SitePoint Sponsor

User Tag List

Page 1 of 5 12345 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 124
  1. #1
    SitePoint Zealot
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Ryde, Isle of Wight, UK
    Posts
    116
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Question How far would you go with accessibility?

    HI I'm new to the forum, but I am interested in how far you would go in making a web site accessible.
    I have been interested in this particular subject for many years now, and try to ensure that all my sites scale (zoom), high contrast and that they work with Lynx and with the style turned off. I was originally an Optician who had an interest in patients with visual impairment and realised how important this particular subject is.
    I have also experimented with access keys as well as tabbed systems.
    I have a friend who is partially sighted and his father is blind and they test drive my sites. The father uses a dec reader and braille writing system where he can download pages from web sites.
    I am personally disappointed that so many browsers don't work with some of the systems I like to use, I often feel that it is a waste of time putting in special effort to ensure that there is cross accessibility for all browsers.
    The laws here in the UK are far more lax than in the USA, although the Royal Society for the Blind are being far more aggressive in prosecuting companies who fail to comply with even the most basic accessibility guidelines.

  2. #2
    SitePoint Author silver trophybronze trophy

    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Ankh-Morpork
    Posts
    12,159
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I'll make sure that my markup is valid and that it's as semantic as it can be. That means I'll use the available element types as the HTML4 specification says they should be used (although there are cases when it's not entirely clear).

    I'll provide text equivalents for all images that convey information. I don't use any audio, video or other multimedia formats, because I don't need them and I don't have the required skills to produce them.

    I'll indicate the main language for the page and mark up instances of language changes.

    There'll be one or two skip links if I think they will be necessary and/or useful.

    I'll also make sure that all the content comes in what I perceive as a logical order.

    These basic steps guarantee that the site will be reasonably accessible and usable in non-CSS browsers.

    Then I add CSS styling and – where appropriate – behaviour through unobtrusive JavaScript to improve aesthetics and usability. I'm taking as much care as I can during this step to maintain the innate accessibility founded in the first step. In other words, I try not to put up any unnecessary barriers for anyone.

    But that's where I stop. I don't add any particular accessibility add-ons, like font sizing widgets, style sheet switchers, text-to-speech converters and suchlike. Why? Because I think this should be handled by browsers and assistive technologies, not by web sites.

    All graphic browsers, AFAIK, allow the user to change the base text size (at least provided the site has specified relative sizes only). As long as the text can be resized using built-in browser functions, I see no need to have to provide the same functionality. Some responsibility must still lie with the user.

    All browsers that support multiple windows and/or tabs provide mechanisms with which the user can choose how to open links. If a visitor wants to open a link in a new window/tab, he or she can do that very easily. (I do use pop-up windows in rare, special cases, e.g., for help texts in complex forms.)

    A user who needs page zoom, high-contrast colour schemes, etc. should use a browser that provides those features. Opera, for instance, has page zoom, supports user style sheets (and comes with a number of them, including two high-contrast ones), spatial navigation and so on. It's free and works on most common operating systems and hardware platforms.

    A user who needs text-to-speech should probably have a proper screen reader. Unfortunately those are quite expensive, and not all countries subsidize assistive technology for people with disabilities, but I still think it's a bit too much to ask for most site owners to provide TTS. A user who is not completely blind can use the Voice feature in Opera or the Fangs extension to Firefox or the built-in speech synthesis on Macs. Opera Voice is available in English only, sadly enough. I don't know about Fangs and the Mac speech thingy.
    Birnam wood is come to Dunsinane

  3. #3
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy C. Ankerstjerne's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    The Kingdom of Denmark
    Posts
    2,692
    Mentioned
    7 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Good post, Tommy
    Christian Ankerstjerne
    <p<strong<abbr/HTML/ 4 teh win</>
    <>In Soviet Russia, website codes you!

  4. #4
    SitePoint Enthusiast
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    81
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    About the only thing Tommy didn't mention was accesskeys.

    Use accesskeys warily. Generally, they are more likely to cause more problems than they solve.

    If you use a key combination that is already in use for that browser, it will over-ride the existing browser behaviour meaning that the user's browser won't function in the way they expect.

    Most keys are used by at least one browser (number keys are your best bet, but these still cause problems with entering particular characters).

    Unless the users of assistive technology have visited your 'accesskeys' information, they aren't likely to know what your accesskeys are anyway, and the majority of users of assistive technology tend not to use accesskeys in the first place so you aren't really benefiting anyone much.

    ...and I'm not convinced that UK law is more lax than USA law in this regard - what do you base this on?
    Jack Pickard | The Pickards

  5. #5
    Robert Wellock silver trophybronze trophy xhtmlcoder's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    A Maze of Twisty Little Passages
    Posts
    6,316
    Mentioned
    60 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I also would assume the UK law is a little tighter but of course nobody seems to use their teeth and bite over here.

    Well, I would agree both Assistive Device Vendors and Browsers don't always do too well at integrating with each other User Agent Accessibility Guidelines is a weakly supported area.

  6. #6
    Level 8 Chinese guy Archbob's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    Somewhere in this vast universe
    Posts
    3,732
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I don't believe in accessibility because my sites general do not target the visually impaired(and by this I mean extreme like complete blindness).

  7. #7
    Robert Wellock silver trophybronze trophy xhtmlcoder's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    A Maze of Twisty Little Passages
    Posts
    6,316
    Mentioned
    60 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Off Topic:

    Web Accessibility is not [just] about people with disabilities (although some people think so) anyway only about 1 in 10 people have one or more disabilities.

  8. #8
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy C. Ankerstjerne's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    The Kingdom of Denmark
    Posts
    2,692
    Mentioned
    7 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Archbob View Post
    my sites general do not target the visually impaired.
    Sure they do - there are several visually impaired webcoders, for example.
    Christian Ankerstjerne
    <p<strong<abbr/HTML/ 4 teh win</>
    <>In Soviet Russia, website codes you!

  9. #9
    SitePoint Addict
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    362
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    "Show me a profitable market of blind users and I'll give you content for blind users, until then stop bothering me".

    I'm not sure who said it, but sadly I'm sure it has been said. Having built government websites before, I am aware of and try to hold to what needs to be there for visually impaired end users. To be honest, in this day and age there's so much discrepancy between browsers built for sighted people that browsers for not-so-sighted people don't get their fair attention.

  10. #10
    Cha, Cha, Cha!!! Gamermk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    604
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Archbob View Post
    I don't believe in accessibility because my sites general do not target the visually impaired(and by this I mean extreme like complete blindness).
    It doesn't really matter if you believe in it. It exists.

    Accessibility = the audience able to use your site

    What you are really saying is you don't try to expand your audience. Which I guess means you'd rather focus on the people that are already a part of your niche rather than helping expand your niche as a whole. A slow business model.
    People don't read ads. They read what interests them,
    and sometimes that happens to be an ad.
    TrulyBored.com | TankingTips.com

  11. #11
    is craving 'the potato' slayerment's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Scottsdale, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    604
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Gamermk View Post
    It doesn't really matter if you believe in it. It exists.

    Accessibility = the audience able to use your site

    What you are really saying is you don't try to expand your audience. Which I guess means you'd rather focus on the people that are already a part of your niche rather than helping expand your niche as a whole. A slow business model.
    I beg to differ. Although I agree that accessibility is important, I would say only to a degree and it depends on a number of things.

    In most cases though, majority of your site audience (like 95+%) IS able to access your site without a problem. Rather than spending more time to get the remaining 5% accessible wouldn't it be a smarter business decision to build another site that is 95% accessible rather than nitpicking the remaining 5%?

  12. #12
    SitePoint Evangelist ldivinag's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    N37 33* W122 3*
    Posts
    414
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    i work for a public univ in calif.

    we ARE required to pass all section 508 requirements (federal funding says so).

    now remember, simply adding ALT tags to your images is JUST THE BEGINNING...
    leo d.

  13. #13
    SitePoint Evangelist ldivinag's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    N37 33* W122 3*
    Posts
    414
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Archbob View Post
    I don't believe in accessibility because my sites general do not target the visually impaired(and by this I mean extreme like complete blindness).

    ask the TARGET corporation how they are handling the flak from their decision...
    leo d.

  14. #14
    SitePoint Zealot
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Leeds, U.K.
    Posts
    127
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I have just done an accessibility module at Uni, so whilst I am not an expert in this, I do seem to know more than the average amatuer web coder (which is worrying!)

    I think that as long as you keep accessibilty in mind, and not try to jam it in at the end, it can be fairly easy to implement. As stated, using valid, semantic code is a pretty obvious and important one.

    A good site to check if you are adhering to the "rules" is:

    http://www.cynthiasays.com

    sorry if it has already been posted, I only skimmed the thread!

  15. #15
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophybronze trophy Stormrider's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Nottingham, UK
    Posts
    3,133
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    More and more browsers are implementing access keys in a way that doesn't override the functionality of the browser now, so you will be able to use any key in the future without worrying. As for them not knowing which key does what, I know Opera pops up a list when you press a certain key combination (shift + esc rings a bell but im not sure), then you just press the letter that corresponds to where you want to go.

    Most of the sites I do use the UK Goverment Access Keys standard, and say so at the top of the page. This way, Alt-0 is always the accessibility page which has a complete list of access keys that I used on that particular site, Alt-1 is always home etc.

  16. #16
    Non-Member
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    78
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I generally try to keep my code as symantically correct as possible, or at least to the best of my abilities.

    I try to keep my page downloads as small as possible. I consider keeping page downloads to be very important for keeping my site easily accessible to poorer people who cannot afford broadband.

    I rarely provide ALT tags for accessibility reasons as I rarely (if ever) provide images on my sites which would need to be accessed by visually impaired users. The images are normally there purely for asthetic purposes and the text associated with the image generally covers everything anyone would want to know about the image anyway. I'm introducing RSS feeds wherever suitable so that users don't have to keep re-accessing my sites just to get updates on content, I guess that's more of an issue of users not 'needing' to access my sites to get to the content or to check for new content.

    I've never tried using access keys. Perhaps I should, but I've never seen a great need to and there always seems to be debate over what the best way to achieve this is so I've left the issue until I hear a good argument for it.

    I do concentrate on making sure my sites work at very large text and small sizes and work with no visual bugs across 99&#37; of the browsers used on my sites (latest versions of Opera, Firefox, NN, Safari, IE7, IE6 plus most other modern browsers).

    I make sure my sites are viewable in IE5, 5.5 etc. although they generally have some visual bugs which may look odd. But they're still usable with those browsers.

    I generally do some user testing with people with colour blindness, but I don't bother doing user testing for other disabilities simply because I don't know anyone with other disabilities which would affect using my websites.

    Plus there's probably a bunch of other things I do but can't think of right now.

  17. #17
    Non-Member
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    78
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by slayerment View Post
    Rather than spending more time to get the remaining 5% accessible wouldn't it be a smarter business decision to build another site that is 95% accessible rather than nitpicking the remaining 5%?
    Any web designer worth their salt should be able to design a site accessible to most (99%+) users IMO without any real effort. If you know enough about web design, the accessibility side of it should just happen, I don't think it should take any more effort unless you start doing exotic things like user testing or providing audio equivalents of text etc. But basic things like symantic coding, ensuring your site doesn't break with differing text sizes etc. should cover most of those remaining 5% I think.

  18. #18
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy KLB's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Maine USA
    Posts
    3,781
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I work pretty hard to make sure my site is as accessible as I can reasonably make it. There are times where one group of accessibility design considerations had to be balanced against other accessibility design considerations, which posed challenges. Overall I hope to have found a reasonable balance and most people with disabilities are able to fully utilize the vast majority of my site assuming they avail themselves of appropriate software/hardware for their disability.

    I use proper coding practices and try to use proper semantic structure of my HTML on the assumption that the accessibility software people are using will properly support said structure. The one thing I intentionally do that might cause some to cringe is to use fixed pixel fonts rather than relative fonts. My belief is that if the text needs to be resized so do all other aspects of my site (e.g. Opera's Zoom feature). I also believe it is the responsibility of the software to properly zoom an entire page, the way Opera does, and not just the text. Using different a dynamic sizing method for text and a static sizing method for everything else makes no sense to me. Besides if worse comes to worse, the user can always turn off my style sheets and my site will be completely functional without the stylesheets.
    Ken Barbalace: EnvironmentalChemistry.com (Blog, Careers)
    InternetSAR.org
    Volunteers Assist Search and Rescue via Internet
    My Firefox Theme: Classic Compact
    Based onFirefox's default theme but uses much less window space

  19. #19
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy KLB's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Maine USA
    Posts
    3,781
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by distortedrage View Post
    Any web designer worth their salt should be able to design a site accessible to most (99%+) users IMO without any real effort. If you know enough about web design, the accessibility side of it should just happen,
    I agree most of the accessibility stuff is pretty logical and straight forward. I've always used Lynx for my final is this site "fail safe" testing. I figure at the point in time that someone is using something equivalent to Lynx (e.g. dynamic Braille displays) they aren't looking for all the bells and whistles and simply appreciate when they can get to and access what it is they are looking for without added hassles.
    Ken Barbalace: EnvironmentalChemistry.com (Blog, Careers)
    InternetSAR.org
    Volunteers Assist Search and Rescue via Internet
    My Firefox Theme: Classic Compact
    Based onFirefox's default theme but uses much less window space

  20. #20
    Non-Member
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    78
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by KLB View Post
    most people with disabilities are able to fully utilize the vast majority of my site assuming they avail themselves of appropriate software/hardware for their disability.
    I agree with software/hardware issue. I'm not going to bother coding a site to work in IE5 etc. just because someone can't be bothered/don't know how to upgrade to a better browser. It's a two way street.

    Quote Originally Posted by KLB View Post
    The one thing I intentionally do that might cause some to cringe is to use fixed pixel fonts rather than relative fonts. My belief is that if the text needs to be resized so do all other aspects of my site (e.g. Opera's Zoom feature).
    I don't agree with this. I prefer text zooming as it doesn't distort images by displaying them at lower resolution than they were intended. I notice the menu in your site in your signature (http://environmentalchemistry.com/) breaks at higher text sizes, you could fix that by making those buttons float left so that they drop down to the next line when expanded. Simple solution and you'll keep the occasional text-resizer happy with minimal effort.

  21. #21
    is craving 'the potato' slayerment's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Scottsdale, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    604
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by distortedrage View Post
    Any web designer worth their salt should be able to design a site accessible to most (99%+) users IMO without any real effort. If you know enough about web design, the accessibility side of it should just happen, I don't think it should take any more effort unless you start doing exotic things like user testing or providing audio equivalents of text etc. But basic things like symantic coding, ensuring your site doesn't break with differing text sizes etc. should cover most of those remaining 5% I think.
    Yeah, I agree with that completely. You really don't have to go out of your way to make it accessible if you're building it right from the start .

  22. #22
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Tailslide's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Bedford, UK
    Posts
    1,687
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Can I just say - AGAIN - that accessibility isn't just about making website accessible to the blind or severely visually impaired.

    Blindness isn't the only disability. Websites should also be accessible, for instance, for those who are unable to use a mouse due to physical difficulties or those with perceptual or learning disabilities.

    We might well not have the abilities to test extensively across disabilities but we can certainly try to use our common sense and keep up on the latest thinking on the subject.
    Little Blue Plane Web Design
    Blood, Sweat & Rust - A Land Rover restoration project

  23. #23
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy Tyssen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Brisbane, QLD
    Posts
    4,067
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I do pretty much the same as Tommy for most of the sites I do. I went a little bit further with my own site and added a high contrast alternative stylesheet and user-defined accesskeys.

  24. #24
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy KLB's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Maine USA
    Posts
    3,781
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by distortedrage View Post
    I don't agree with this. I prefer text zooming as it doesn't distort images by displaying them at lower resolution than they were intended. I notice the menu in your site in your signature (http://environmentalchemistry.com/) breaks at higher text sizes, you could fix that by making those buttons float left so that they drop down to the next line when expanded. Simple solution and you'll keep the occasional text-resizer happy with minimal effort.
    Actually I have found it extremely difficult to impossible to not have my site break on larger text sizes unless everything zooms together. Ironically what makes my site break with people who screw around with my site is exactly what makes my site more accessible to people using hand held devices, dynamic Braille displays and text only browsers.

    If you turn off CSS you will discover that the order of display for the contents of my columns is the middle content column, the right menu column and the left ad column. To do this the contents of the left column has to appear after the middle and right columns in the HTML source. To do this I had to go to fixed width columns. The boiled down code for this is:
    Code:
    <div class="mainwrapper" style="width770px;margin:0 auto">
    	<div style="width:600px;float:right">
    		<div class="CenterColumn" style="width:440px;float:right">
     			{Main column content}
    		</div>
    		<div class="RightColumn" style="width:160px; float:right">
    			{Right hand menu column}
    		</div>
    	</div>
    	<div class="LeftAdColumn" style="width:160px;float:right">
    		{Left hand column contents}
    	</div>
    </div>
    In addition, when one digs deep into my site they will find true data tables that can go screwy if the containing text scales without everything else being scaled in conjunction.

    So what if graphics get a little pixelelated when they get scaled up. If someone needs to zoom in on the text to be able to see it, their vision is not so hot to begin with and a little picture pixelelation isn't going to be noticeable to them anyways. It is far better for the over all design of sites to remain in intact by having everything zoom together than to have only the text zoom, which breaks everything else. It is tough enough to make designs work correctly across different browsers (especially MSIE) and devices to then have to make allowances for inconsistent text sizing. I'm quite certain that lots and lots of website designs get pretty well mangled when text is zoomed without zooming everything else.

    I will stand by my belief that if text needs to be enlarged then so does everything else. As far as I'm concerned, it is the responsibility of browser to zoom everything together and since Opera does zoom in this manner I know it isn't that hard for browsers to do. The weight of accessibility can not be borne by the web developer alone, it must be shared by the software and hardware developers. If a browser does not zoom correctly, it is the browser that is broken.

    Oh, ironically, the top menu buttons can not be allowed to roll to the next line because of the way some versions of MSIE handle the drop downs because of MSIE's improper support of CSS. I had to fix the height of the menu and hide the overflow to keep the drop down menus from moving other objects on the page. This again is another example of why the entire page needs to be zoomed, not just text. The failure to properly zoom the page really is an accessibility design flaw of some browsers.
    Ken Barbalace: EnvironmentalChemistry.com (Blog, Careers)
    InternetSAR.org
    Volunteers Assist Search and Rescue via Internet
    My Firefox Theme: Classic Compact
    Based onFirefox's default theme but uses much less window space

  25. #25
    Non-Member
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    78
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by KLB View Post
    Oh, ironically, the top menu buttons can not be allowed to roll to the next line because of the way some versions of MSIE handle the drop downs because of MSIE's improper support of CSS.
    Yeah, dropdowns do throw a spanner in the works there! I'm sure you can do that though, I just can't remember how Or maybe I'm imagining it - quite possible.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tailslide
    Can I just say - AGAIN - that accessibility isn't just about making website accessible to the blind or severely visually impaired.
    Yeah, what's with that? Seems like a lot of people seem to have lost the point of the term "accessible" which does not mean anything to do with vision problems necessarily. Vision problems are an important factor in accessibility but it's not even the most major thing IMO. The most important accessibility issue is web browser compatibility - a huge number of people aren't going to be able to access your site if it doesn't work in IE6!

    Quote Originally Posted by Tailslide
    Websites should also be accessible, for instance, for those who are unable to use a mouse due to physical difficulties or those with perceptual or learning disabilities.
    I've been wondering about this with a dropdown I added to my site the other day. I'm not too concerned about people being able to access the first dropdown with the mouse, but I have a second tier dropdown (dropdown within a dropdown) which does require some good dexterity to reach without the mouse falling off the side of the dropdown. It's not a problem for most computer savvy mouse users, but I could imagine my mum having serious issues trying to use it and she doesn't even have a disability as such apart from being uncoordinated and computer inept.


Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •