I came across the article A quick Web Accessibility Checklist (published last July) and have some feedback. Some points were great, but others needed some work. I was going to leave a comment, but thought the points would be good to share in a blog post.
- “Skip-to” links help, but wouldn’t put first on the list. Proper tag markup and ARIA are also big navigation helpers.
- Font resize widgets are unnecessary as they add weight to a site, add clutter to the screen, and the behavior should be done by the browser.
- A site map is not needed if navigation is done well and is accessible; the tip is more of a usability issue in my opinion.
- Don’t know what “links have descriptive screen text” means. If it means tool-tips (title attribute), then I highly recommend not doing most of the time.
- Yes, keyboard accessible dropdown menus are good, but remember that the whole site must be keyboard accessible.
- People still use frames? iFrames also relevant to list here, and more up-to-date.
- A good basic point missing is color; ensure sufficient color contrast, no content conveyed with color alone; etc.
Update, Jan 11:
I submitted a blog comment that linked to this page, and it did not yet get accepted.
Shortened URL to this page: http://weba.im/commquick
Response to article by @vavroom Should Sighted Developers Use Screenreaders To Test Accessibility?
Good to test with screen reader, but best to have screenreader users themselves test a web site for accessibility.
Dennis and Ross speak to Dylan Barrell (VP, Product Development) and Brian Kerr (Software Developer) of Deque Systems/Deque Labs. The main topic is the newly developed Worldspace FireEyes plugin for the Firefox browser which is being released in Beta status. It is a web accessibility tool that works in conjunction with the widely used Firebug Firefox extension. You can follow Deque Labs on Twitter.
Download Web Axe Episode 82 (Deque Labs FireEyes)
[transcript of podcast 82]
NOTE: As of June 28, the Worldspace FireEyes add-on has not yet been released. It’s planned for end of June.
UPDATE: On July 1, the Worldspace FireEyes beta is released! Read the FireEyes announcement.
Chatter & News
The W3C article Involving Users in Web Projects for Better, Easier Accessibility gives excellent guidelines for developing accessibility in a web project. The article states:
Involving people with disabilities from the beginning of a project helps you better understand accessibility issues and implement more effective accessibility solutions.
In my experience, this couldn’t be more true. Nothing is much worse than having to retro-fit an existing web site or web application for web accessibility, or having to explain what assistive technology is to the author of the specifications document. You must plan from the start, and implement at the end (an old Hijax saying). When the different teams on a project understand accessibility, including the developers, it certainly makes the project run much more smoothly and efficiently.
The article discusses the following items in detail:
- How Involving Users Early Helps
- How to Involve Users throughout Your Project
- Getting a Range of Users
- Working with Users
- Combine User Involvement with Standards
These techniques can be applied to more than web sites; also assistive technologies, media players, authoring tools, policies, and technical specifications.
For more, here’s the W3C blog discussing this article: Discover new ways of thinking about accessibility.