Brainstorms and Raves

Notes on Web Design, Development, Standards, Typography, Music, and More

Accessibility Books

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The books on Web accessibility below are each hand-picked to list here. In addition, I personally own most of these exceptional accessibility books, and the rest of the Web accessibility book recommendations are top-selling books that are highly praised by other Web professionals.

  • Access by Design: A Guide to Universal Usability for Web Designers
     Book cover: Access by Design: A Guide to Universal Usability for Web Designers, by Sarah Horton  By Sarah Horton. Published by New Riders Press, July 12, 2005. This latest book by Sarah Horton is receiving great reviews. You may recognize her name from her other popular books, such as the best-selling Web Style Guide co-authored with Patrick Lynch, also recommended by Brainstorms and Raves (see Recommended Books for Design and Layout). The publisher states,

    designers learn how to optimize page designs to work more effectively for more users, disabled or not. Working through each of the main functional features of Web sites, she provides clear principles for using HTML and CSS to deal with elements such as text, forms, images, and tables, illustrating each with an example drawn from the real world. Through these guidelines, Sarah makes a convincing case that good design principles benefit all users of the Web.

  • Building Accessible Websites (With CD-ROM)
     Book cover: Building Accessible Websites (With CD-ROM) by Joe Clark  by Joe Clark, published by New Riders, July, 2002. Exceptional book on accessibility and covers all the bases and then some. Joe explains what matters, why, and how to go about creating and maintaining an accessible Web site. Joe's book companion site: Building Accessible Websites Companion Site. You can even download all the chapters from his book there, although none of the images are included.
  • Design Accessible Web Sites: 36 Keys to Creating Content for All Audiences and Platforms
     Cover - Design Accessible Web Sites: 36 Keys to Creating Content for All Audiences and Platforms, by Jeremy Sydik. Pragmatic Bookshelf (11-2007).  By Jeremy Sydik. Published by Pragmatic Bookshelf (November 5, 2007). Learn how to create universally accessible Web sites based on best practice approaches, including how to create semantic, accessible HTML, audio, video, Flash, multimedia, PDFs, how to use progressive enhancement for the widest accessibility, and much more.

    From the author about his book:

    When I say “creating content for everyone”, that's exactly what I mean. The techniques that I cover in the book are targeted toward serving the audience of users with disabilities (and this is an important growing audience), but that's not all they're good for. If you want to reach audiences that use cell phones, PDAs, game consoles, or other “alternative” browsers, you need the same eye toward semantics, alternate access paths, and progressive enhancement that assistive technologies rely on.

    The publisher's description:

    It's not a one-browser web anymore. You need to reach audiences that use cell phones, PDAs, game consoles, or other “alternative” browsers, as well as users with disabilities. Legal requirements for assistive technologies as well as a wide array of new browsing experiences means you need to concentrate on semantics, alternate access paths, and progressive enhancement.

    Give your audience the power to interact with your content on their own terms. It's the right thing to do, and with a $100 billion a year market for accessible content, new laws and new technologies, you can't afford to ignore accessibility.

    With this book, you'll learn basic principles and techniques for developing accessible HTML, audio, video, and multimedia content. In addition, you will understand how to apply the principles you learn in this book to new technologies when they emerge.

    You'll learn how to:

    • Use best practices of accessibility to develop accessible web content
    • Build testing into projects to improve results and reduce costs
    • Create high quality alternative representations for your audience
    • Add accessibility features to external media like PDF and Flash
    • Negotiate the terrain of accessibility standards
    • Apply principles of accessiblity to new technologies as they emerge
  • Just Ask: Integrating Accessibility Throughout Design
    Just Ask: Integrating Accessibility Throughout Design. By Shawn Lawton Henry. (02-21-2007)  By Shawn Lawton Henry. (February 21, 2007). This book is available in print as well as online at The online version is also a great way to check out the book in more detail prior to purchasing the print version.

    From the publisher:

    Improve your websites, software, hardware, and consumer products to make them more useful to more people in more situations. Develop effective accessibility solutions efficiently. Learn:

    • The basics of including accessibility in design projects:
      • Shortcuts for involving people with disabilities in your project.
      • Tips for comfortable interaction with people with disabilities.
    • Details on accessibility in each phase of the user-centered design process (UCD):
      • Examples of including accessibility in user group profiles, personas, and scenarios.
      • Guidance on evaluating for accessibility through heuristic evaluation, design walkthroughs, and screening techniques.
      • Thorough coverage of planning, preparing for, conducting, analyzing, and reporting effective usability tests with participants with disabilities.
      • Questions to include in your recruiting screener.
      • Checklist for usability testing with participants with disabilities.
  • Maximum Accessibility: Making Your Web Site More Usable for Everyone
     Book cover: Maximum Accessibility: Making Your Web Site More Usable for Everyone  By John M. Slatin, Sharron Rush. Published by Addison-Wesley Professional, September 20, 2002. Rave reviews everywhere. From the publisher:

    Maximum Accessibility is a comprehensive resource for creating Web sites that comply with new U.S. accessibility standards and conform to the World Wide Web Consortium's Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0. This book offers an overview of key issues, discusses the standards in depth, and presents practical design techniques, up-to-date technologies, and testing methods to implement these standards for maximum accessibility. You will learn how to:

    • Write effective text equivalents for images and audio files
    • Caption soundtracks and describe the action of videos and animation
    • Set up data and layout tables that make sense to the ear and eye
    • Design Web forms that people can interact with via the keyboard and other input devices
    • Label forms so that people who use talking browsers can give the right information at the right time
    • Make scripts accessible to people who don't use a mouse
    • Create simple PDF files that are accessible to people with disabilities
    • Use cascading style sheets to make your thoroughly accessible pages look great

    Throughout the book, case studies illustrate how inadvertent accessibility barriers on major Web sites affect the ability of people with disabilities to locate information, participate in e-commerce, and explore the richness of the Web. These case studies demonstrate how certain design features can make access much harder, and how other features can greatly ease the use of a page or site.

    Most of all, this leading-edge guide reveals that a little extra design consideration up front can help you create a site that is not only a pleasure for people with disabilities, but attractive and pleasing for all interested users. In short, Maximum Accessibility shows why good design is accessible design.

  • Web Accessibility: Web Standards and Regulatory Compliance
    Web Accessibility: Web Standards and Regulatory Compliance, by Andrew Kirkpatrick, Richard Rutter, Christian Heilmann, Jim Thatcher, Cynthia Waddell. (Friends of ed, July 2006.)  by Andrew Kirkpatrick, Richard Rutter, Christian Heilmann, Jim Thatcher, Cynthia Waddell, along with Michael R. Burks, Patrick H. Lauke, Bruce Lawson, Shawn Lawton Henry, Bob Regan, and Mark Urban. Published by friends of ED, July 24, 2006. This is actually a new title for the rewritten, expanded, and updated version of the popular book, Constructing Accessible Web sites. This latest version provides an overview of Web accessibility first, followed by 12 chapters on how to implement an accessible Web site, including assistive technology (screen readers, browsers), content, navigation, data input, CSS, JavaScript, Flash, PDF, accessibility testing, an introduction to WCAG 2.0, and a case study on redesigning a university Web site. The final chapters of the book cover accessibility law and policy. Three appendixes include a glossary of terms, a guide to Section 508, and an overview of PAS 78. Several of the authors have information about the book, such as Jim Thatcher's News section and Richard Rutter's blog post, Web Accessibility: Web Standards and Regulatory Compliance.
  • Web Accessibility for People With Disabilities
    By Michael G. Paciello. Published by CMP Books, October 2000. One of the first books in print on this important topic, it remains a helpful book on accessibility.

Also Recommended

The following have at least a chapter on accessibility or include accessibility as an integral part of the book:

  • Build Your Own Web Site the Right Way Using HTML & CSS
    Build Your Own Web Site the Right Way Using HTML & CSS, by Ian Lloyd. SitePoint (May 2, 2006)  by Ian Lloyd. Published by SitePoint, May 2, 2006. This book is receiving rave reviews! Ian's fabulous new book teaches Web development from scratch, without assuming any previous knowledge of HTML, CSS or Web development techniques. It introduces you to HTML and CSS as you follow along with the author, step-by-step, to build a fully functional web site from the ground up. However, unlike countless other “learn Web design” books, this one concentrates on modern, best-practice techniques from the very beginning, which means you'll get it right the first time. By the end of the book, you'll be equipped with enough knowledge to set out on your first projects as a professional web developer, or you can simply use the knowledge you've gained to create attractive, functional, usable and accessible sites for personal use. For more information, see also the author's companion site for Build Your Own Web Site the Right Way Using HTML & CSS.
  • Deliver First Class Web Sites: 101 Essential Checklists
     Deliver First Class Web Sites: 101 Essential Checklists, by Shirley Kaiser. SitePoint (07-2006).  By Shirley Kaiser. Published by SitePoint Books, July 2006. While the entire book is packed with helpful checklists and explanations, examples, and references to help with Web site projects, an entire chapter is devoted to Web site accessibility: Chapter 10: Creating Accessible Web Sites - The Bare Bones of Creating an Accessible Web Site, Color for the Masses, A Thousand Words to Each Picture, Multi-purpose Multimedia, In Good Form, Sturdy Tables. You'll also find checklists to make sure your site is visually appealing, loads quickly, is search engine friendly, and more. Along the way, other chapters cover Web site optimization, preparing and managing Web site content, usability, information architecture, navigation, search engine optimization, color, design, testing, preparing for launch, post-launch follow-up, and much more. In addition, all those who purchase the book have special access to downloadable, printable checklists to use for all your projects. More information: Companion Site for Deliver First Class Web Sites: 101 Essential Checklists, author's Web site: SKDesigns.
  • Web Style Guide: Basic Design Principles for Creating Web Sites, Second Edition
    Web Style Guide: Basic Design Principles for Creating Web Sites, Second Edition, by Patrick J. Lynch, Sarah Horton. Published by Yale University Press, March 2002. By Patrick J. Lynch, Sarah Horton. Published by Yale University Press, March 2002. This best-selling book contains easy-to-understand theory and philosophy on designing, building, and implementing a Web site, along with helpful illustrations and resources. Some of the categories are Interface Design, Site Design, Page Design, Web Graphics, Web Multimedia and Animation, more. Excellent book. Also visit for an online version of the book and to learn more about this exceptional publication.

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Note: This is just a small sampling of the book recommendations that you'll find at my other site, Be sure to check out the larger Recommended Books, too!

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Recommended Books

Featured Book:

Cover - CSS Mastery: Advanced Web Standards Solutions, by Andy Budd, with Simon Collison, Cameron Moll. Published February 13, 2006.

Cover: Dont Make Me Think, Second Edition (2005), by Steve Krug. 

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Deliver First Class Web Sites: 101 Essential Checklists  Via Deliver First Class Web Sites: 101 Essential Checklists, by Shirley Kaiser. SitePoint Books (July 2006). 

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