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  Resources in Support of Full Web Access
 

Support Full Access

Can everyone can use your wonderful web site? A screen reader takes the text on your web site and reads it out loud for people who might have difficulty reading the screen. Can a screen reader read your web site? Can a person using a screen reader navigate and find the information you offer? Do you want everyone to use be able to use your site? Do you know whether they can?

If I put this comment When last visited this web site did not provide full access. next to your link it means your web site is excluding some people. Changing this is not expensive, nor is it difficult.

The first step is to ask "Does my site have a problem with accessibility"? A quick check - turn off the graphics in your browser. Now access the site. If you can't see any text chances are neither will the screen reader. There is more to it than that, but that takes care of the obvious, and most common problem, not labeling images with text tags, and poor naming of links. Using frames can exclude people if the frames are not properly names and if the individual frames lack navigation. To continue your check look at the links below for a "validator" that can help you find out if there are problems, and if there are, what it takes to fix them.

Hey, listen up this should not be expensive or difficult. To make your web site accessible you don't need fancy software, no special equipment required And, no, you don't (usually) need to add sound tracks. Just a little thought and attention to detail. It's pretty straightforward stuff. It is kind of sad to dedicate a lot of time and effort into designing a web site that excludes many people.

If you use Flash, check that you have set it up so it doesn't act as a barrier. Is what you are using Flash for so important that you would rather people who can't/won't use it just stay away from your site entirely? If not, then don't make it so that is what you force people to do.

A few people I've contacted have rejected the idea of full access without so much as taking a moment to find out what it involves. That kind of reaction angers me. It is a deliberate refusal to so much as consider making reasonable accommodations. It is so easy to make sites accessible. A decision not to try is nothing short of intentional exclusion. Why not at least try?

Visitors to your site deserve the same kind of information even if they are using a screen reader. If you have a spacer graphic the tag should be alt="" so the screen reader knows you intended that graphic to be ignored. Remember that "blind" does not usually mean sightless. It is incorrect to decide that everyone using a screen reader can't use your graphics. Describe the graphic - the person may decide they want to make the effort to view it.

Please do not write me with accessibility questions. While I'm fully committed to the concept I have no expertise. I make my site accessible by keeping it simple. If you want to use bells and whistles, you can still make it accessible. I really want you to support accessible web sites so I provide, here, the information on why and how to do it. I don't have any other information. This is it.

If you wish to support full access you may use the Full Access button http://www.dogplay.com/Images/full_access.gif on your site.

Here are the sites to explore:

 

Wikipedia on Web Accessibility
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_accessibility

Excellent overview of the various accessibility needs and resources. It is a good reminder that accessibility isn't just about screen readers.

Site for Accessible Web Design
http://www.umich.edu/~webacces/About.html

Tutorials, commonly asked questions, great resources for the non-professional web page developer.

Web Accessibility
http://www.itc.virginia.edu/desktop/web/accessibility/simulation.html

OK. So you are a little confused and a little worried. You aren't very technical so how the heck do you know whether your page provides full access, and is there anything practical you can do about it? This site should help you answer those questions.

Getting Started: Making a Web Site Accessible
http://www.w3.org/WAI/gettingstarted/

This site is designed to provide information to people new to the concept of designing accessible web pages. It is, however, not designed for the casual web page designer. It is very complete and very detailed, intended for professionals in the web design business. Please don't let the apparent complexity scare you. Do what you can, a little at a time.

Screen Reader Simulation
http://www.webaim.org/simulations/screenreader
You are asking me to do what?!

A sighted person used to pointing and clicking with a mouse may have just a bit of difficulty imagining exactly how it is that a blind person uses the web. Well, quit imagining and read this!

Web Accessibility in Mind
http://www.webaim.org/
Want help?

Do you want to learn how to check your site for accessibility? Do you want to learn how to make it accessible? If you do, this is a great place to start. Not only are there tutorials, but also a message board where other web designers can offer some suggestions and problem solving. It isn't hard! Plunge in and give it a try. People will help if you are open to trying.

Electronic Curbcuts: How to Build an Accessible Web Site
http://www.icdri.org/CynthiaW/ecc.htm

An article describing the basic accessibility principles

Non-W3C Technologies Techniques for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0
http://www.w3.org/WAI/GL/WD-WCAG10-NONW3C-TECHS-20000623/#flash

Information on implementing Flash without impairing access.

Adobe Accessibility Resources
http://www.adobe.com/accessibility/index.html

If you use Flash on your site you should be sure you are using it in a way that does not impair full access. This page is by the provider of Flash and offers information on how to achieve that goal.

And *please* remember, if you decide you want to exclude anyone who can't or won't use Flash at all do them a favor and configure your page so non-Flash users can see your "Don't bother with this site if you don't use Flash" message right away. Don't make them wait forever for Flash to try loading. This is easy to do. Not doing it shows either ignorance or contempt. And since you now know its possible ignorance no longer applies.

Improving Accessibility, While using Flash.
http://cookiecrook.com/AIR/2003/train/flash.php

It isn't "don't use Flash" its how you use Flash.

 
Cynthia SaysT portal
http://www.contentquality.com/tutorial/a11.htm
The Cynthia SaysT portal educates users in the concepts behind Web site accessibility. It will provide an example on an inaccessible element, then the corrected version.

 

Accessible Design Tools
http://www.anybrowser.org/campaign/abtools.html

This site offers a number of resources including information on web authoring tools useful in producing accessible web pages.

AWARE Center Homepage
http://aware.hwg.org/

. AWARE stands for Accessible Web Authoring Resources and Education. AWARE's mission is to serve as a central resource for web authors for learning about web accessibility.

Designing Accessible Web Pages for the Disabled
http://www.netmechanic.com/news/vol3/design_no17.htm

Why should you bother? Maybe reading this article will help.

Color Perception Issues
http://www.firelily.com/opinions/color.html

Color is a wonderful tool on the web, but it you rely on only on color to provide some information you can shut out as much as 12 percent of the population. This site provides examples showing the differences in how colors are perceived by people with different kinds of color vision deficiencies.

Neitz Color Vision Lab
http://www.mcw.edu/cellbio/colorvision/introduction.html

Really great information. For the web designer the most important are the two tours showing how a color blind person sees things.

Vischeck
http://www.vischeck.com

Ever wonder how you graphic or web page looks to a color blind person? This site doesn't just tell you the rules, it takes YOUR page or graphic and re-renders it to show you.

Color Vision - by Cal Henderson
http://www.iamcal.com/toys/colors/

Wow - useful and impressive this page allows you to pick a text color and a background color then select various types of color vision.

Tools for Creating Accessible Web Pages
http://www.unc.edu/cit/webaccess/tools.html#5

Links to a variety of tools that will better help you understand the need for accessible web pages, and how to achieve that goal.

Understanding HTML validators
http://www.pantos.org/atw/h-valid.html

Your first experience with an HTML validator can be overwhelming unless you know what to expect. Maybe not so fun, but very valuable.

W3C HTML Validation Service
http://validator.w3.org/

This is one of many sites that can evaluate a web page to predict how accessible it is.

World Wide Web Consortium, Web Accessibility Initiative
http://www.w3.org/WAI/

Offers guidelines and resources on ensuring that web pages are fully accessible.

AbilityHub - Assistive Technology for computers and disability.
http://www.abilityhub.com/

Assistive Technology for people with a disability who find operating a computer difficult, maybe even impossible. This web site will direct you to adaptive equipment and alternative methods available for accessing computers

Equal Access to Software and Information
http://www.rit.edu/~easi/law/weblaw1.htm

Applying the ADA to the Internet: A Web Accessibility Standard by Cynthia D. Waddell, JD

SNOW resources: Web Accessibility
http://snow.utoronto.ca/access/index.html?showaccess=1

A nice list of links to more sites and information of web accessibility.

Anybrowser FAQs
http://www.anybrowser.org/campaign/abfaq.shtml

I think this page answers the most common "Why should I bother" kind of questions.

Accessible Web Page Design
http://www.makoa.org/web-design.htm

A list of links to other sites offering information and resources on creating pages that are truly accessible.

IBM Accessibility Center: Software Guidelines
http://www-306.ibm.com/able/guidelines/software/accesssoftware.html

A checklist that will most likely be understood only by professional developers, but a darned important checklist anyway.

Designing More Usable Web Sites
http://trace.wisc.edu/world/web/

A great big collection of links on the topic. Any resource you need is likely to be listed here.

 
JAWS for Windows
http://www.freedomscientific.com/fs_products/software_jaws.asp

One of the most popular screen readers, used by people who can't easily see what is on the monitor. It translates the text on the screen to mechanical voice.

 
Benefits of Accessible Design
http://jarmin.com/accessibility/access/benefits.html

Some businesses choose to leave out what they view as the "low-end" of the user base. In some cases this is a considered decision based on technological needs and the expected actual visitors. But in other cases the consideration just isn't there. Exclusionary methods are often chosen because the designer (or company) simply lack the knowledge and skills to do a better job.

Accessibility and Technology, Introduction to the Screen Reader
http://academictech.doit.wisc.edu/

Again, get an idea of how the blind person surfs the web.

Dive into Accessibility
http://diveintoaccessibility.org/

This site offers a wide variety of tips for testing and correcting accessibility.

Designing Accessible Web Pages
http://interact.uoregon.edu/wrrc/access.html

In a concise manner overviews the entire spectrum of accessibility issues and offers reference information.

browsershots.org

Check your web page design in other browsers with Browser Shots.

Screen Magnifier

 

 

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