to “Enter Key.”

Another option for hands-free mouse tracking is to use Lomak, which is a light-operated mouse and keyboard. A small device with a laser pointer is worn on the head (or, alternatively, on the arm). By moving the head to point the laser light at various points on the keyboard or screen, users can control the cursor. The Lomak keyboard is also controlled by the laser light, and has an option for voice-controlled confirmation of commands.

lomak keyboard

A third option is EyeGaze Edge system. This truly-cool system works by having a specialized video camera mounted below the screen. The video camera observes the user’s eyes to determine where the user is looking. The user then operates the system by looking at special keys which are displayed on the control screen.

eyegaze edge system for physically disabled

 

Voice Controls: Voice control software includes programs which convert Speech to Text, and also allow you to command the computer with your voice. One of the most well-known and feature-rich program is Dragon. It lets you enter text anywhere you find a text box and you can even tell it where to put the cursor. The tool isn’t perfect though and physically-disabled people will need to rely on other tools such as switch activations to fully access the web.

 

Website Owners — Accessibility is Your Responsibility

Bear in mind that none of these assistive technology tools are perfect, and they can be costly. Further, in order for many of the tools to work properly, the website much be designed in a way which allows accessibility. If you don’t put meaningful ALT text on images, then even the best screen reader won’t help blind people understand the image. If you don’t space Buttons well apart, then even people using the best hands-free mouse are going to have some wrong clicks. The bottom line? Website owners need to make sure their sites are designed in a way which doesn’t just meet accessibility guidelines, but in a way which allows all people to equally access and use the web.

Monsido Keeps Growing, So We’re Moving to a New Data Center

Here at Monsido web governance software, we are pleased to announce that things are going great.  So great, in fact, that we are moving to a new and larger data center!

The new data center means we will be able handle all of the new customers we are adding every week and help even more businesses and organizations improve website SEO, Quality Assurance, and  Accessibility. It also means that we will be able to run our services more smoothly, develop new web governance features, and continue to deliver excellent services.

As a Monsido customer, you can rest assured that we’ve planned this data center move carefully and it will be completed without a hitch.  However, there are two aspects which may affect you:

  1. Monsido will be unavailable during the data center move
  2. Our IP address will change

 

1. Availability During the Data Center Move

The data center move will take place next weekend, April 30th and May 1st, 2016.  Monsido web governance tool will not be available during this time!  Don’t worry – we will run your regularly scheduled scans as soon as the migration is complete!

 

2. Monsido IP Address Change

Because of the move, our IP’s crawler will change from 148.251.19.198 to 130.211.65.55.  This will take effect May 31st, 2016.

For many of our customers, the IP address change doesn’t matter.  However, if you are using our IP for whitelisting or for automatic login to restricted content, then you will need to update the IP address in your system!

If you have any questions about whether the IP address change affects you, feel free to contact us.  The Monsido team is always here to help and make sure you get the most out of our web governance tool.

We apologize for any inconvenience the data center move may cause you.  We hope you understand that this move is done so we can serve you better now and in the future. Here’s to our mutual success!

New DK office

We’ve Outgrown Our Office Again!

Back in 2013 when we started Monsido, we were in a cramped office space where our ideas literally bumped into each other as they came out.   This intimate environment brought out some great innovations, but soon our ideas needed more space to grow. So we moved to a new office.   Well, it turns out that our big ideas needed even more space! Now, we’ve moved to a new location where we can grow even further.

Our new location means we have the space to expand our team to serve you even better. We will be better able to stay in contact with our international customers and can be even more flexible with scheduling demos and training.  And, most importantly, we have the space to brainstorm and develop even more great ideas and improvements for Monsido features.

Monsido is really proud to be the website quality assurance tool of choice for businesses and institutions worldwide, and that we are highly rated for what we do. We look forward to furthering our growth by providing high-quality services. A big thanks to our customers for making it possible!

The New Monsido Spell Check Tool

Having misspellings on your website is bad for your reputation and harms user experience. As part of website Quality Assurance, it is important that you take steps to detect and fix misspellings on your website. Monsido Quality Assurance tool is here to help! For a long time, our Spell Check feature has been in beta. Now, we are finally ready to launch the new version of Spell Check. Here are some of the features you can expect and how to make the most of them so no misspelling ever goes undetected.

 

Brand New Spell Check User Interface

Keeping track of misspellings is easy with our new Spell Check User Interface. In an easy-to-understand visual form, we show you:

  • Number of Misspellings found and on how many pages
  • Number of Potential Misspellings found and on how many pages
  • List of the most common misspellings on your site
  • List of the most important pages with misspellings
  • Graph showing misspellings throughout your scan history

It really couldn’t be simpler to get a complete overview of how your website is doing with spelling errors. Right from the Overview page, you are just a click or two away from solving the most pressing spelling issues on your site!

 

Monsido Spell checker

 

Potential Misspellings

When we first created the Monsido misspelling tool, we only flagged misspellings. We soon realized that this wasn’t good enough. Now, we’ve split flagged words into Misspellings and Potential Misspellings.

Potential misspellings are the words which haven’t been confirmed as misspellings yet. Once you confirm a misspelling, you can easily find it in the Misspellings section. This ensures that you are quickly alerted to common misspellings, such as a product name which your copywriters often get wrong.

 

View Misspellings by Page

At Monsido, we are all about giving you options and control over how you manage your website. One way we do this is by letting you view errors by page. Now you can do this with misspellings too! Just select “Pages with Misspellings” to see a list of pages along with each page’s Language, number of Misspellings, and number of Potential Misspellings.

From here, you’ve got numerous options. You can confirm the misspelling, add it to your dictionary, ignore it for that page only, or view the misspelling on the page.

pages with misspellings

 

Add Words to Your Dictionary with One Click

Every website has some correct words which may get flagged as misspellings. For example, your brand name might be viewed as a misspelling. We’ve made it easier than ever to add these words to your dictionary so they don’t get flagged again.   All you need to do is click “Add to Dictionary.” Since the page language is automatically detected, the word automatically gets added to the appropriate dictionary!  You also have the option of adding a word to all of your language dictionaries.

add misspelling to dictionary

 

Multiple New Language Dictionaries

Monsido is a global company with customers around the world, and many of our customers operate in multiple languages.   So, we are really proud that our Spell Check feature now has 39 language dictionaries.

We won’t list all of our new language dictionaries here, but we would like to point out that you can now choose different forms of English (US, UK, CA, and AU), different forms of German (German, Austrian German, and Swiss High German), as well as many more languages.

 

Language Automatically Detected

Having multiple language dictionaries could have gotten messy and caused numerous words to incorrectly be flagged as misspellings. To prevent this, we’ve implemented a powerful function which automatically detects what language is on a page. That way, your Dutch pages aren’t getting flagged misspellings on your mostly-German site, your Spanish pages getting flagged as misspellings on your mostly-English site, and so forth.

Unfortunately, our Automatic Language Detector can’t detect the difference between different types of English (US, UK, CA, and AU) right now. US English is set as the default form of English. If your website has English content, please remember to choose your type of English under “Default Language” in the settings. In the case of English, the “Default Language” will override the Automatic Language Detector to make sure your site is being scanned for misspellings with the right type of English.

 

Ignore Words On a Single Page

Do you have a website where you talk about foreign politics? But you also have an employee named Ms. Forein?  You can see how those two words on your website could cause some confusion! For situations like these – where a word might be a misspelling on one page but correct on another page – we now allow you to ignore words on a single page instead of throughout the entire site.

To ignore words on a single page:

  • Select “Pages with Misspellings.”
  • You will see a list of pages where the misspelling is found.
  • Next to each page, you will see two icons. Click on the “Confirm” icon. You will now have the option to “Add to Dictionary” or “Ignore” for just that page.

spell check ignore on page

Of course, we still let you ignore a misspelling throughout your entire website too. You just need to go to add the word to your dictionary.

 

Not Quite Perfect, But We Are Getting There!

These are just some of the improvements we’ve made to the Monsido Spell Check feature. The feature isn’t 100% perfect yet, but we are getting closer. We hope that these improvements will make it even easier to manage your website. If you have any questions, remember that we are here for you!