New Web Accessibility Articles, Accessible Style Switching
There are lots of great new and recent articles, tutorials, and tips about Web accessibility. Today’s post includes links to articles and tutorials on Web accessibility in general, accessible forms, accessible style switching, including a look at this site’s style switching, accessibility and the blind and low vision users, helpful accessibility tools for Web developers, and more.
Working with Others: Accessibility and User Research by Maurizio Boscarol, dated 09 October, 2006 for A List Apart provides fascinating and insightful findings regarding truly usable, accessible sites for the blind. For example, regarding the top-of-the-page
title element and
As I observed a blind web user navigate through a few pages, he reported that hearing the
h1content on top of the page was boring and redundant for him. Because his screen reader read the content of the
titleelement first, the
titleelement served as the actual title of the document for him, and the
h1- which merely repeated the content of the
titleelement - was useless. Of course, this was only true when the
titleelement contained useful and pertinent information.
Given this information, a good guideline might suggest that the
titleelement contain basic orientation information, including the name of the site and of the specific page in the site. The
h1should then be preceded by links to the main areas of the document, like “go to: content, main navigation, secondary navigation, footer,” to allow blind users to skip potentially redundant information (a repetitive h1).
WCAG doesn’t explicitly say this; the guidelines say that “repeated groups of links” should present a skip link. This may be true, but it isn’t enough, and even very rudimentary user testing uncovers a need for more detailed guidelines in this area.
The article also covers placement of navigation on the page, low vision users and the need for larger and bolder text, and the need for far more accessibility research to be conducted and published.
The information about larger and bolder text inspired me to create another style sheet switching option for this website, which I began last night (it’s not online yet, as it’s not finished, and I need to also test it further).
- My current “Larger” style switch choice is aimed more for those who prefer slightly larger text, especially those over 45 with hyperopia, aka far-sightedness or presbyopia, which both result in difficulty focusing close-up.
- My current “Contrast” style sheet provides more contrast and has the same font sizing as the “Larger” switcher.
- I also want users to be able to retain their style switching choices from page to page, which currently isn’t
So, since neither my current “Larger” or “Contrast” switch choices provide large enough or bold enough text everywhere as this new article testing suggests for low vision users, I’ll be adding that choice in the near future.
, and hopefully soon also coming up with a better solution than I’m currently using. It must be an accessibility-friendly, cross-browser solution that allows for multiple style sheets, preferably with cookies or something similar to keep the user choice from page to page. I’m currently looking at the following:
- Build your own PHP style sheet switcher by Roger Johansson.
- PHP Style Changer Experiment by Mike Cherim.
- Graceful Degradation with Style Switching Dated 24 August, 2006, updated 02 October, 2006, by Glenn Yonemitsu.
Web Standards Group Meeting Covering Blind Web Users, Mobile Web Content
If you’re in or near Sydney, Australia 19 October, 2006 there’s a Web Standards Group meeting with speakers on: The Web - A Blind Perspective (Lee Kumutat, Training and Braille Products Manager from Quantum Technology), and The Mobile Web - What You Need To Know Right Now (Dominique Lee, Online Producer at ABC and an active member of the Mobile Content Industry Development Group).
More New or Recent Accessibility Articles, Accessibility Tools, Low Vision and Blindness Information
Just a few new and recent articles, tutorials, blog posts, tips, and tools related to website accessibility:
- Accessibility for all vs. for people with disabilities
Roger’s take on this often-debated topic. Good reading, as usual from Roger. Dated 04 October, 2006, by Roger Johansson, 456 Berea Street.
- Beyond the Guidelines: Advanced Accessibility Techniques
Hidden text for screen readers, helpful links text, font resizing, more. Dated 07 August, 2006, by Trenton Moss for SitePoint.
- Disabled web users rank their usability priorities
Results of a 208-user survey conducted by User Vision, UK. Dated 11 August, 2005 for Out-Law.com.
- The Great Accessibility Campout
Be sure to check out the Comments Re: The Great Accessibility Camp-Out, too. Good discussion there. Dated 01 October, 2006 by Gez Lemon and Mike Cherim, for Accessites.org.
- How useful are accessibility evaluation tools?
by Karl Dawson, dated 01 September, 2006 for Accessites.org.
- Today’s AJAX and DHTML Best Practices
AJAX, DHTML, and accessibility best practices. Covers several important articles on tests done and findings. Be sure to check out the comments here, too. Dated 09 October, 2006 by Bob Easton, Access Matters.
- Aging Eye Disease and Vision Problems in the US
Article with helpful diagrams, graphs about aging, eye disease, and future projections. Via The Eye Digest
Recent Articles, Tutorials on Accessible Forms
- Awesome Form v2
“Using simple and semantic HTML, this method uses comprehensive CSS to create visually pleasing and extremely accessible web page forms for all purposes.” You can download and use all the markup, CSS, and documentation for use at your own sites or to use as a learning tool to create your own accessible forms. Dated 22 June 2006, by Paul Armstrong, Paul Armstrong Designs.
- Prettier Accessible Forms
How to create portable, accessible forms that can be the basis for any project’s forms. Also explains the use of the
More on Web Accessibility
There are plenty more, too. Here are a few helpful resources for more on Web accessibility:
- Brainstorms and Raves Archives: Accessibility Category, Accessibility Category Feed
73 posts as of this post, on accessibility, with plenty more on the way.
- WebsiteTips.com Web Accessibility Resources
Annotated resources for W3C, US Section 508, articles, tutorials, and tips around the Web, accessibility tools, accessibility discussion lists, helpful Web accessibility books, and more. Created by yours truly.
A site dedicated to furthering the cause of web accessibility by offering free tools and other useful resources. Created by Ian Lloyd.
- Web Developer Toolbar Extension for Firefox, Flock, Mozilla, and Seamonkey
by Chris Pedrick. Highly recommended. I use this every single day. Extremely useful and helpful.
Updated 18 October, 2006 11:15am, pdt
Comments, Trackbacks: 6 so far. Add yours!
This discussion has been closed. Thanks to all who participated.