expert review

Winter Olympics Web Site Not Accessible

On February 12, Jebswebs and I twittered that the Vancouver Winter Olympics web site is not accessible. Jebswebs reported 58 errors on the home page alone using the WAVE tool. (View the re-tweet from Jennison.) I listed examples such as several navigation issues and Flash and JavaScript issues.

Ten days later, Joe Clark published an excellent article Vancouver Olympics Web sites are inaccessible to disabled people. He first points out that John Furlong (CEO of VANOC) broke a promise to make the web site accessible. (Even after a a blind man in Australia won a human-rights case against the Sydney Olympic organizing committee and IBM for an inaccessible web site.) Joe provides a report on the inaccessible content and also publishes responses from the VANOC and his replies.

home page of Vancouver Winter Olympics web site

It doesn’t take an expert to find areas where the Winter Olympics site needs improvement. Even for alternative text, one of the most basic and important guidelines for web accessibility, the site is lacking. This includes inadequate alternative text for Flash content and the fact that many images do not have alternate text.

In addition, the following points are for navigation only!

  • Dropdown menus require JavaScript.
  • Redundant title attributes
  • No skip-to links
  • No focus state on links (only mouse-over)
  • No ARIA
  • No menu heading

My suggestion for those who need more accessibility? Try Yahoo’s Vancouver Winter Olympics coverage.

This post is sponsored by: Dedicated Web Server
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Colorblind, Law, and Lightboxes

Color Sensitive

I usually shy away from, but I recently came across a piece worth mentioning. In the article Are Your Web Pages Color Sensitive? from the HTML/Web Design section, Jennifer Kyrnin provides some good information and techniques for web development with color blindness in mind. Here are some good tips from Jennifer:

  • Don’t use only color to indicate something specific on your page.
  • Desaturate your images to see if they still have impact.
  • Avoid placing red and green together.
  • If you can, find a color blind friend or relative to look at your site.

Did you know that color blindness is an issue with 8 to 12% of males of European origin?

Law Needed

In his blog Yes, we need accessibility laws, Eric Eggert gives an argument for why we need better laws for web accessibility. He states that a good accessibility law should do:

  • Create awareness.
  • Do not create a climate of fear.
  • Create mediations.
  • Reference international standard.
  • Be inclusive.


In the article Lightboxes and keyboard accessibility from 456 Berea Street, Roger Johansson describes how a lightbox should function with a keyboard. He states:

  • Let me use the left and right arrow keys to step through images in a slideshow.
  • When I press Esc, close the lightbox.
  • Do one of the following:
    • Either add focusable elements (links or buttons) for close/next/previous, put keyboard focus on the first focusable object in the lightbox, make sure I can’t tab to something behind the lightbox, and make it visually obvious which object has keyboard focus.
    • or close the lightbox when I press Tab.
  • When the lightbox closes, return keyboard focus to where it was when I opened it.

In addition, Roger cites the following two articles:

adobe expert interview podcast webaim

Podcast #75: Jeremy Keith Interview, Google Wave

Ross interviews web guru Jeremy Keith; Dennis and Ross discuss news, articles, and Google Wave.

Download Web Axe Episode 75 (Jeremy Keith Interview, Google Wave)


News and Links

Accessibility Review of Google Wave

Google Wave Preview Accessibility Review by Jared Smith. Jared tactfully explains how web accessibility of Google Wave fails miserably. For example:

  • Alternative text is not provided for any images.
  • Background images are used to convey content.
  • Roles, states, and other accessibility properties are not defined.
  • There is no document or heading structure or semantics.
  • Form elements do not have labels or titles.
  • Keyboard focus indication is hidden, making keyboard navigation nearly impossible.
  • Keyboard focus is often trapped.
  • The application becomes unusable and unreadable when text size is increased only slightly.

Jeremy Keith Interview

Co-host Ross Johnson speaks with Jeremy Keith,, a web standards guru, author, and speaker. Here are some great Jeremy Keith links:

Related Links


The podcast was originally cut off by a couple minutes at the end. It is now fixed. Full running time is about 1 hour and 12 minutes.

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Perceivable, Operable, Understandable, and Robust

Joe Dolson recently completed an excellent four part series published on the Practical eCommerce web site. Another great read from Joe,highly recommended. The articles cover the following four fundamental principles of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG 2):

  1. Is it perceivable?
  2. Is it operable?
  3. Is it understandable?
  4. Is it robust?

Here are the articles:

Joe was a guest back in 2007 in Podcast: #41: The Definition of Web Accessibility

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Assistive Technology, Captivate, and Accessify

Browse Assistive Technology – learn about all kinds of Assistive Technology for different types of disabilities.

Tips on Adobe Captivate Accessibility

What to do with Accessify? – Give Ian some ideas! (By the way, check out the Accessify post Interview with Accessible Twitter creator Dennis Lembree.)