Vincent Bijlo tests our accessibility
We test the Peppered sites for accessibility with real people in collaboration with New Pack Inclusion Creators. We met and visited comedian, writer, and podcaster Vincent Bijlo as a result of this. Bijlo, who has been blind since birth, demonstrated how to navigate the internet and purchase tickets for a performance. A pleasant and informative visit during which we learned what a Peppered site can already do and where it can improve.
About Vincent Bijlo
Vincent Bijlo was born blind and spent part of his childhood at the Royal Institute for Education for the Visually Impaired and Blind in Huizen. He graduated from St.-Vitus College in Bussum with a VWO diploma (Pre-university education) in 1985 and thereafter spent several years studying Dutch at Utrecht University (1986-1988).
He began performing in cabaret while still a student. His first professional triumph as a comic came in 1988 when he took home the audience and personality prize at the Leiden cabaret festival. Additionally, he began writing and released his first book, ‘Het Instituut’ (translation: ‘The Institute’) in 1998. Later, he published three more novels and began a podcast.
In 1989, Vincent Bijlo purchased his first computer. Shortly after, he met someone who showed him a braille display. This bar enabled braille reading for every bit of information on a screen.
Braille displays are compatible with computers and laptops, but more recent versions also function on tablets and smartphones, which can be connected with a cable or via bluetooth.
Additionally, using the braille display requires screen reading software. Both voice and braille versions of the visual information on the screen are translated by this screen reader. The braille display can then be used for reading and typing, and this bar can be used to fully manage the browser.
The braille displays come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The most typical, which Bijlo also employs, has 40 braille cells. Per braille cell, dots incline and descend. Each of these combines one to six tactile dots to create letters, numerals, and punctuation.
Like many other people, Bijlo uses his smartphone extensively. It's interesting to note that, because he reads everything using the braille display, a website for him on a mobile device resembles one for him on a PC almost exactly. The larger PC screen does not give you an overview when using the braille display, which lets you navigate by reading the page from top to bottom.
Test for accessibility
As a test, Vincent Bijlo demonstrated how he would use the Peppered website to purchase tickets for a concert. During this test, we went through the complete ordering process and once again came across a number of areas that may be easier to access. Now that we have addressed those issues, we will soon test them further. By doing this, we greatly improve accessibility for the blind and partially sighted on all Peppered sites and, consequently, the art and cultural offerings.
“You can find a lot of information regarding digital accessibility, and we have already achieved significant advancements for the Peppered sites. But then we're not entirely sure how those websites are used by persons with disabilities. That’s why a test like this one is so valuable.”
Ivo van der Ent, Product Owner at Peppered
New Pack Inclusion Creators
New Pack helps organisations with inclusion and accessibility issues by means of advice, seminars and practical support in the realisation. They often do this for municipalities, cultural institutions and festivals. All this according to one principle: practice what you preach!
In collaboration with New Pack, the Peppered sites are tested for accessibility with real people. In the coming period we will have our software tested more often by New Pack. This allows us to make the sites, and thus the offer in the cultural sector, even more accessible.
Testing with Vincent Bijlo
As an employee of New Pack, Vincent Bijlo tests websites for user-friendliness. Are you curious about how accessible your cultural organisation's website is and are you interested in having this tested? Contact New Pack for more information and to book your test.