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Moving towards an accessible site
A few pointers for the average website owner.
ukgimp




msg:348252
 2:05 pm on Aug 19, 2002 (gmt 0)

Building sites to make them accessible to as many users as possible need not be a biblical ball ache. Going through a few simple checks you can quickly get an idea how your page will look to a person with a disability.

One of the easiest things to do is use correct ALT tags especially for inline images and spacers. The RNIB (http://www.rnib.org.uk) suggest the use of alt="". This could be done site-wide by a find and replace or by using the accessibility extension for dreamweaver (yes I know ;))

Obviously it is much easier to design an accessible site from scratch than to do it retrospectively but that does not stop you trying. I would suggest that if you are trying to improve accessibility you will not be the first in line to have a law suit against you, that will reserved for the real bad boys or the people who should know better. [news.bbc.co.uk...] (halfway down)

In the UK sites will need to be Priority 1 WAI compliant due to SENDA and as part of a possible EU directive may even need to be Priority 2.

Other Things to Consider and test for:

Work towards validation of HTML and CSS
[validator.w3.org...]

Bobby, not the easiest to follow but will give you a good idea where to start
[bobby.watchfire.com...]

Turn all images off and see if you can navigate the page (related to alt tags)

Turn off style sheets and see how the content looks, does it still make sense (if you are unable to turn them off temporarily move the CSS file)

Use the largest custom font size (always use relative font sizes)

Resize the browser window (see if you have to scroll across the page)

Navigate using only the keyboard (some people cannot use a mouse)

Press tab to move through links (as above)

Check link text for information on where it will lead

Disable scripts, applets, animations (flash etc, a lot of people surf with Java disabled)

View page in black and white

Set colour monitor to high or low contrast

Test for colour blindness problems [vischeck.com...]

Pass the page though a text only viewer, if you cant make head not tail of it, you may have problems [delorie.com...]

Just a few things to consider and perhaps act upon, especially in the current litigative world we live in. After all it would be really bad PR (thatís public relations not PageRank :)) to be the first to be branded as discriminatory towards the disabled.

Just my musings.

Cheers

 

D3mon




msg:348253
 10:29 am on Aug 20, 2002 (gmt 0)

Does providing a downloadable text version of the site circumvent these particular legal issues?
How to view my site in Black and White??

Tul_A




msg:348254
 11:21 am on Aug 20, 2002 (gmt 0)

May I Recommend [diveintoaccessibility.org...] .
It is intended for weblogs but it has many great tips and I found it a great intro

choster




msg:348255
 2:25 pm on Aug 20, 2002 (gmt 0)

Those of us who work with the U.S. federal government and those clients who adopt fedgov standards (some non-profits and state and local governments) will be familiar with Section 508 standards (pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act).

See [section508.gov...] for official details. I believe Bobby is also supposed to check for 508 compliance.

Another good resource site for web accessibility is [webaim.org...] , which is sponsored by FIPSE, in the U.S. Department of Education.

ukgimp




msg:348256
 2:32 pm on Aug 20, 2002 (gmt 0)

Hello D3mon

I would not worry overly about these sorts of things as long as you are making an effort you should be OK and as with a lot of these sorts of things until a precedent is set and the subsequent appeal etc I would not imagine the use of a force by the Web Police :)

How to view my site in Black and White

I was looking for this and I felt sure it was something you could do in the settings in some browsers but I cannot find it. Instead press Print Screen and then paste it into Word or similar then print it on from there as it will be an image file. Do it this way round cos some html formatting does not print to well. To be honest though I would put this as a lowish priority to do.

I was just suggesting those as things you should consider. If you validate, use correct alt tags and dont fix font sizes you are well on your way.

Cheers

mfagan




msg:348257
 7:02 pm on Aug 20, 2002 (gmt 0)

See your site in B&W by using the bookmarklet available at [squarefree.com...]

D3mon




msg:348258
 12:59 am on Aug 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

I think it's the fixed font sizes that are my sites major problem in accessability. Unfortunately, with the current design, I'm kind of limited. I can make the content resize, but the 'menu' options will flake if they get much bigger.

I managed to view my site by ALT-printscrn'ing the window to the clipboard then loading in Photoshop and saving as a two color .gif image with forced colours of black and white. Content is still readable, as is the navigation, but the images aren't much to look at.

I picked up some great tips from the site recommended previously.

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