October is National Disabilities Awareness Month

The 2008 slogan is "America's People...America's Talent...America's Strength!" Not too crazy about the exclamation point--the slogan is strong enough to stand without it. Good marketing strategy for Boomers and technology as well.

So let's deconstruct. "America" mentioned three times. Focuses attention on the fact that one in five Americans* has a severe disability. There are government online fact sheets with loads of data--the U.S. Department of Labor, that may be compliant but not necessarily usable. Small type font. Navigation background and link colors clash way too painfully to browse. The press release is the perfect example of a factual, cold, dry legislative writing style which is great, but doesn't invite further investigation--chalk it up as a reliable source to link, and move on. I got out as fast as I could bookmark it.

If you're looking for a ride that glides through the architecture like a Ferrari in the Hill Country, check out WorkWorld, the Virginia Commonwealth University Employment Support Institute program. This site is an excellent example of a well-designed, usable information architecture that zips you to the fact you want--quick and easy. It's comfortable, draws me in--larger font size, no retina-searing colors, well-labeled, you always know where you are and how to get back. Now what researcher in their right mind would not just love to have that experience every time we go source sleuthing?

*This U.S. Census Bureau fact sheet is awful to look at, but wowie--what a great compilation of statistics, in a user-friendly presentation. Note especially the numbers in Education, Plugged into the Net, and Serving our Nation figures. That's where I got the one in five factoid.

Back to the slogan. "People...Talent...Strength." I often think of all the returning Iraqi veterans who suffer from Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). America will have more and more talented, strong folks needing to access the internet in ways that are easy to install from the get-go, and are good for everyone. We're all going to need it, sooner or later.

So take a few minutes to check out these sites, and see if you agree with my review. If you learn just one new thing about transforming disability into usability, that would be loverly.

Here's a random photo, apropos of nothing, I just like the cool blue and green glass sculptures against the limestone background. Austin Civic Center, SE entrance.