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Thread: Website Development Best Practices for the SCI/TBI Community

  1. #1

    Website Development Best Practices for the SCI/TBI Community

    Hello everyone,

    I am a web developer in Canada, recently I have been assigned to a project to create a website for SCI and TBI in/out patients for a hospital in the US.

    I was hoping the CareCure Community may offer some insights into best practices for developing websites for the SCI/TBI community.

    The biggest problem I am facing at the moment is finding best practices when building websites for the SCI/TBI community.

    I would be most grateful if you can pass on any information, your own personal likes/dislikes, links, presentations, etc as it relates to usability of websites.

    I do have a few specific questions as well:

    1) How does the community interact with their computers. Do you use voice, mouth wands, touch, puff/whiff, etc? What challenges does the community have interacting with the actual equipment.

    2) What is the communities view point on tablets? Are they widely used? How would someone with quadriplegia use a tablet? Would the tablet need to be specially mounted?

    3) What should not be included in a website targeting the SCI/TBI community?

    Thank you very much for any information you can offer.



  2. #2
    I use voice recognition. There's a way to move the cursor (the MouseGrid) but I prefer keyboard commands whenever possible. Conversely, people who have trouble using the keyboard are going to prefer using the mouse for everything.

    If you decide to use flyout menus, make sure they stay in place even when the mouse cursor isn't hovering over them as someone may have trouble keeping the cursor within the menu.

    Whenever possible, keep navigation elements (especially Next Page and Prev Page options) in the same place across pages. I always appreciate being able to rest the cursor in one place and just click through pages.

    If you have Ajax notifications make sure they can be cleared by hitting escape or another keyboard command. Don't make the user have to target a tiny x with the mouse cursor.

  3. #3
    Senior Member chris-k's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Scotch Plains, NJ
    Slightly technical reference answer:

    You are not the first to ask this, but thanks for considering web A12Y.

    The W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) is a good place to start, also follow the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2. See for more info.

    Also, be sure to use Responsive web design (RWD) for access on tablets and smart phones. There are books on RWD. A framework like WordPress ( will make this a snap!

    Yeah, tablets are very light and easy to use. I use a stylus with mine. They can be mounted in almost any configuration -- there are also A12Y guidelines for iOS and Android app development.

    Good luck!

  4. #4
    Soliloquy and Chris-k, thank you for your replies.

    Scrolling is an inherent part of every website. Are there challenges to the community when it comes to scrolling? Are there any techniques that I can deploy to make scrollable elements easier to use?

    Is font zooming an important feature for the community? I can imagine that some desktop monitors may be at a distance for some users. Being able to font zoom would be a good feature to add?

    Chris, thank you for the links. I am familiar with WCAG but a refresher on 2.0 is long over due.

    As well, all of the websites I work on these days are responsive, it's the only way to go. Targeting specific device dimensions is almost impossible with the number of devices on the market. Its way easier to take a responsive approach and meet your user where they live, weather that be on a tablet, smart phone or desktop.

    Thank you again.

  5. #5
    Senior Member chris-k's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Scotch Plains, NJ

    Yup, ya need to scroll on web pages, but this is possible with voice commands or other AT folks use. You probable don't need to do anything special. Most AT software & hardware will support scrolling.

    I personally like font sizing, especially on my tablet. At my age those tiny letters are impossible to read. Anyway, a few CSS classes can do this easily, so why not do it as part of universal design on every web page? There is no real downside.


  6. #6
    For me, personally, I use voice recognition to type and a trackball to move the cursor. I can't use my thumb to click quickly so I have the mouse buttons reversed and I just tap the right mouse button to click. There is a setting in the mouse configuration were all you have to do is hold down the mouse button for a few seconds and you will lock the mouse button down so you can drag the cursor. I do a lot of work from bed so I keep my laptop on a bedside rolling table rolled next to my knees with my trackball on the other side of my lap a book or clipboard. I have a picture somewhere so I'll have to dig it up to show you
    C-5/6, 7-9-2000
    Scottsdale, AZ

    Make the best out of today because yesterday is gone and tomorrow may never come. Nobody knows that better than those of us that have almost died from spinal cord injury.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by smashms View Post
    a good contact from carecure would be Jim and Wise Young, you can PM them both and ask your questions. Jim is the tech guy of this site so he may be a bit more helpful but wise may also be able to answer the questions as well.
    I think you mean (SysAdmin) Steven Edwards not Jim Bennett.
    The test of success is not what you do when you are on top. Success is how high you bounce when you hit the bottom
    --General George Patton

    Complex problems need to be solved collectively.
    ––Paul Nussbaum

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