Category Archives: Accessibility

5 Articles you should read: 13 April 2010

Document Accessibility Should Begin at the Author Level, By Deborah Kaplan and Monir ElRayes. Government Technology, April 9, 2010. "…Significant progress has been made to improve the accessibility of content presented on Web sites, often in HTML format. However, the accessibility of other electronic formats, such as Microsoft Word documents and PDFs, still lags behind and is often added as an afterthought, if at all. Given the enormous volume of content created daily — often in the form of documents authored by individuals who know little about accessibility — this means far too much material is inaccessible to far too many people…."

SEO 101 – Parts 1 – 16, by Stoney deGeyter, Search Engine Guide, January 19, 2010 – April 1, 2010.

Part 2: Everything You Need To Know About Title Tags
Part 3: Everything You Need To Know About Meta Description and Keyword Tags
Part 4: Everything You Need To Know About Heading Tags and Alt Attributes
Part 5: Everything You Need To Know About Domain Names
Part 6: Everything You Need To Know About Search Engine Friendly URLs & Broken Links
Part 7: Everything You Need To Know About Site Architecture and Internal Linking
Part 8: Everything You Need To Know About Keywords
Part 9: Everything You Need To Know About Keyword Core Terms
Part 10: Everything You Need To Know About Keyword Qualifiers
Part 11: Everything You Need To Know About SEO Copywriting
Part 12: Everything You Need To Know About Page Content
Part 13: Everything You Need To Know About Links
Part 14: Everything You Need To Know About Link Anatomy
Part 15: Everything You Need To Know About Linking

Search and Rescue: How to Become Findable and Shareable in Social Media, By Brian Solis, Search Engine Watch, April 1, 2010. " Search isn’t an isolated experience. The act of looking for information is now fused with validation, which means the socialization of search will unite discovery with context and relationships. It all begins with where we purposely search for relevant content and also where we respond to interesting information that crosses our path…" Then read Optimize Your Brand for Sharing and Social Search in 11 Steps, By Brian Solis, Search Engine Watch, April 2, 2010. "Yesterday, we focused on how to make your brand findable and shareable in social media. A white paper by Gigya validates the shift to, and resulting importance of, social search and its dependence on crowd participation. Online businesses must optimize in order to earn referral traffic from social networks. .."

The 8-Step SEO Strategy, Step 1: Define Your Target Audience and Their Needs, Posted by laura, SEOmoz Blog, on April 6th, 2010. "… The first step in most marketing campaigns, Search Marketing included, is to start by defining your target audience.  Your target audience is a defined set of people who you are marketing your product to…"

Horizontal Attention Leans Left. Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox, April 6, 2010. Summary: Web users spend 69% of their time viewing the left half of the page and 30% viewing the right half. A conventional layout is thus more likely to make sites profitable…

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Accessibility toolkit version 3 now available

The Victorian Government’s Accessiiblity Toolkit (version 3 – Sept 2009) has now been published on the eGovernment Resource Centre.

The Victorian Government’s Accessibility Standard requires that: All websites must be Level AA compliant (W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, Version 1.0 – WCAG 1.0). However, where audience needs are specific, websites should become Level AAA as appropriate.

This toolkit shows departments and agencies how to conform to this policy and the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, Version 1.0. The toolkit is designed for Victorian Government business managers and web site owners to enable them to effectively present the business case for accessibility and manage the processes involved.

An HTML version of the toolkit is currently being developed.

At over 270 pages the toolkit provides very detailed guidance on how to make government websites accessible to all visitors.

How to write Easy English – Workshops from Scope Victoria

Workshops being held May – June 2009

This full day workshop is presented by the Accessible Information Unit, Communication Resource Centre, Scope.

Find out how you could increase the number of people who can access your services and organisation. The presenter will take you through the steps to develop accessible written information. You will start working on a document from your own workplace.

The workshop is suitable for people who write information for their workplace. This includes resources, documents, plans, posters, brochures, fliers and for the web.

Where and when:

Monday 4th May 2009 at Scope, Glenroy

Thursday 25th June 2009 at Holmesglen TAFE, Chadstone

Cost:

$242 (Including GST)

Includes Lunch, coffee/tea and handouts.

For more information:

Phone: 03 9843 2000

Email: crc@scopevic.org.au

Scope has also published: Easy English – Writing Style Guide.

New Accessibility Updates

Back from holidays now and starting to get into work again – very hard. Much rather be horse riding, bike riding and swimming!

I noticed that WebAIM have published some interesting accessibility updates on their site in the last few weeks.

WCAG 2.0 Checklist – easy-to-use, understandable checklist for evaluating or implementing WCAG 2.0.

Color Contrast Checker – lets you select or enter a foreground and background color in RGB hexadecimal format and then select the lighten and darken options to change the colours slightly or change the luminosity.

Screen Reader Survey Results – They received more than 1100 responses with useful information about screen reader user demographics and preferences including that only 36% never or seldom use text-only versions of web pages and 71.5% of screen reader users reported that Flash is very or somewhat difficult.

This is a must read for any web publisher trying to make their site accessible to all.

New updated quick reference guides for Accessibility

WebAIM has updated and released their quick reference guides for testing web content and web accessibility principles. Following these guides will help make your websites more accessible and also help search engines index your content.

The Testing Web Content for Accessibility Quick Reference Guide covers:

1. Human Checks:

  • Use a checklist;
  • Disable styles and linearize tables;
  • Check alternative text;
  • Verify color and contrast;
  • Test content scaling;
  • Check keyboard accessibility;
  • Evaluate form accessibility and usability;
  • Test with a screen reader;
  • Valid HTML and CSS.

2. Testing with WAVE:

  • About WAVE;
  • Using WAVE;
  • WAVE Icons;
  • Report Views.

The Web Accessibility Principles Quick Reference Guide covers:

  • Principles of Accessibility;
  • Provide appropriate alternative text;
  • Content is well structured and clearly written;
  • Help users navigate to relevant content;
  • Provide headers for data tables;
  • Do not rely on color alone to convey meaning;
  • Ensure users can complete and submit all forms;
  • Ensure links make sense out of context;
  • Caption and/or provide transcripts for media;
  • Ensure accessibility of non-HTML content;
  • Miscellaneous.

WebAIM also provide a Screen Reader Simulation which shows you what it is like to use a screen reader and their Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool (WAVE). WAVE also comes with the free WAVE Toolbar for the Firefox Browser.

Accessibility – Australian Government is naming and shaming Government websites publishing PDFs

During September, the Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Graeme Innes, published a media release asking all government departments and agencies in Australia to start complying with the Federal Disability Discrimination Act in relation to publishing information on their websites.

Basically he is tired of government publishing key documents in pdf format only and not in alternative accessible formats.

"Commissioner Innes noted that, generally speaking, accessible versions of documents are eventually supplied when people ask for them, but this often takes weeks. "That’s not good enough – people with disability have an equal right to participate in public debates about important issues, but they need to be able to get access to information when it’s published, not after the debate has moved on for everyone else."

When documents are only put on the Internet in PDF format, it usually results in inadequate or zero access for people with disability. "You can use HTML, Microsoft Word, or RTF formats", said the Commissioner. "It’s particularly depressing to see documents created in word-processor formats, which provide very good access, being converted into PDF, which doesn’t, then only being posted in PDF."

Australian Governments have policies that commit their departments and agencies to complying with requirements for publishing information so that it is accessible, including the requirements of the federal Disability Discrimination Act.

I’m not telling government publishers that they can’t use PDF, but I am telling them that they must provide the same content in other accessible formats alongside the PDFs on their websites," said Commissioner Innes. "I’m also telling them that, if this doesn’t begin to improve, we will start to name and shame.""

Since then the Commissioner has made good on his threat and has created a Name and Shame section on the Australian Human Rights website. The Name and Shame list is located at: Web Watch: Accessibility of government websites.

State and local governments within Australia should take heed. It wont be long before they are named along with their federal counterparts.

Fortunately, the Victorian Government has published the Accessibility Toolkit providing a section on PDFs and accessibility which you may find helpful.

So if you fall into the category of only providing information in pdf format – be warned – your website might be famous for all the wrong reasons unless you act now and provide accessible alternatives for the information you provide in PDFs.

How to make Powerpoint Presentations Accessible on the Web

I was asked whether powerpoint presentations would be accessible on the web. From what I have researched the short answer is no! So I have put together some resources below to assist you in making powerpoint accessible on the web.

Web accessibility for all has produced some useful tutorials on how to make powerpoint presentations accessible on the web.

Adobe has created some useful tips in their Building an Accessible Microsoft PowerPoint Presentation article – including:

  • Add text equivalents to all images
  • Limit use of animations and transitions
  • If animations are used, ensure that they remain accessible
  • Use the Notes panel to include text transcripts of audio tracks

Web Accessibility in Mind (WebAIM) have also some useful guidelines in their article Powerpoint Accessibility. This boils down to provide an HTML equivalent!

The The National Center on Disability and Access to Education has produced: NCDAE Tips and Tools: Microsoft PowerPoint to kick of the discussion of accessibility and Microsoft PowerPoint.

Please comment and add other resources which will be helpful to make Powerpoint presentations accessible on the web.