Accessibility

I’m fol­low­ing up on my post about LJ acces­si­bil­i­ty. I would have sim­ply replied in the com­ments, but I think it’s an impor­tant topic.

Web site acces­si­bil­i­ty, just like build­ing acces­si­bil­i­ty, is about mak­ing resources avail­able to every­one regard­less of any phys­i­cal dis­abil­i­ties they may have. You want to have all your friends able to vis­it your home, or all poten­tial cus­tomers able to enter your busi­ness, right?

What about hav­ing every­body able to read your website?

Many peo­ple who have visu­al impair­ments use screen read­ers. Web­sites that aren’t designed with acces­si­bil­i­ty in mind are very dif­fi­cult to take in with a screen reader.

Oth­er peo­ple may be unable to use a stan­dard point­ing device and need to use alter­na­tive nav­i­ga­tion. Acces­si­ble web­sites work for them. Oth­ers don’t.

While I don’t assume that my web­site or LJ is very high on any­one’s read­ing list, I’d like to make them as acces­si­ble as pos­si­ble as a mat­ter of prin­ci­ple. (If I had my druthers, our entire home would be wheel­chair acces­si­ble, too—and some­day, it will be.) 

If you are in charge of any orga­ni­za­tion’s site, I urge you to take acces­si­bil­i­ty into account when design­ing it. Here are some links for you.

Web Con­tent Acces­si­bil­i­ty Guidelines

These guide­lines explain how to make Web con­tent acces­si­ble to peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties. The guide­lines are intend­ed for all Web con­tent devel­op­ers (page authors and site design­ers) and for devel­op­ers of author­ing tools. The pri­ma­ry goal of these guide­lines is to pro­mote acces­si­bil­i­ty. How­ev­er, fol­low­ing them will also make Web con­tent more avail­able to all users, what­ev­er user agent they are using (e.g., desk­top brows­er, voice brows­er, mobile phone, auto­mo­bile-based per­son­al com­put­er, etc.) or con­straints they may be oper­at­ing under (e.g., noisy sur­round­ings, under- or over-illu­mi­nat­ed rooms, in a hands-free envi­ron­ment, etc.). Fol­low­ing these guide­lines will also help peo­ple find infor­ma­tion on the Web more quick­ly. These guide­lines do not dis­cour­age con­tent devel­op­ers from using images, video, etc., but rather explain how to make mul­ti­me­dia con­tent more acces­si­ble to a wide audience.

Cyn­thia Says Por­tal (How can I not like that name?

Cyn­thia is a web con­tent acces­si­bil­i­ty val­i­da­tion solu­tion, it is designed to iden­ti­fy errors in design relat­ed to Sec­tion 508 stan­dards and the WCAG guide­lines. The main pur­pose of this por­tal is to edu­cate web site devel­op­ers in the devel­op­ment Web Based con­tent that is acces­si­ble to all. This online test only val­i­dates one page at a time. Note this demo will test about one (1) page per minute / per site.

Bob­by

This free ser­vice will allow you to test web pages and help expose and repair bar­ri­ers to acces­si­bil­i­ty and encour­age com­pli­ance with exist­ing acces­si­bil­i­ty guide­lines, such as Sec­tion 508 and the W3C’s WCAG. To learn about prod­ucts to test web­sites of all sizes for acces­si­bil­i­ty issues, please vis­it the acces­si­bil­i­ty sec­tion on www.watchfire.com.

Sec­tion 508: The Road to Accessibility

In 1998, Con­gress amend­ed the Reha­bil­i­ta­tion Act to require Fed­er­al agen­cies to make their elec­tron­ic and infor­ma­tion tech­nol­o­gy acces­si­ble to peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties. Inac­ces­si­ble tech­nol­o­gy inter­feres with an indi­vid­u­al’s abil­i­ty to obtain and use infor­ma­tion quick­ly and eas­i­ly. Sec­tion 508 was enact­ed to elim­i­nate bar­ri­ers in infor­ma­tion tech­nol­o­gy, to make avail­able new oppor­tu­ni­ties for peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties, and to encour­age devel­op­ment of tech­nolo­gies that will help achieve these goals. The law applies to all Fed­er­al agen­cies when they devel­op, pro­cure, main­tain, or use elec­tron­ic and infor­ma­tion tech­nol­o­gy. Under Sec­tion 508 (29 U.S.C. ‘ 794d), agen­cies must give dis­abled employ­ees and mem­bers of the pub­lic access to infor­ma­tion that is com­pa­ra­ble to the access avail­able to oth­ers. It is rec­om­mend­ed that you review the laws and reg­u­la­tions list­ed below to fur­ther your under­stand­ing about Sec­tion 508 and how you can sup­port implementation.

Cyn is a proud Mommy & Mémé, professional geek, avid reader, fledgling coder, enthusiastic gamer (TTRPGs), occasional singer, and devoted stitcher.
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