What Is Internet Accessibility? – A Listing Aside

Just a few weeks in the past A Listing Aside revealed my article about internet accessibility and the UK authorized necessities surrounding it. The article provoked a heated dialogue and what appeared like a variety of confusion surrounding internet accessibility, which is what led me to put in writing this follow-up article.

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What follows can be acquainted to many ALA readers however new to some. As with all overviews, it’s considerably oversimplified and doesn’t cowl exceptions and edge circumstances. The editors and I hope that it’s going to present a helpful touchstone for these readers who’ve been standing on the shores of accessible internet design, fearing sharks the place there are solely light waves.

This text is not going to let you know methods to make an accessible web site. That’s already been carried out by Mark Pilgrim in his glorious Dive into Accessibility and by Joe Clark in his extensively researched and superbly written Constructing Accessible Web sites.

Though they are often imprecise and complicated in locations, after studying Pilgrim and Clark you may also wish to take a look at the W3C accessibility checkpoints. I’m not going to evangelise at you about the advantages of accessibility — I’ve already carried out that elsewhere. As an alternative, this text will let you know who it’s essential contemplate when making your web site and what their distinctive necessities are. So, let’s get began …

Blind customers#section4

Internet customers who haven’t any sight in any respect might make the most of a display screen reader, which reads the content material of the net web page, or somewhat the HTML, again to them. This software program, which sits between the consumer and the browser, sifts by way of the HTML markup and the expertise deciphers what must be learn aloud and what ought to be ignored.

Home windows customers, attempt it your self with the IBM Homepage Reader, which you’ll obtain for a free 30-day trial. (You’ll want a current model of Microsoft Home windows and a reasonably succesful PC with Pentium processor or equal.) When you’ve downloaded it, go to your web site, flip your monitor off, and attempt to navigate.

Open supply display screen readers for Linux embody Emacspeak and IBM ViaVoice.

The following main revision to Mac OS X will embody built-in spoken interface expertise. Mac OS X customers who full a quick questionnaire might be able to obtain and use a preview model.

Partial/poor sight#section5

To take full benefit of the Web, customers with partial or poor sight want to have the ability to enlarge the textual content on internet pages.

As this journal’s readers know, Opera, IE5 Macintosh Version, Mozilla/Netscape/Firefox, Konqueror, Safari, and all different trendy browsers however one present textual content resizing widgets that work it doesn’t matter what methodology a designer has been used to specify sort dimension.

However for IE/Home windows customers to have the ability to resize textual content, you will need to specify the font dimension when it comes to %, em or a relative worth (small, medium, and so on.) as this journal does, or use a primary or superior model sheet switcher to offer this performance.

Customers with poor imaginative and prescient might also use a display screen magnifier. You’ll be able to obtain a display screen magnifier totally free and take a look at it for your self.

Shade blindness#section6

It’s estimated that one in 12 males and one in 200 girls have some type of shade blindness. You’ll be able to test how Web customers with totally different strains of shade blindness are viewing your web site with Vischeck.

Deaf customers#section7

Deaf customers are in a position to entry the Web in a lot the identical means as non-deaf individuals with one key exception — audio content material. If it’s a key operate of your web site for individuals to have the ability to hear a message, then remember to present written transcripts on the very least. (To do greater than the very least, see Chapter 13 of Joe Clark’s Constructing Accessible Web sites.)

Keyboard/voice solely customers#section8

A few of your web site customers don’t have entry to a mouse when looking the Web. Strive placing your self of their place by navigating your web site utilizing solely tab, shift-tab, and the return keys.

Different customers#section9

Different individuals who might entry your web site which have disadvantages embody:

  1. Epileptic customers who should at all times watch out to keep away from seeing flickering between 2 and 55 Hz
  2. Internet customers from exterior your business who might not perceive business jargon or acronyms
  3. Internet customers whose first language will not be English and who might not be capable to comprehend sophisticated language

To essentially put your self within the place of one in every of these internet customers check out the DRC’s inaccessible web site demonstration.

New (and outdated) expertise#section10

PDAs and cell units#section11

The variety of individuals accessing the Web from handheld units is growing at a large charge — virtually three million PDAs had been bought in 2002 in Western Europe and in 2008 alone there’ll be an estimated 58 million PDAs bought.

Handheld units usually have ropey assist for giant pictures, JavaScript, Flash and (too usually) even CSS. Their width could be as small as 120px with horizontal scrolling not an choice. Learn Webmonkey’s last-ever article which was about small display screen internet growth. You can even test your web site’s accessibility on a handheld machine totally free with the Wapalizer.


WebTV has a most width of 575px and horizontal scrolling isn’t potential. You’ll be able to obtain the free WebTV viewer and see how your web site seems to be on a TV display screen.


Roughly 6% of internet customers are browsing the net with no assist for JavaScript. This may very well be as a result of they’re utilizing a browser that doesn’t assist JavaScript (such because the text-only Lynx browser) or they’ve turned JavaScript off for safety or to keep away from popups.

Gradual connections#section14

Broadband isn’t practically as widespread as you’d count on. Within the UK, for instance, only one in six Web households had been hooked as much as broadband this time final yr. Customers on sluggish connections would possibly flip pictures off to allow a faster obtain time. Some browsers, such because the Lynx browser don’t show pictures in any respect. Be sure to put in these ALT attributes!

Any internet developer with primary HTML and CSS design data, and a little bit of time on their arms, can simply study and implement internet accessibility — it’s not mind science in spite of everything. Internet accessibility is all about following design requirements after which including in a number of easy accessibility options. It’s not nearly disabled customers having the ability to entry your web site — it’s about everybody having the ability to entry your web site.

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