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Accessibility is a general term used to describe the degree to which a product (e.g., device, service, environment) is accessible by as many people as possible, and the ventures to produce accessible products and services. Accessibility is often used to focus on people with disabilities and their right of access to entities, often through use of assistive technology.




My business and passion is accessibility and there is obviously a huge problem with these visual CAPTCHAs. If you used alt-text on this image, alt="e3TJ6Jdp", that would be fine and very welcome for blind visitors. It would also be welcome for any computer system seeking to sign up for lots of emails. Using alt-text on the image does not solve the problem! The visual image CAPTCHA is fundamentally inaccessible. For the example above, this means very simply that Yahoo excludes people who are blind (or vision impaired) from signing up for Yahoo email accounts.

Thatcher, Jim. JimThatcher.com (2009). Articles>Accessibility>Security>Web Design


Captioning for QuickTime

There are two methods for adding captions in QuickTime. There are advantages and disadvantages to each approach. The first allows you to maintain a single file, making the captioned video easier to distribute. The second approach allows you to easily deliver a captioned and non-captioned version of your movie, but requires an understanding of SMIL (it's not too hard).

WebAIM (2003). Design>Multimedia>Accessibility>Video


Captioning for RealPlayer

RealPlayer uses SMIL to combine media content with a RealText (.rt) file. The .rt file contains the captions themselves and information about how and when they should appear. The SMIL file is really just a pointer file. It contains information about where and how your captions and media content should display.

WebAIM (2003). Design>Multimedia>Accessibility>Video


Captioning for Windows Media

Windows Media Player adds captions using Microsoft's Synchronized Accessible Media Interchange (SAMI). SAMI, like SMIL, which is used by Quicktime and RealPlayer, is an XML-based text language. A SAMI file contains the captions and definitions for how and when the captions should display.

WebAIM (2003). Design>Multimedia>Accessibility>Video


Captioning Tools

Before looking at tools, please look at the DMCP Captioning Key to get familiar with captioning standards.

Creswell, Bill. WordPress (2009). Articles>Multimedia>Accessibility>Software


Captions and Audio Descriptions for PC Multimedia

This article discusses the various types of captions, when to use captions, as well as the various types of audio descriptions.

Microsoft (2002). Design>Multimedia>Accessibility>Audio


Captions for Video with Flash CS3

In the exercise that follows, and in the second part of this series, we are going to add captions, using both methods, to the same video. For those passionate about web standards, the first method involves the use of Timed Text captions. If you go this route, you need to follow the standard laid out by the W3C. There is a lot to it but, in a nutshell, it requires you to create a specific type of XML document using the required tags.

Green, Tom. Digital Web Magazine (2007). Articles>Web Design>Accessibility>Flash


Captions for Video with Flash CS3 (Part Two)

In this article, we’re going to look at a method of captioning a Flash video file: embedding the XML directly into the FLV file. In very simple terms, the XML document will contain the cue points for the captions. When one of those cue points is reached, the caption appears over the video.

Green, Tom. Digital Web Magazine (2007). Articles>Web Design>Accessibility>Flash


Captions: Understand DVD Shows

A few years ago, while watching a movie and trying to hear dialogue that was drowned out by background noise - and was spoken by a character who was nearly incomprehensible even in a quiet room - I found that most DVD movies had subtitles available in several languages. Lurking among the offerings of Spanish, French and sometimes others, I found English.

Brown, Lonnie. Ledger, The (2010). Articles>Multimedia>Accessibility>DVD


Captivate Accessibility Hints

Adobe’s Captivate application allows one to create Flash based interactive demos and presentations. PowerPoint materials can also be converted in Flash using Captivate. Captivate has a number of accessibility features in version 3 and 4.

SSB BART Group (2009). Articles>Presentations>Accessibility>Adobe Captivate



CAST is a not-for-profit education research and development organization that uses technology to make education more flexible and accessible for all students, especially those with disabilities.

CAST. Organizations>Accessibility>Education


The Challenges of Internet Users with Low or Limited Vision

Once or twice while surfing the Net, you may have felt your eyesight become blurred or find it hard to focus on the screen. This is normally not a problem as you can always rest for a while to regain your perfect vision. But try to imagine yourself having limited vision all the time. What do you think are the challenges you may face as you browse web pages? How can they be solved?

Babinszki, Tom. Even Grounds (2010). Articles>Web Design>Accessibility>Visual


Charities: a Business Case for Web Accessibility

The most obvious benefit of web accessibility is the freedom and equality it gives to disabled users online. In the UK 8.5 million consumers have some kind of mental or physical disability. Any charity wanting to maximise their income is missing a huge gap in the market if they are excluding these users from their fundraising efforts. However, creating an accessible website could reap many other benefits for your organisation which you may have not be aware of.

Raspberry Frog (2008). Articles>Web Design>Accessibility


Checkpoints for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0

This document is an appendix to the W3C "Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0". It provides a list of all checkpoints from the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0, organized by concept, as a checklist for Web content developers.

W3C (2005). Articles>Web Design>Accessibility>Standards


Children on the Internet

The Internet today is a part of kids' natural environment. Most children have access to the Internet at school and/or at home. In 2000 there were 55,475,000 U.S. households with personal computers. 99 percent of public schools have access to the Internet. The number of Internet users worldwide is expected to grow to 300 million by 2005, from roughly 150 million currently, according to an estimate by IDC. The greatest growth will be in Asia and South America. The number of online users will rise 61 percent to 95 million in the US, more than double to 88 million in Europe and quadruple to 118 million in the rest of the world. NUA Internet Survey, on the other hand, estimated total number of people online to be 407.1 million in November 2000. In November 2000 almost 20 percent of all digital media users were children. A recent National School Boards Foundation telephone survey of 1,735 randomly-chosen households showed that children predominantly use Internet at home and in school. In a survey of 10,000 students aged 12 to 24, from 16 countries, Ipsos-Reid Group found Internet to be widely available to Swedish and Canadian students. 78 percent of students in Sweden and 74 percent in Canada are able to go online at school. 80 percent of Swedish children and 71 percent of Canadian students have web access at home. Taiwan ranked third, with 63 percent accessibility at school, followed by the UK, US, Netherlands, Australia, South Korea, Mexico, Japan, Italy, Spain, Germany, France, Brazil, and Urban China.

Demner, Dina. Universal Usability (2001). Articles>Usability>Accessibility>Children


Children's Websites: Usability Issues in Designing for Kids

New research with users aged 3–12 shows that older kids have gained substantial Web proficiency since our last studies, while younger kids still face many problems. Designing for children requires distinct usability approaches, including targeting content narrowly for different ages of kids.

Nielsen, Jakob. Alertbox (2010). Articles>Web Design>Accessibility>Children


Choose an Accessible Image Replacement Method

The technique of using CSS to replace normal HTML text, mostly for headings, with a background image in order to achieve a particular look has been talked about many, many times since early 2003.Several different image replacement methods have been proposed, each with their pros and cons. Some methods create accessibility problems, while others place restrictions on the type of image you can use or force you to use extraneous markup. No method that I am aware of is perfect.

Johansson, Roger. 456 Berea Street (2007). Articles>Web Design>Accessibility>CSS


Cloud Computing — Access Opportunity And Challenge

Web applications force separation of user-interface from core application. Makes development of multiple user interfaces affordable. Opens up new opportunities for meeting user needs.

Raman, T.V. SourceForge (2009). Presentations>Accessibility>Web Design>Cloud Computing


Cognitive Behavior Learning Disabilities: Being Different Shouldn't Mean Being Discriminated Against

I view my son's early school years in the 90s as a nightmare. I asked if my son could submit homework done on the computer due to his awful handwriting - weren't his ideas the key issue? - and 'NO!' was the reply.

Mardahl, Karen. Usability Interface (2003). Design>Usability>Accessibility


Color Universal Design (CUD): How to Make Figures and Presentations That are Friendly to Colorblind People

There are always colorblind people among the audience and readers. There should be more than ten colorblinds in a room with 250 people (50% male and 50% female). There is a good chance that the paper you submit may go to colorblind reviewers. Supposing that your paper will be reviewed by three white males (which is not unlikely considering the current population in science), the probability that at least one of them is colorblind is whopping 22%!

Okabe, Masataka and Kei Ito. University of Tokyo (2002). Articles>Accessibility>Graphic Design>Color


Color Vision Confusion

Color blindness is mostly neglected, even most of the people do not consider this as a serious problem. However, color blindness can be a problem that disrupts many tasks.

Karagol-Ayan, Burcu. Universal Usability. Design>Usability>Accessibility>Color


Colorblindness and Usability

You might do a lot of usability testing on your web site but you still might lose up to 10% of your audience because of some simple mistakes with colors. Specifically, your web site may be designed in a way that doesn't work well for people with colorblindness. Generally the fix is quite simple: be sure to provide excellent contrast between your various web page elements.

Follansbee, Todd. WebWord (2001). Design>Web Design>Accessibility>Color


Colour Me Usable!

Colour is used in interface design for a variety of purposes. Not only can colour convey meaning or highlight content, it is also an important part of corporate identity and branding. Where would the Coca Cola brand be without its distinctive red and white livery? All well and good, but the reality is that the use of colour can cause more problems than it solves. Interface designers must treat colour with caution for a variety of reasons - most importantly the huge variety of ways in which any given colour can be perceived. It is well known that older users and those with colour-deficit vision may have difficulty in perceiving certain colours. Different monitors may be poor at maintaining colours the same across displays, and of course many users are still working on black and white displays. In this environment, poor use of colour may mean that text is hard to read, eyestrain occurs, and users become frustrated. With this in mind, designers should consider the following guidelines relating to the use of colour in interface design.

Gaine, Frank. Frontend Infocentre (2000). Design>Web Design>Accessibility>Color


Communication Challenges in the WC3's Web Content Accessibility Guidelines   (members only)

In the first part of this article, we analyze a number of communication challenges and relate them to problems in conveying the November draft of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0. Based on our analysis, the second part of our article offers a number of recommendations for improving the comprehensibility of the WCAG 2.0 for its various intended audiences. Although our discussion has the November draft as its focal point, the recommendations are more widely applicable to other complex documents with diverse audiences. In the final part, we propose a new vision for the WCAG.

Brys, Catherine M. and Wim Vanderbauwhede. Technical Communication Online (2006). Articles>Web Design>Accessibility>Standards



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