A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.


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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.



Minimizing Bias in Computer Systems

Computer punch card tallying systems pose serious problems for fair elections. In particular, under-educated groups are more likely not to understand how the computerized system works. In this workshop we were concerned with understanding bias in computer systems and developing methods to help minimize bias through the design process.

Friedman, Batya, Eric Brok, Susan King Roth and John Thomas. SIGCHI Bulletin (1996). Articles>Human Computer Interaction>Accessibility


Mit Blindenschrift und Computer ins Internet

Auf seiner Homepage beschreibt Matthias Hänel, wie Blinde das Internet benutzen und welche technischen Mittel dafür existieren.

Haenel, Matthias. Matthias-Haenel.de. (German) Design>Web Design>Accessibility


A More Accessible Map

Is there a way to display text-based data on a map, keeping it accessible, useful and visually attractive? Yes: using an accessible CSS-based map in which the underlying map data is separated from the visual layout.

Duffey, Seth. List Apart, A (2006). Design>Web Design>Accessibility>CSS


More than Mere Transcription: Closed Captioning as an Artful Practice

It’s tempting to think of closed captioning as a rote, strictly objective task. Captioners copy down what people are saying, a task so easy, even a computer can do it. However, I’ve come to discover that captioning—the process of making multimedia content accessible to deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers—can be highly complex and deeply interpretative.

Zdenek, Sean. User Experience Magazine (2014). Articles>Multimedia>Accessibility


More Than Screen Deep: Toward Every-Citizen Interfaces to the Nation's Information Infrastructure

The spread of information systems and, in particular, information infrastructure throughout the economy and social fabric raises questions about the technology's ease of use by different people, from those with limited technical know-how to those with various disabilities to the so-called power users who push for higher performance on many dimensions.

National Academies Press (1997). Books>Web Design>Accessibility>Government


Motor Disabilities

Not everyone with a motor disability can take advantage of voice recognition software, but there are many other technologies that can help such people. We'll talk about these technologies, as well as some of the types of motor disabilities.

WebAIM (2001). Design>Accessibility


Moving Towards Accessible Development

Below is a bit of an accessibility round up of a few useful tools, articles, sites, and informative podcasts about the topic that may help inform/convince you about the importance of accessibility.

Walter, Aarron. AarronWalter.com (2006). Articles>Web Design>Accessibility


Multiple Form Labels and Screen Readers

Just about every website needs some forms. Sometimes there are many of them, sometimes just a single contact form. Regardless of their number, they need to be usable and accessible, which can sometimes be a little more work than it would be if theory and practice aligned a little better.

Johansson, Roger. 456 Berea Street (2008). Articles>Web Design>Accessibility>Forms


My Brain Works...My Legs Don't! Let's Take the "Dis" out of Disabilities   (PDF)

STC’s Special Needs Committee has begun its work of information collection for and dissemination to technical communicators with disabilities. This paper by the Committee chair is a “call to arms,” sets out what has been learned so far, and solicits your participation in the ongoing effort.

Skinner, Judith N. STC Proceedings (2000). Presentations>Accessibility


National Policies for Government Web Writers

Every country has its own requirements for public sector web sites. Legislation and policies vary greatly, and express an attitude. I base my Quality Web Content workshops for government web content writers on the policy of the country concerned. Some countries consider that an accessible site requires accessible writing. Others don't.

McAlpine, Rachel. Quality Web Content (2004). Articles>Web Design>Accessibility>Writing


New Accessibility Features in Internet Explorer 8

Hi, my name is JP Gonzalez-Castellan and I’m the Accessibility Program Manager for IE8. The IE team has been working towards making IE8 the most accessible browser possible, and we wanted to detail some of the work we’ve done toward this end. In this post I will provide you with some background on Accessibility, I’ll cover new UI features (Caret Browsing, Find on Page, Adaptive Zoom, High DPI, etc) and also platform features (support for ARIA, support for IAccessibleEx, and support for additional WinEvents) that improve the Accessibility of the browser.

Gonzalez-Castellan, J.P. Microsoft (2008). Articles>Web Design>Accessibility>Web Browsers


New Accessibility Guidelines A "Welcomed Update"

The World Wide Web Consortium recently approved new accessibility guidelines. Passed in December 2008, the new "Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0" is now the official recommendation for web accessibility for the disabled. This new WCAG 2.0 document, a welcomed update, replaces the WCAG 1.0 W3C recommendation of 1999. This article is part one in a series discussing the impact of WCAG 2.0 on your website.

Dolson, Joseph C. Practical eCommerce (2009). Articles>Web Design>Accessibility>Standards


New Accessibility Guidelines Part II: Operability

The concept behind website operability is simple: Can everybody use the tools and mechanisms required to operate your website? Operability may seem easy, but it can be very challenging. Every control, every link, and every button on your site is a potential point of failure for operability. Without appropriate consideration for the disabled, you run the risk that disabled users will be unable to access your site.

Dolson, Joseph C. Practical eCommerce (2009). Articles>Web Design>Accessibility>Usability


New Accessibility Guidelines Part III: Understandability

The understandability of text is crucial to web accessibility. At broad levels, this means specifying text languages, explaining the meanings of jargon or idioms, and expanding abbreviations to clarify text. It's not just text that can present a barrier to accessibility, however. A lack of organizational predictability or proper error management can greatly decrease the accessibility of any website.

Dolson, Joseph C. Practical eCommerce (2009). Articles>Web Design>Accessibility>Writing


New Accessibility Guidelines Part IV: Robustness

The fourth principle of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines requires new web documents to be “robust.” Robustness, future-proofing, user-agent independence, accessibility-supported: All are terms that suggest the same basic idea that your documents should follow standard, supported models for web document types. In many ways, this is the simplest and most testable requirement of the WCAG, but the details can be quite complicated.

Dolson, Joseph C. Practical eCommerce (2009). Articles>Web Design>Accessibility>Standards


New Accessible Web Design Program at Northeastern University

Web accessibility is a hot topic, and now there is a brand new place to gain the knowledge and credentials you need to succeed in this increasingly important field. Northeastern University, in Boston, Massachusetts-- already well known for its technical writing program-- is now offering a graduate certificate program in Interactive Design. This new program, one of the first in its kind, focuses specifically on topics surrounding web accessibility and design for interactive media of all kinds.

Gardner, P.J. and Lori Gillen. Usability Interface (2003). Academic>Accessibility>Education


New Heuristics for Understanding Older Adults as Web Users   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

This article reports on a study performed for AARP on the needs of older Web users. It defines a model of older users that includes four dimensions (age, ability, aptitude, and attitude). It defines 20 heuristics, as well as personas and tasks for reviewing Web sites, and a methodology for doing persona-based, task-based heuristic review that would allow us to evaluate many sites in a relatively short time in a highly realistic way. Finally, it reports the results of an analysis of 50 Web sites for general audiences that include older adults, using that methodology.

Chisnell, Dana E., Janice C. 'Ginny' Redish and Amy Lee. Technical Communication Online (2006). Articles>Web Design>Accessibility>Elderly


New Plasma Screens Fail London's Commuters

Although the new screens at Waterloo station use the latest screen technology and look very impressive, they have not been designed with the hassled and hurried commuter in mind.

Usability by Design (2005). Articles>User Interface>Accessibility>Usability


New Standards in Usability

2008 saw the release of several international usability standards, many within the influential ISO 9241 series. Two of these standards focus on accessibility and another provides guidelines for usable web sites. This article explains why usability standards are important and summarises the 13 new parts of ISO 9241.

Travis, David. UserFocus (2009). Articles>Usability>Accessibility>Standards


Normative ed Iniziative

La norma di riferimento è la legge 1 marzo 2006, n. 67 pubblicata nella Gazzetta Ufficiale n. 54 del 6 marzo 2006. Tale norma è di iniziativa governativa (Ministro senza portafoglio per le Pari opportunità Stefania Prestigiacomo, Ministro del lavoro e politiche sociali Roberto Maroni di concerto con il Ministro della giustizia Roberto Castelli) e risale al 2 luglio 2003 - vale a dire sette giorni prima dell'emanazione del dlgs 216/2003.

Scano, Roberto. Webaccessibile.org (2005). (Italian) Articles>Accessibility>Legal>Standards


Norme e Proposte Normative

Le linee guida del W3C in materia di accessibilità dei siti web hanno avuto un forte impatto soprattutto nei paesi anglosassoni dove, per primi, i governi hanno recepito tali linee guida rendendole di fatto obbligatorie per la realizzazione dei siti internet delle amministrazioni pubbliche. In Europa esistono delle comunicazioni della Commissione Europea che sono state recepite dai vari paesi. In quest'area del nostro sito andremo ad esporre i documenti normativi delle varie nazionalità approfondendo l'analisi della normativa europea e italiana.

Bertini, Patrizia. IWA-HWG (2003). (Italian) Articles>Accessibility>Legal>Italy


Now You See Me

Showing and hiding content using JavaScript-based page manipulations for tabbed interfaces, collapsible elements, and accordion widgets is a common development pattern. Learn how your choice of hiding mechanism can influence content accessibility in assistive technologies like screen readers in an excerpt from Adaptive Web Design.

Gustafson, Aaron. List Apart, A (2011). Articles>Web Design>Accessibility>Interaction Design



NonVisual Desktop Access (NVDA) is a free and open source screen reader for the Microsoft Windows operating system. Providing feedback via synthetic speech and Braille, it enables blind or vision impaired people to access computers running Windows for no more cost than a sighted person. Major features include support for over 20 languages and the ability to run entirely from a USB drive with no installation.

NVDA. Resources>Software>Accessibility>Microsoft Windows


Older Users Online: WAI Guidelines Address Older Users Web Experience

In the next few decades we will see unparalleled growth in the number of people becoming elderly. As we age, we experience increasing impairments that affect how we interact with computers and websites. A Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) project seeks to understand the user experiences of older people with age-related impairments, and how they overlap with the user experiences of people with disabilities. The Web Accessibility Initiative: Ageing Education and Harmonisation (WAI-AGE) Project aims to promote education and harmonization on the accessibility needs of older users and guidelines for developing websites for older users. It includes an extensive literature review to learn user requirements, and educational resources for web user experience professionals, designers, developers, and project managers, as well as for older users. WAI-AGE has identified that the existing WAI accessibility guidelines address the majority of requirements of older people for Web use. It also identified that many older people are not using adaptive strategies to help accommodate their impairments, and that web designers and researchers are not considering the WAI guidelines when making recommendations about website design for older people. WAI will be producing new and updated educational materials to address these gaps. The WAI-AGE project materials are intended to help web developers and researchers better understand how existing WAI accessibility guidelines/standards address the needs of older users, and how they can build on the existing guidelines further as the needs of older users are better understood. Additionally, the project is intended to help researchers target areas that still need investigation with respect to Web use by older people. This article explains age-related impairments that impact Web use, requirements for web design that enhance the ability of older people to use the Web, how existing accessibility guidelines for people with disabilities cover the needs of older users, and future work in this area.

Arch, Andrew, Shadi Abou-Zahra and Shawn Lawton Henry. User Experience Magazine (2009). Articles>Web Design>Accessibility>Elderly


Older, Wiser, and Wired   (PDF)

A February 2003 Harris Poll indicates that nearly half of those over age fifty in the United States—approximately 36 million adults—are online. While international statistics vary; the implication is clear: Designing usable Web sites that serve the needs and preferences of older adults will be a requirement, not a nicety, for the future.

Mazur, Beth and Amy Lee. Intercom (2003). Design>Web Design>Accessibility>Elderly



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