A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.

Clark, Joe

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Accessibility on the Mac

It pains me to say that pretty much any computer user with a relevant disability ought to be using Windows, not a Mac.

Clark, Joe. Tidbits (2002). Design>Web Design>Accessibility>Macintosh



AccessiBlog was a weblog of articles and sites dealing with the topic of Web accessibility (though it is no longer updated).

Clark, Joe. AccessiBlog (2003). Resources>Web Design>Accessibility>Blogs


ATAG (Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines) Assessment of WordPress

This document assesses WordPress 2.01 against the Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines 1.0.

Clark, Joe. JoeClark.org (2006). Articles>Web Design>Accessibility>Content Management


Best Practices in Online Captioning

Use of online video has grown faster than the use of accessibility in online video. Though bandwidth costs for video files can still be high compared to ordinary text-and-graphics Web pages, it is nonetheless easy to digitize video and post it online. It's easier to broadcast your video to the world via the Internet than it is to get the same video on television. Online multimedia are a useful and valid new medium of communication - for most people.

Clark, Joe. JoeClark.org (2004). Design>Accessibility>Multimedia>Video


Big, Stark and Chunky

Research shows that low-vision people need dramatically different web design. CSS lets you give them what they need.

Clark, Joe. List Apart, A (2005). Design>Web Design>Accessibility


Building Accessible Websites: Serialization

Designers assume accessibility means a boring site, a myth borne out by oldschool accessibility advocates, whose hostility to visual appeal is barely suppressed. Neither camp has its head screwed on right. It's not either/or; it's both/and.

Clark, Joe. JoeClark.org (2002). Books>Web Design>Accessibility


DVDs with Audio Description

DVDs can carry up to eight audio tracks. It is theoretically possible to provide main audio and dubbing in three languages and audio description in all four languages. In practice, all anybody's asking for is an audio description track in the main language of the audio.

Clark, Joe. JoeClark.org (2001). Articles>Accessibility>Multimedia>DVD


Facts and Opinion About Fahrner Image Replacement

Fahrner Image Replacement and its analogues aim to combine the benefits of high design with the requirements of accessibility. But how well do these methods really work? Accessibility expert Joe Clark digs up much-needed empirical data on how FIR works (and doesn’t) in leading screen readers.

Clark, Joe. List Apart, A (2003). Design>Web Design>Accessibility>Usability


Facts and Opinions About PDF Accessibility

PDF accessibility is not as straightforward as HTML accessibility. But it can be done, if you put the same care into marking up your PDFs that you put into marking up websites. Joe Clark tells all.

Clark, Joe. List Apart, A (2005). Design>Document Design>Accessibility>Adobe Acrobat


Flash Access: Unclear on the Concept

In Christian theology, it doesn’t matter exactly when you accept Jesus Christ as your personal saviour. As long as you do it before you croak and ask forgiveness for your sins, you’re in like Flynn. This, apparently, is the Macromedia philosophy when it comes to accessibility. The company’s flagship product, Flash, is intrinsically inaccessible to anyone who cannot see properly and is very often inaccessible to a deaf or hard-of-hearing person. It’s also completely inaccessible on slow computers or any machine that lacks the Flash plug-in, rendering those viewers more functionally disabled than they actually are.

Clark, Joe. List Apart, A (2001). Design>Accessibility>Multimedia


Flash MX: Clarifying the Concept

The new Flash MX authoring environment and the equally new Flash Player 6 solve a few accessibility problems. Screen reader compatibility is the first Macromedia access milestone. Screen readers—which, by the way, are not called “voice browsers” or “text readers”—are software that reads web pages, and anything else on your computer, out loud. (I’d show you a picture, but apart from a few uninteresting configuration screens, these programs have no overt visible form.)

Clark, Joe. List Apart, A (2002). Design>Multimedia>Web Design>Flash


How to Save Web Accessibility from Itself

If you choose to make standards-compliant websites, inevitably you will have to follow the guidelines. It's foreseeable that you could be legally required to follow WCAG 2.0. You could opt into following the guidelines or they could be foisted upon you. You thus have an enlightened self-interest in ensuring the new guidelines actually make sense. Moreover, we simply need more contributors.

Clark, Joe. List Apart, A (2003). Design>Web Design>Accessibility


Joe Clark's Answers -- in Valid XHTML

An extremely interesting but rather long read -- answers each question thoroughly and, there is plenty of discourse following the piece itself.

Clark, Joe. Slashdot (2002). Articles>Web Design>Accessibility>XHTML


Screen-Reader Usability at a Standards-Compliant E-Commerce Site

An E-commerce site was redesigned with Web standards in mind. The revised site used semantic HTML markup that usually passes validation tests and also incorporated many common accessibility features. A study was carried out with screen-reader users to determine how well compliance with Web standards and accessibility guidelines translated into actual usability and accessibility.

Clark, Joe. JoeClark.org (2005). Articles>Web Design>Accessibility>E Commerce


This is How the Web Gets Regulated

As in finance, so on the web: self-regulation has failed. Nearly ten years after specifications first required it, video captioning can barely be said to exist on the web. The big players, while swollen with self-congratulation, are technically incompetent, and nobody else is even trying. So what will it take to support the human and legal rights of hearing impaired web users? It just might take the law, says Joe Clark.

Clark, Joe. List Apart, A (2008). Articles>Web Design>Accessibility>Government


To Hell with WCAG 2

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 were published in 1999 and quickly grew out of date. The proposed new WCAG 2.0 is the result of five long years’ work by a Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) committee that never quite got its act together. In an effort to be all things to all web content, the fundamentals of WCAG 2 are nearly impossible for a working standards-compliant developer to understand. WCAG 2 backtracks on basics of responsible web development that are well accepted by standardistas. WCAG 2 is not enough of an improvement and was not worth the wait.

Clark, Joe. List Apart, A (2006). Design>Web Design>Accessibility>Standards



It’s time we came to grips with the fact that not every “document” can be a “web page.” Some forms of writing just cannot be expressed in HTML—or they need to be bent and distorted to do so. But for once, XML might actually help.

Clark, Joe. List Apart, A (2009). Articles>Web Design>Document Design>XML


The Web Is Like Canada

Those who 'get' the web create it. Those who do not get the web are put in charge. Joe Clark presents a vision for defending our web against their worst ideas.

Clark, Joe. List Apart, A (2000). Articles>Web Design>Professionalism


Web Standards for E-Books

The internet did not replace television, which did not replace cinema, which did not replace books. E-books aren’t going to replace books either. E-books are books, merely with a different form. The electronic book is the latest example of how HTML continues to win out over competing, often nonstandardized, formats. E-books aren’t websites, but E-books are distributed electronically. Now the dominant E-book format is XHTML.

Clark, Joe. List Apart, A (2010). Articles>Information Design>XML>eBooks


Zoom Layouts

A zoom layout uses CSS (cascading stylesheets) to automatically reformat a page so it's easier for a low-vision user to read. Multiple columns become single columns, navigation gets simplified and put at the top, fonts become bigger, and (usually) colours are set to light on dark.

Clark, Joe. JoeClark.org (2005). Design>Web Design>Accessibility>Typography

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